Well, today is iPhone 4S day and because of its immaculate pre-order sales, it’s a pretty safe bet that many consumers like the idea of a faster, better camera equipped, personal assistant toting iPhone. Not to mention all of the updates that come because of the newly upgraded iOS 5.
So, can the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 make one more productive? Can it help them save time with normal everyday things? Well, no tool can make you more productive, you make you more productive, but a tool can definitely save you time and augment your productivity.
Here are 5 things that iPhone 4S and iOS 5 will help you save time and boost your productivity.
Reminders is a new app that comes with iOS 5. It allows users to create simple lists of tasks that can contain a due date, a reminder (either a date/time or location), a name, and a note. Pretty simple. But for the masses of people that are GTD fanboys and girls like you, the reminder app will be more than enough to support their productivity.
Reminders also syncs with iCloud, so if you have any other iDevices you can get access to your todos from anywhere.
One of my favorite new features of iOS 5 is the quick access to the camera. I take a lot of pictures of things that I need to remember for later meetings or phone calls (not to mention awesome pictures of my puppies) and being able to get quick access is nice.
To get fast access, double click your home button at the lock screen and a camera icon will appear. Touch the camera icon and you are in. I’ve also noticed that when you access the camera this way on the iPhone 4, you won’t get the dreaded “shutter of death”. The shutter opens quickly and you can start snapping away.
Even though the iPhone’s keyboard is pretty darn easy to use, it can be a little annoying to type and re-type certain phrases over and over again. If you are a TextExpander nerd, then you have probably been using TextExpander Touch on your phone for some time. The only issue is that TE Touch can’t be used system-wide.
In iOS 5 under Settings > Keyboard you will notice a new ‘Shortcuts’ section that allows users to enter phrases and a shortcut to get to them. Once you’ve added a shortcut combo, you can type it anywhere on your iPhone and you will see the familiar auto-correct bar come up with your “expanded” shortcut. It isn’t as robust as TE Touch, but still will save you tons of time in the long run.
iCloud is Apple’s new cloud storage / syncing service that now ships with iOS 5. Signing up for an iCloud account gives you web access to a new email client, calendar, contacts, Find My iPhone, and documents in the cloud. Basically, MobileMe done right. You can then use this account to keep your iPhone in sync with the server, not to mention with all of your iCloud friendly devices.
This is one thing that the iPhone has been missing that other devices (I’m looking at you Android) have been giving users for a while now. The thing is, and this goes for almost all Apple products, iCloud tends to be more “polished” (not more feature rich, Android fanboys) than any other cloud/mobile service that I have encountered.
What does iCloud mean for productivity? Ubiquitous email, calendar, and contacts with web access. Not to mention daily “cloud backups” of your iDevice. Enough said.
Siri (iPhone 4S only)
Siri is the voice recognition/personal assistant that ships with the iPhone 4S. There is a really nice video that Jason Snell did from Macworld showing off the personal assistant. While it is still in “beta”, Siri seems to work pretty well and can definitely help out users who don’t have typing access to their phones.
Siri allows the user to listen to and reply to text messages with voice, search for local businesses and map them, search Wolfram Alpha for statistics and things, give themselves reminders, set timers and alarms, and also manipulate their calendar and email. Yes, Android phones have had speech recognition for a while, but once again Apple seems to have polished this and made it accessible to mere mortals.
Any productive iPhone user has had to have known that the notifications on iOS stink. They interrupt what you are currently doing and force your attention to them. You could turn them off, but that was really an all or nothing type of approach.
Apple has added the new Notification Center to iOS 5 that allows user to use a drop-down shade from the top of the iPhone, much like the Android notification bar. In Notification Center you can set up notifications for any app that supports it as well as include snazzy weather and stock widgets. I can’t begin to describe how much time this has saved me from having to “hunt and peck” for app badge icons to see the notifications I have missed.
Users can set up their notifications in Settings > Notifications and can choose just how they want them to show up.
This is just a taste of all of the new features of iOS 5 that can help boost your productivity and save you time. I’m sure we will find more of the small time-savers that Apple has included over the next several days and weeks, but for now these are the most obvious ones. So, if you are a lucky one getting your snazzy new iPhone 4S today, try these 5 (+1) features out to save some time.