With the advent of the smart phone, industrious users have been trying to sqeeze more and more utilities into what has become the Swiss Army knives of mobile technology. This has been met with varying degrees of sucess, but none more successful in my opinin than Apple’s iPhone.

I myself have had the iPhone for a few years now and have found it to be an invaluable tool to my day to day business. If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing this smart phone, I hope the following will help clear the waters a bit.

Let’s start with the installed programs.

Camera/Video

This is pretty obvious, but if you’ve got the iPhone 3Gs you get the added benefit of having a video camera. While it’s not as good as using a dedicated unit, I’ve found the video camera on the iPhone to be pretty decent when provided with adequate light. The 3Gs captures video at 640×480 in the quicktime format and captures surprisingly good audio.

In addition to shooting video, it allows you to then trim the video down and upload it to facebook, flickr, YouTube etc. without losing your original file. I’ve found this extremely useful for shooting behind the scenes video when I couldn’t use my Canon 5D. I’ve even used it as a second camera to mix in with my 5D footage for behind the scenes work.

Photo/Video Storage

When properly synced with iTunes, the iPhone will store photos and videos for playback anywhere. I find it extremely useful for showing clients examples of my work in the field. I’ve also found it helpful to have clients send me examples that I can keep on had for reference. 

Here’s a trick to keep them all organized:

Take all the photos/videos that you want on your iPhone and copy them into a folder on your harddrive somewhere. Arrange them into folders and then in the sync settings iTunes, specify that folder as the folder to sync your photos from. Viola! You will now have them all neatly organized.

Voice Memos


This app remained dormant on my phone for a long time. I really didn’t consider the app capable of anything more than just recording a lecture or making grocery notes, but while out on a video shoot we had need for a scratch audio track and decided that Voice Memos would do in a pinch. I was quite surprised to find that the resulting audio was actually quite usable. I’ve since used it for scratch audio work as well as (believe it or not) the actual voice over work for a broadcast commercial. The best part is that when you’re done recording you can simply email the file to yourself for use in your favorite editing program.

Maps

I’m quite attached to my Garmin GPS and have often wondered how I got along without it before, but it doesn’t compare to being able to simply type the name of a business into the maps app and have it pull up not only the location and directions, but the phone number and web address. The iPhone has given me the appearance of being a lot more competent than I really am sometimes.

When location scouting, you can save the location by simply tapping the locate button on the bottom left and then dropping a pin  by tapping the options key on the bottom right. You can then save this location in your bookmarks or send it  to someone else via email or MMS.

Coming up…

Next time we’ll talk about some of my favorite paid apps, but until then I hope I’ve given you a little insight into some of the advantages of using the iPhone with your workflow. If you have a favorite app, please let me know if the comments below.

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