Not Martha

my very own iPhone

Oh baby, I’ve joined the future, or at least the present. Last weekend Scott and I got up early to arrive at an Apple store before it opened in order to get iPhones. Was getting there early entirely neccessary? Not really. At 45 minutes until it opened were we the first ones there? Nope. Did being there early cut down on our wait time? Yes, there was a slightly miserable looking line that had formed by the time we were leaving the store.

This is how we justified the cost of this little luxury: instead of paying a whole lot for cell phone service we barely use, we’re paying a whole lot more for mobile devices we’ll be using all the time. During the last few months, which I like to think of as our Justification Period, I’ve been noting all the moments where having an iPhone could solve problems. Small problems, problems like: Are the I-5 Express Lanes open right now? Who was the actress in that movie? How much yarn do I need to buy to make that sweater again? Are we going to talk those eight blocks just to discover Stellar Pizza is closed today? Is this cheaper on Amazon? What was that third thing I needed for the recipe? Why don’t we have any music to listen to right now?

This is the advice we were given by friends upon announcing we were getting iPhones:

– After 9 p.m. you can check if your Apple store will have your phone in stock the next day.

– Go to the store earlier in the day to get a voucher. You can either stand in line right away, or come back later in the
hopes the line will be shorter. The voucher will assure that they won’t sell the last 8 GB iPhone to somebody else. We didn’t encounter any mention of vouchers, but when the store opened the group of early customers wasn’t quite a mob yet. We heard from other people that in the middle of the day they waited between 45 minutes and an hour.

This is the advice I have after:

– Bring a current cell phone bill with you so you you have immediate access to your account number, at least around here were they can port your current number over to your iPhone right away. I blame our lack of a current cell phone bill on the early hour. They said it might take six hours for our phone numbers to transfer but ours were both working in an hour or so. Apple said that the process would automatically cancel our old service, but we’re bracing ourselves for a little confusion in that department.

The iPhone is smaller and more slippery than I thought it would be. We bought crystal film for the 3G to protect the screen, but the store didn’t have the PixelSkin in black that I was hoping for so I went home without a skin. At home I found I was terrified of dropping the phone while trying to type into it so we were off to find a skin I liked. I settled on the Incase protective cover because a friend has one and I like how simple it is. I got it in black and find it downright sexy.

The afternoon was spent setting things up, porting contacts over from old SIM cards, installing apps and discovering that it’s all as easy as everybody said it would be. I’m so very happy.

Here are the applications I’ve installed so far, all of these are free:


Twitterific – makes Twitter on a small screen nicely viewable

Pandora – since I don’t know much about music, or even have a music library of my own, this is perfect. You type in the name of somebody you like, say, Matt Nathanson, and it plays music that other Matt Nathanson fans like. It’s so convenient.

Urbanspoon – You shake your phone and it gives you a random restaurant in your area. You can also see the regular listings, but they’re not as fun.

I’m considering using Things – clutter free productivity.

This is also very useful information to have: How to charge your iPhone in the car, update one and update two by Carl Jonard, via A Whole Lotta Nothing.

So, any recommendations for applications I might love? Games? Particularly cool things of any sort?

· comments [47] · 08-11-2008 · categories:iphone · shopping · technology ·

47 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jenn // Aug 11, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I am VERY embarrassed to admit that I had the old iphone and then upgraded to the new one. I know…bad. But I do love it like I loved my old iphone (plus my 11 yr old son LOVES me even more now that he has my old iphone).

    I haven’t really checked out alot of the apps yet, but I have downloaded the phone saber which turns your iphone into a light saber. All the friends of my kids think I am SO cool. I also just downloaded koi pond because it liked neat. It is kinda neat. Not worth more than the 99 cent charge. Jenn

  • 2 megan // Aug 11, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Jenn – I don’t think you should be embarrassed, the GPS in the G3 is so very, very handy.

    I have both the iSaber and the More Cowbell apps. So amusing!

  • 3 Katie // Aug 11, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I, too, had the old iphone (well, not really old!) and upgraded to the 3g because i couldnt resist the shiny white exterior! Check out Tap Tap Revenge ( a game kind of like guitar hero) and Shazam (which listens to a song and tells you the name of it and gives you links to videos or to purchase it). I love Shazam because there have been many times when I’m in the grocery store and hear a song and cant think of the name of it. Pandora is definitely my favorite right now!

  • 4 Rachel // Aug 11, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Great post! I wanted to add that I went to the Palo Alto store in CA and waiting only 15 minutes. On a weekend too!

  • 5 Megan B // Aug 11, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for the tips, Megan! Mark and I are going to be doing the exact same thing VERY SOON! I’m so excited- our phones are about 80 years old. My friend the other day asked if I could receive text messages!

  • 6 Alex // Aug 11, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I like WeatherBug for more reliable forecasts than the default weather app. The NYTimes app is good.

    Bookmark :)

  • 7 Darci // Aug 11, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I have all of the apps that you mentioned. Just bought Things yesterday and am going to start playing with that…will look into UltraSpoon. Alex, thanks for the bookmark suggestion.

  • 8 Darci // Aug 11, 2008 at 10:57 am

    oh and I love the Showtimes app…we travel to soccer tournaments often and this rocks to find local theaters and movie times.

  • 9 Jamie // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the tips. Very helpful since I’m going to be making the big switch soon.

  • 10 Kim U // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:47 am

    A knitting counter app just came out today, StitchMinder. I’ve played around with it a bit and it looks fairly useful. Units has been very useful when I’m at a yarn store for converting ounces to grams and meters to yards. I love WeatherBug, but I’m a bit paranoid about weather and so I really like the radar feature. Zenbe Lists has been handy for exchanging grocery lists and todo lists with my husband. My favorite games are imangi and Dizzy Bee.

  • 11 megan // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Kim U – I just found StitchMinder, I wondered why I hadn’t heard about it already, thanks for letting me know it’s brand new today. Thanks for all the recommendations!

    Thank you everybody, I’ll have a look at everything.

  • 12 Tiffany S. // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:53 am

    that’s from Chris in case you haven’t seen it yet.

    Glad you’re loving your new phone!

    Wish I had Apple stock!

  • 13 Rachelle // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I paid 2.99 for the Mobile Flickr (now called MobileFotos?) it is nice if you are a flickr user. You can upload very quickly from your iphone instead of doing the whole transfer to computer then upload.
    As for games?! Trism, will make the time spent in the waiting room fly by. Enigmo is worth the money too.

  • 14 lili // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I just got my iPhone a few weeks back. My boyfriend and I both have one and we’ve noticed that it’s cut back our Internet usage significantly. I used to use my laptop to look things up and then get lost in the lovely world of craft blogs for an hour. Now I can look things up and that’s all I look at!

    Apps you might like-
    Klick – best flickr app so far. My only complaint is you can’t browse by groups

    There is actually an app from campus books that you can enter the isbn or title of a book and find a whole bunch of websites that sell the book and the price

    I’ve had a bit of trouble with the worspress app. I think it will be really nice inthe future

  • 15 Caitlin // Aug 11, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Shazam! It will tell you what that song playing during the TV show/movie/radio that your’re tuned into. On the downside:you can then purchase the song with the touch of a button. Or screen, as the case may be.

  • 16 Eliza // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    I’d love to read a follow-up after a month or so of iPhone use outlining how much more useful the phone is. Do you use all those awesome features daily or weekly, or is more like just every now and then?

  • 17 takewrning // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Has anyone found a nice handmade case? I have the skin, but wouldn’t mind another cute case to throw it in before I put it in my bag.
    I’ve found this, but that’s about all…

  • 18 tasterspoon // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I’m partial to the bubble wrap popping game.

  • 19 growler // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    My girlfriend just got an iPhone, and I fell in love with it. Decided I’m going to get one; a decision made much easier by the fact that my current phone just died today (Am using an old beater Gophone that I keep for backup).

    I tried to like Weatherbug, but it kept crashing on me, so I deleted it. One app I really love is AOL Radio. I know, “AOL” should = sucktastic. But that’s not the case. You get tons of stations from the CBS network, along with channels from AOL. It’s almost as good as having satellite radio, yet you don’t pay extra! Give it a look.

  • 20 Kristin A // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Another vote for Shazam! It’s super cool. Showtimes is cool too. Yelp also. And Net News Wire pulls your feeds onto your phone.

    Ravelry has an app! awesome.

  • 21 Louise // Aug 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I too am new to the iPhone, but so far I’m loving it more as a gadget than as a phone. Using it as a phone takes some getting used to.

    Some apps I like: Twinkle (instead of Twitterific or Twilttelator because it has location awareness and looks pretty), Google Reader (the web app), NYT (free new york times everyday!), AIM, and the Facebook app.

    I did a quick rundown of some of the above apps on my site if you’re curious to know more.

  • 22 emira // Aug 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    My new on arrives next week sometime (finger’s crossed) and I’m loving checking out all these app reviews and recommendations. I’ll definitely be referencing this post when the time comes. Can’t wait!

  • 23 Meredith // Aug 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I’m assuming everyone has AT&T for a service provider? Or is anyone using an unlocked phone for another phone company . . (t-mobile anyone?) :)

  • 24 megan // Aug 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Meredith – I’m not bold enough to go the unlocked phone route.

    Lousie – You reminded me, I forgot to mention that I rarely actually speak on the phone. I used my old cell phone as a camera far more often, which is why I think I’ll get so much use out of an iPhone.

    All these app suggestions are great! Thank you so much.

  • 25 Karen // Aug 11, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Here are some freebies I like: Labyrinth (unbelievably realistic graphics), Sudoku, PhoneSaber, JawBreaker, Evernote, and Jott.

    I like my incase skin very much – the phone doesn’t go flying when it’s on the car dash (or my knee) and I take a sharp turn.

  • 26 emira // Aug 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I just discovered that you can (with a subscription) get the NYT crossword on your iphone through the Crossword app… Danger bay.

  • 27 Marjorie // Aug 11, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I love my iphone! You can save web pages to your home screen so you can get back to them with one tap. I’m partial to the “more google” page optimized for mobile. From there you can open docs, news, notebook, goog-411, translate and more. Email yourself a link to then open the link in mobile safari, then click the + sign and “add to home screen” It looks just like an app on your home screen. Congrats, you will love it!!!

  • 28 Susan // Aug 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Gosh…I can’t imagine ever needing to be that connected. I am old.
    *makes your gang sign*

  • 29 growler // Aug 11, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Oh, if you’re a sports fan, Sportstap is free and fantastic. You get scores, stats and standings for just about every pro sport out there. For baseball, you also get up-to-the-minute box scores for every game. It’s really great. Though the Olympics stuff is a bit spotty right now.

  • 30 Susan // Aug 11, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Ummm, bubble wrap is surprisingly addictive. Almost as good as the real thing.

  • 31 Manda // Aug 11, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I love my iPhone!! I really love the Aurora Feint game. it’s sort of like Bejeweled & an RPG. I find it very addicting, and I love Shazam, but one of my friends told me about Midomi, which is the same thing, but there are more ways to find out the song (like you can hum or sing to it. lol). I might try it out.

  • 32 Patti // Aug 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I just blogged this the other day – he has other apps, too.

  • 33 Brandy // Aug 12, 2008 at 6:02 am

    I know, I’m way behind on this iphone thing! I’d really like to get one, but I’m not sure if it would be worth it for me. My husband and I are on the same plan so do we have to get a totally separate plan? Does it cost more each month? Do you get unlimited internet with downloads or does that cost more? I never hear anybody talk about these issues.

  • 34 megan // Aug 12, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Brandy – You can find all the pricing and contract information here at the AT&T site. If you’re not currently Apple customers the iPhones you choose to buy will be less expensive. We have a family plan. The things that you get to choose from for pricing are talk minutes and how many text messages you get to use each month, all the plans include unlimited email and web. It’s more expensive than our old cell phone plan but, like I mention above, I’ll be using this far more often. I know the iPhone will be worth it for me since while I’m out I’m constantly calling Scott to look things up for me. We did put a lot of consideration into price/use and decided it was worth it for us.

  • 35 andrea // Aug 12, 2008 at 7:16 am

    i want an iPhone so badly. should arrive in Brazil only by end of the year.

  • 36 Freelance Metasnob // Aug 12, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Oh, I can vouch for Shazam. I do not have an iPhone, but my boyfriend does, and we were at a music festival with some excellent beats coming out of some dude’s boombox two sites over. And I was all like “OMG what IS that?!” and my boy took a sample and was all like “Squarepusher, what’s up.”

  • 37 jenni s-g // Aug 12, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I’ve got the old iPhone, but husband upgraded to the 3G. We still both love the App store. I, too, love the Bubble Pop game and the Mahjong game (I love that I can increase visibility and move the board so I can see the tiles). My 5-year-old loves Scribble, a simple drawing app.

  • 38 kim // Aug 12, 2008 at 8:48 am

    a great trick i just discovered last night while manually entering some lingering contacts from my old phone: since there is no cut and paste option with the iPhone, entering address to businesses can be particularly cumbersome. i found that if you google the name (e.g. foley and corina new york, new york) and then click on the google map image, you can create a contact entry or add the information to an existing contact based on the info from the google map. with that address info in your contacts, you can then get directions to/from that location. its just simply so wonderful. Midomi is amazing – i tested it out by humming a few bars of various songs – and it got it right ever time. enjoy!

  • 39 megan // Aug 12, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Here is the first game I’ve really liked – Cubicman Lite (free). It’s just like Bloxor.

  • 40 megan // Aug 12, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Kim – Thanks for the tip on addresses, it’ll help a lot.

  • 41 Andrea // Aug 13, 2008 at 7:36 am

    The justification phase. So that’s what it’s called. I’m so there right now. I mention the iphone on a daily basis to my husband and point out people I see using them. You know, just to get him used to the whole iphone idea for when Christmas rolls around and he’s trying to figure out what to get me. ;) You mentioned twitter, if you have an account what is your username? I’d like to follow you on twitter.

  • 42 megan // Aug 13, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Andrea – This is what worked for us. Every time somebody says “What was the name of that actress in Lake Placid?” or “I wonder if the bank is still open?” or “Darn, I forgot the address, it’s in my email.” that is your cue to say “If only we had an iPhone right now…”. Keep it light, not too nagging, and before you know it your husband will be finding his own “If only I had an iPhone” moments. Or something like that.

    I cannot take responsibility for the breakdown of marital harmony due to this technique. We did get to a stage of “If only we had an iPhone right now we could *stop talking about having an iPhone*.”

    My twitter name is, shockingly, “notmartha”.

  • 43 Michelle // Aug 13, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    My kids found Cube Runner for the iPhone, and it is so fun! I don’t usually like computer games after my kids get better at them than I am (which takes about 5 minutes) but I love Cube Runner.

  • 44 Tara // Aug 14, 2008 at 10:00 am

    LOVE mine! I read the NYTimes during my lunch, find phone numbers and addresses while I’m in the car and play games while I sit in the waiting room. :) I love it.

    I have a Cozip case/skin for it and I like that it’s texturized so it doesn’t fall or slip off things. I’d like to have something that protects the glass front when I put it in my purse, though.

  • 45 Jenn // Aug 16, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Your justification for buying an iPhone is the same I recently employed for getting a Blackberry Pearl. It is extremely useful to have access to the kind of information it provides over the typical phone when generally out and about in the world… I could browse the internet on my old phone, but very clumsily. It’s lovely (and greener!) having an electronic shopping list at the grocery store, or being able to check weather/traffic situations super fast, or even just being able to Google something in a second. It also eliminates my need to spend extra money on a new point & shoot camera. It’s great for when the quality of the SLR isn’t terribly necessary but portability is.

  • 46 plumpdumpling // Aug 17, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I’m too poor to afford something like this myself, but my boyfriend has a Blackberry Pearl, and I hate thinking back to our life without it. Mostly because it’s proven me correct during so many dinner conversations where we’ve been arguing opposite points on some no-doubt-ridiculous topic. So yeah, I don’t think you’ll regret this at all.

  • 47 nelson // Nov 20, 2008 at 6:54 am

    We’ve just created a new game called “WaKi SNAP!”. It’s based on the card game “snap” that almost everyone’s played when they were kids, and the great thing about WaKi SNAP! is that you play against your friends on the same iPhone at the same time…fun for when you’re traveling or wanting to do something together on public transport.

    Here is the link:

    Hope you like it!

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