You probably look at your iPhone as a phone first, an iPod second, and a mobile Angry Birds console third.
But as a productivity tool? C’mon, there’s only so much you can get done on a pocket-size device with a pocket-size screen.
Actually, with the rights apps, you can accomplish more than you thought. Perhaps a lot more. I’m talking about things like recording your mileage using the iPhone’s GPS, joining in company meetings when you’re stuck at the airport, and dictating voice notes that get instantly transcribed to text.
That’s a lot of productivity from such a diminutive device. So check out these 11 apps, all of them designed to help you get more done when you’re on the run.
'How would you like your documents?'
'To go, please.'
No one will mistake an iPhone for a laptop, but if you need some quick-and-dirty document viewing and/or editing, it can pinch-hit like a champ. And few apps deliver your documents, well, to go better than Documents To Go Premium.
With it you can create and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, syncing all of them with your desktop and/or favourite online service (Google Docs, Dropbox, SugarSync, etc.). Microsoft will probably never do a version of Office for iOS, but so what? You've got this. ($16.99)
Welcome to the future. Nuance Dragon Dictation for iPhone turns your spoken words into text. It's fast, efficient, and outta-this-world cool. All you do is tap the little Record button, then start talking. Tap again when you're done and the app quickly returns your translated text.
Another tap and that text becomes an e-mail, a text message, or the contents of your iPhone's clipboard. If the app makes a mistake, just tap the misrecognized word for a list of suggestions--or use the onscreen keyboard to edit. (Free)
I recently suggested that Fuze Meeting might be the single best reason to buy a tablet. But the app's no slouch on an iPhone, either. With it you can host or join Web conferences, share and view documents and media, chat with co-workers, and so on.
You can even use your finger as a 'laser pointer.' Granted, the iPhone version lacks the whiz-bang video features of its iPad counterpart, but it's still a great way to catch meetings on the run. The app is gratis, though Fuze does charge a fee to be the host. (Free)
Want to save a whiteboard diagram for future reference? Keep your receipts for the accounting department? Photocopy a document when there's no copier around?
You can do all that and more with Genius Scan+, which can save and send documents in PDF and JPEG formats, upload 'scans' to sites like Google Docs and Evernote, and deliver everything to your PC via Wi-Fi, no syncing required. It's a ridiculously handy app. ($2.99)
Many businesses benefit greatly from push-to-talk capabilities, which effectively turn phones into walkie-talkies. HeyTell (available for both iPhone and Android) isn't quite the same thing, but it's close: the app lets you send voice messages without any dialling.
You simply hold the down the talk button and speak; the messages are received and recorded like voice mail, so you have a record of the call. When a call comes in, the recipient gets a push notification, so they can listen and respond right away, or get back to you later.
Cooler still, a $3 plug-in lets you broadcast messages to up to 25 recipients. (Free)
OneNote is one of the most useful programs ever devised -- and now it's available for iPhone. The app does pretty much everything the desktop version does; you can add text and images (from the iPhone camera), add Quick Notes, and organise your notes into different books and tabs.
Your notes look pretty much the same on the iPhone as they do on our desktop, with only one real limitation: the iPhone apparently display tables. (Free)
Apple's iOS 4.2 includes support for wireless printing, but very few printers currently support iOS 4.2. Print Magic Business lets you beam just about anything -- documents, photos, Web pages, and even PDFs -- to nearly any printer on the network.
It's great for printing, say, a boarding pass while staying at a hotel. It doesn't work flawlessly with every printer, but I've used it with various HP and Brother models, and the results have been fantastic. PDF adds another $1.99 to the purchase price; it's well worth it. ($4.99)
ProOnGo Expense uses your iPhone's GPS to calculate mileage, then adds the information to your expense report. Granted, there's still a bit of manual effort involved -- you have to run the app when you start your trip -- but it beats punching in odometer numbers.
Plus, the app can scan receipts with your iPhone camera, then extrapolate the data right into your expense report. That report can be uploaded to QuickBooks Online, exported to Excel, or even faxed anywhere in North America. (Free)
Psst. Hey, Dropbox. While you weren't looking, SugarSync ate your lunch. This cloud-storage tool has improved a lot in recent months, starting with 5GB of free storage (Dropbox limits you to 2GB).
And the iPhone app now lets you manage your desktop files and create a public link to share any file with the world (or just select individuals, natch). Suddenly you're just as powerful with your iPhone as you are at your desk.
Business cards haven't gone the way of the dinosaur just yet, and transcribing contact data is just as big a pain as ever.
That's what's so awesome about WorldCard Mobile: it takes snapshots of business cards, then converts the images into text and populates the appropriate fields in your iPhone's Contacts app.
It's not 100% accurate, but it works better than you might expect -- and the cool factor is off the charts. ($5.99)
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