iPhone: a great companion at home too

There is general agreement that 2009 was (finally!) the year of mobile.  And there are many predictions about how important location awareness is going to be in 2010.  Agree with all that and share in the excitement.

But the thing that surprises me about my iPhone is that it has become a great in-home companion for me.  It’s pretty much always by my side or in my pocket.  Here’s some of the things I do with it at home:

  1. It has replaced my watch, my alarm clock and my kitchen timer.  It’s easier to use for all these functions.  It automatically remembers to change time zones when I go from Edmonton to Vancouver.
  2. I use it as a remote to control my Macbook connected to our TV to watch programs I’ve downloaded from iTunes.
  3. I use i.TV to look at TV listings.  I look up the sad statistics on the Edmonton Oilers.  I still check to see when their next game is despite the apparent futility of it all.
  4. I check in on Twitter and Google Reader while having my morning coffee.
  5. I bought my wife a Kindle for Christmas.  This lead to me downloading the iPhone Kindle app.  Now I read books on it too – surprisingly good at this.
  6. I use Skype to make phone calls.  I can wander around the house and make a cup of coffee while on a call.  This is the way Skype was meant to be deployed  (And not to worry – I refrain from using the washroom.)
  7. I get directions to a place before I go out to it.
  8. I look stuff up.  Often.  Weather.  Stock prices.  What something is.  Where some place is.
  9. I listen to music on it (through one of those sound system docks) – most often with last.fm.
  10. I send and receive email; update or check my schedule; see what’s happening on Facebook.

Let me know in the comments what else you do with your smart phone at home?  I know my son plays games on his while at home.  I do that sometimes as well – but to be honest it’s not a primary use case for me.

I’m thinking there is a lot of ‘untapped’ potential in the smart phone as an ‘in-home companion’.

Welcome to 2010.

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9 Responses to “iPhone: a great companion at home too”


  1. 1 Kent January 4, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    In addition to the above, these are all things that I do at home on my iPhone:

    Grocery list – lots of apps for this, but I currently use Grocery IQ.

    NYTimes app – read with breakfast

    Wikipanion – find out what wikipedia says about a topic

    Flixster – look up movie reviews, showtimes, before going out to a movie

    PocketFlix – reorganize my Netflix queue

    Weather (lots of apps) – check local/ski reports

    Shazam – hear a song and find out who the band is

    Caltrain – check the train schedule

    OpenTable – book dinner reservations

    Yelp – look up places/services

    Using Safari, not many things I do without a dedicated app, but things I have done – put mail hold on, put WSJ delivery hold on,

    • 2 Kent January 4, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      I think it’s interesting to also include “things I thought I would use the iPhone for at home, but don’t.”

      Pandora – just not compelling enough to burn up my battery, though I use, and like, Pandora on the computer

      email – I’ll read email and briefly respond, but I walk over to the computer to write an in depth email.

      document review – sometimes, but I’d rather use my computer

      finances – on the computer. Just haven’t found a sufficiently good app and still some concern on security (lost phone problem)

      shopping – almost always on the computer, want to see the reviews and comparison pricing. When I’m in a store, or away from home, then yes, I use the iPhone and it works well.

      update contacts – sometimes if the update is part of the iPhone UI (like add a contact of a person that just called you) I’ll use the iPhone, otherwise, it’s on the computer.

      Looking at apps that I’ve uninstalled, that I might have used at home: BofA mobile banking, Loopt (social networking), ATT mobile account app. These were apps that don’t provide enough value to keep on the phone.

      • 3 predictabuy January 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

        Yep – I also prefer to do email (except for ‘quick hits’), document creation, blog writing, research (shopping, evaluating, investigating, etc.) on a full size computer.

        I like the Rogers mobile account app — so it’s still there.

        Thanks,
        Eric

  2. 4 predictabuy January 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Great additions Kent.

    I’m a big Shazam fan as well – but that’s mostly an ‘in car’ app for me since I rarely seem to listen to broadcast radio at home – though I’ve used it a few times to look up soundtracks on TV.

    I also use Wikipedia a lot at home. But I tend to access it by using the Google Mobile App to do a search using speech recognition (which I find works well for me) — the relevant Wikipedia article is usually at or near the top of list. But I’ll have to give Wikipanion a try.

    And the fact that all of the common use cases are well supported by dedicated apps means I actually PREFER to use the iPhone. Weather is a great example – it is faster and easier to look up on an iPhone than on a computer.

    Cheers,
    Eric

  3. 5 mark mccormack January 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Nice home utility list!

    I use my iphone for all of your items. Oddly enough, as a stand alone device, I don’t listen to ipod music / videos on it very often. However, it docks well with my iPod Bose Speaker set up and I just bought the TV dock so i expect that it will replace my DVD player as well.

    I have contemplated if I really want all of functions in the iphone or if they are better served on a iTouch that stays at home and is utilized as a family device / media console.

    I suspect that Apple may find that its not music / video but the apps, utility functions and computer like features that drives future growth / adaption.

    • 6 predictabuy January 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm

      Hey Mark –

      There are definitely some ‘family functions’. We solved that problem in a way I’m sure Steve Jobs would like to see every middle class family adopt. We have three iPhones (which will probably go to 4 soon when I finally upgrade to a 3GS ;-)), a few ipods, 2 MacBooks and 1 Mac Pro in the family – and an aging windoze machines that will soon be replaced by an iMac. So, the newly added ability to share libraries in iTunes is appreciated!

      Thanks,
      Eric

  4. 7 Tracy January 5, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I use my iPhone at home for all of those same kinds of things. To be honest, I’d do even more with it if I could keep the battery charged up longer! Honestly, they couldn’t have been more right when they said, “And this is when you realize, this changes everything.” It really does. Darn thing has just become like another appendage I can’t live without!

    • 8 predictabuy January 5, 2010 at 4:57 am

      Hi Tracy,

      It really is like another appendage isn’t it! And yeah, managing the battery life is a bit of a struggle. But at least with the iPhone I feel like I’m only worrying about keeping one thing charged up!

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation. Hope to hear from you again.

      Cheers,
      Eric

  5. 9 predictabuy January 5, 2010 at 5:03 am

    So how does the rumored iSlate figure in to this? I loved the idea – but now that I’m thinking about the use cases – I’m starting to think that I really just love my iPhone? Sure, a bigger screen will be better for reading but how much am I willing to pay for that?


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