When it comes to iPhone reviews, many tend to focus on usability, navigation and the countless fun and/or useful apps that range from keeping track of your spouse to tuning your guitar. This is a really good starting point. Since I have purchased my own I have also become increasingly aware of how the iPhone can generally be used as an integral tool beyond making calls, listening to songs, and taking photos – and no, I’m not talking about the spirit level app.
1. Music Maker
Music Maker? I’m sure you’re thinking. Well it’s an iPod isn’t it? Of course you’re right and as I write this there are no doubt countless more apps being developed for access to the global music “cloud”. Similarly, companies are also striving to offer the best iPhone integration to our home stereo systems, excellent. But can we actually use the iPhone to “make” music? The answer is yes. Indeed, a rather promotional YouTube video of a suspiciously clean-cut band called The Mentalists was circulating last week. It showed three things. The first, that truly anyone can have their 15 minutes of fame. The second: that the indy-murmur of MGMT can be closely replicated by five iPhones and four cute girls. And the third, akin to the way the Mac has become a tool of choice for electronica DJs, rock bands and even composers (Nico Muhly), it won’t be long before the iPhone is as usable in this environment (if it isn’t already).
2. Art Canvas
Following the creativity theme, the latest front cover of the cultural commentary magazine, The New Yorker, depicted a seemingly typical New York street scene of folks at a hotdog stand and a background bathed in neon. However, what really astounded readers was the fact that the artwork was in fact created using an iPhone and an app called Brushes. Artist, Jorge Colombo, said he used the app because it allowed him to work discreetly and in the dark whilst the public assumed he was just checking his emails. iPhone as sketchbook? Well it certainly beats the current 2.0 megapixel camera, which according to some iPhone reviews is nowhere near as good as its competitors.
3. School Assistant
I acknowledge that 1 and 2 may have seemed somewhat gimmicky, but if I told you that it will soon be mandatory for students to own an iPhone in a similar way that we all had an abacus before 1970 would you believe me. At Aoyama Gakuin University students are being given iPhones to create a stronger network between them and their professors – and to ensure they attend classes. This follows recent plans at the University of Missouri School of Journalism that will ensure all have iPhones as practicing journos are taught 21st Century skills such as (according to The Guardian): ‘community management, user interface design, crowdsourcing, data mining,’ as well as being plugged into Twitter and Flickr.
Finally, in the true spirit of communication, the latest development in the world of iPhone seems to be helping people talk. Unsurprising really, but I am not describing phone calls and text messages. For sufferers of Autism, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, speech aids have traditionally cost thousands of pounds and been difficult to carry around. However, an app developed in the US is allowing users to tap on-screen icons that relate and speak simple sentences ranging from requests to emotions. Amazing.