Much has been written about a your identity being wrapped up in your iPhone, much like a car can be a reflection of someone’s personality. All of which got me thinking: What do my most used iPhone apps say about me?
Putting on my Dr. Phil toupee—kidding, Dr. Phil doesn’t wear a toupee—here’s my five most used apps and what I may or may not have learned about my techno persona. How does your top five app list compare?
No. 1: E-mail
At the top of the list is the native iPhone e-mail app, which alerts me to incoming e-mail from work and personal e-mail accounts. Even more interesting, the phone app didn’t make it on the list. Unless I’m conducting an interview with a source, I rarely communicate over the old dog and bone. Industry analysts and sources prefer to communicate via e-mail, too.
The best part about the iPhone e-mail app is that I can read most attachments. I can even file stories to my editor with Quickword, although I’ve only done this once. But it’s nice to know that I can get most of my work done on the iPhone thanks to the e-mail app.
Unless I have many conference calls scheduled, I don’t come anywhere near my minutes limit. Only a couple of years ago, I used to be on the phone throughout the day. Now it’s all text messages, which is my second most-used iPhone app.
No. 2: Messaging
I’m hardly alone here. I send text messages to communicate with sources and friends largely because no one answers the phone anymore. Apparently, people just don’t have time for a voice conversation. Or they’d rather have some control over a conversation, such as when they want to respond and what exactly they want to say.
Text messaging, of course, costs money – and I go over my allotted amount almost every month. At first, I tried to ease the quarter hits on my bill by picking up the unlimited Textfree app. It helps when you’re connected via Wi-Fi, but the bigger problem is that other people don’t want to play the Textfree game. They continue to send text messages to my iPhone line, which charges me.
I still prefer a good old-fashioned phone call with sources, but they don’t. People tend to respond to a text message rather than voicemail. On the upside, I get clear responses to questions without a lot of small talk and chatter that clutter my notebook. In these times of speed and efficiency, text messaging is a boon. What I lose, though, is the personal connection.
No. 3: Social Networking
My third most-used app is a toss-up between TweetDeck and Facebook. I was surprised to learn that AP Mobile or NY Times were not my go-to apps for information. That’s not to say I don’t tap these apps during the day, but rather, social networking is more dynamic and real-time.
With TweetDeck and Facebook, there’s always something new so I have to check those apps regularly or else risk missing something important. I often catch tips on TweetDeck, and then go to the news sites for the real story.
It’s still amazing to me how quickly I got hooked into social networking, because I tried my best to avoid it after witnessing the medium’s starts and stops like Friendster. The iPhone is the perfect device for social networking thanks to its friendly interface and simplicity. I’m now a twit.
No. 4: Calendar
Fourth most-used: Calendar. It’s good to know some things don’t change. I used to coordinate my days over the old Palm. The Palm taught me that if it gets into my calendar, it’s as good as done. I use the native iPhone calendar, which works well enough for me. Sure, it doesn’t have all the features such as the ability to schedule or accept a conference call invite via e-mail, but the alert system ensures I don’t miss an appointment (unless, of course, my iPhone’s battery is dead).
No. 5: Amazon Kindle
My fifth entertainment app has been a moving target. At first, music over the iPod app kept me sane during long commutes. Then it was a game addiction – Texas Hold ‘Em anyone? Today, it’s all about the Amazon Kindle app. If you’ve never read a novel on the iPhone, rest assured it’s an easy experience. (If you’re reading research material that needs to be marked up and bookmarked in areas, it’s not so easy an experience.)
My parents returned from a sight-seeing trip that included the Little Bighorn, and so I’m reading Larry McMurtry’s Crazy Horse: A Life on the iPhone. I used to read books on Stanza, but it stopped working for me after I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS.
I’ve always been a voracious reader, and so it’s nice to know that my iPhone can help me keep up.
What are your five most used iPhone apps? Send me an email at email@example.com. Or follow me on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.