It's not often that a piece of technology will change a person's life, but it does happen. Consider the car, the refrigerator, the microwave, and the PC to name a few. However, I believe that the iPhone has changed my life in several ways.
I was an early user of the blackberry, back when it was just a pager with a few lines of screen real-estate. I moved on to the larger version (PDA size) and was addicted to it at the time. When it broke several years ago, I did a trade-in deal with RIM and had them send me a refurbished one. That broke after about 6 months, and I decided that it wasn't worth keeping it. One reason was that I had to carry around two devices (this was before they integrated phones with blackberry) and the other was that I was getting fed up with it buzzing constantly from all the email. Granted, I could have turned that off, but I wasn't as wise in my younger days. So for quite a while I lived with only a cell phone, telling people that if something was urgent enough they can call me, otherwise it would wait until I was checking mail on my laptop.
I got my iPhone on July 11th, and it has been an unbelievable change. Here are the specifics on what I feel are dramatic enough to list out:
1. Remote email. OK, so I had this before with blackberry, but I was without it for so long that it's new to me again. I learned from past mistakes and have the iPhone set to silently acquire email, allowing me to check it occasionally when I feel the need to. One advantage the iPhone has over blackberry is that it connects to my gmail account as well as my exchange account, putting it in one simple location with the same interface. Where before the blackberry made me feel like I never left work, now I feel more freedom in being able to check email wherever I am and not have to worry about firing up the laptop.
2. Web browsing. My last phone before the iPhone did have a browser on it. It was absolutely pathetic however. Now, if I have something on the tip of my tongue, or want to look something up, it's all there in a real browser just like I would have on my laptop.
3. Google maps. I used to always have to remember to print a map when going to an unfamiliar location before leaving. Now, I can simply enter the address into the google maps application, tell it to give directions from my current location and voila. The fact that it shows real-time my current location on the map is huge, as I then know where I am relative to my next turn. If Apple would allow voice directions, I couldn't ask for more. (bonus feature: click on an address in an email and it goes straight to the map and shows you the location)
4. iPod. On a recent trip with the family, my daughter watched a movie on my laptop on the plane. The movie was a bit too intense for my 4 year old son, so ahead of time I downloaded some cartoons from iTunes to my phone and he watched those. There were times before that we lugged two laptops onto a plane to solve this problem, but now life got much simpler.
There are other things about the iPhone that make it a fun, cool device that I love owning, but I wouldn't call life changing.
If you don't have an iPhone, you're missing out...