Everybody’s weighed in on the iPhone and its bells and whistles. Most people were drooling for days, and we haven’t forgotten the lines wrapped around the Apple stores to grasp the first of the gadgets. I wasn’t one of them. I was too busy juggling parenting, working, blogging and everything else. Then my existing phone-PDA combo suffered from an overheating episode, so as a loyal Mac user, I decided to jump in the pool with other iPhone converts.
At first, I was impressed by how painless it was to get the phone working with AT&T. Definite plus for busy moms. Not so quick because the transfer of my number from Sprint PCS took about 24 hours, but at least I was able to start using some of the sleek features everybody was talking about. I was blown away by the clarity of the images. Then I began bickering about the things I missed about my old phone. (The iPhone is no Palm.) But after spending a few days with the iPhone, I became comfortable with it and blogged about the pros and cons. Now, after using the iPhone for a few weeks, I’ve come to realize it’s an excellent tool for parents.
Looking at each feature from the main menu, here are some examples of how the iPhone can work well for active parents:
- Text Messaging – allows you to send notes, reminders and
lists to your spouse when s/he is in meetings or busy at work; provides
a quiet mode of communication when little ones are napping.
- Calendar – gives you an excuse to say no when they ask for
volunteers at your kids’ school; or on a more serious note, puts your
schedule front and center so you won’t miss things like important
doctor check-ups and paying the mortgage.
- Photos & Camera – seamlessly syncs photos from the
iPhone’s camera to iPhoto so you can capture fun and special moments
with your family although the camera does have a slight delay, so
action shots don’t work well.
- YouTube – lets you check out what your kids are watching – see whether it’s vile and disgusting or just silly bloopers.
- Stocks – helps you teach your kids the importance of
tracking your investments (ok, so this one’s a stretch, but it is a
- Maps – directs you to your next play date, playgroup, meeting, game or other activity on time! Err… maybe just 15 minutes late?
- Weather – makes it easier to find out if you need to drag along jackets, umbrellas, snow shoes, ice picks, etc. when you hit the road.
- Clock – aside from the obvious, you can time yourself in the
grocery store: juice, bread, tequilla, diapers, toilet paper and peanut
butter all in 2 minutes flat.
- Calculator – perfect for splitting the bill on moms’ night out or calculating how much you owe the babysitter.
- Notes – good for creating lists, ideas for your memoirs, blog posts, or plain old rants
- Phone/Contacts – provides a favorites list, speaker phone, a
recent calls list, contact list and quick access to voicemail; adapts
well to the headset provided or bluetooth and car speaker devices
- Email – great for checking and sending on the go; see if a
playgroup or game was cancelled, find out about location or time
changes for activities, fire off a question to a friend or read news
alerts; email notes or photos (although it doesn’t do so well with
sending large attachments).
- Full Size Browser – allows you to keep up with the latest
and greatest news and tips on blogs like TechMamas, provides an
additional email conduit, and can keep you occupied for hours surfing
in waiting rooms.
- iPod – gives you something to listen to while waiting to pick up the kids; has a speaker so you can play songs or podcasts for them.
Now, whether the iPhone is worth its price on a mom’s budget, that
of course depends on the mom. Adding together what you might pay in
late pickup or late bill payment fees, speeding and parking tickets,
well okay so that doesn’t really justify it. And AT&T’s rates
aren’t necessarily cheaper than other providers. But keep watch if you
can’t buy one now – Apple will come out with newer versions with different
pricing and features and the first generation iPhones will drop then
too. Then after buying an iPhone, you can watch your stocks and
hopefully not suffer from any buyer’s remorse. (Hint: Apple stock’s
still going up.).