The iPhone has become the smartphone mobile tool of many professionals since its release a few years ago. With its funky design and touch screen, and riding on the brand of Apple, some professionals consider it a business essential.
With the development of 10s of 1,000s of apps (applications), many enhancements can be made to the basic system to make the iPhone a fantastic resource. If you are a professional, and you like to stay in touch with your social media, email and work documents, there are some iPhone apps you must have. In no particular order of importance:
# update their profile on the run
# upload images
# check their newsfeed wall
# accept friend requests
# send messages
# view latest events
# check-in to various locations with Facebook Places (US and UK users only)
You may notice the Twitter app missing from this list. The reason for this is there is an application which is so much better. Tweetdeck has evolved into an effective and efficient business tool for many professionals for many reasons.
The most important reason is that Tweetdeck can let you check and update more than 1 Twitter account at a time from a single application. So if you have a personal Twitter and a business Twitter, you will really like this app. Also you can sync the app with the Tweetdeck on your PC or laptop, keeping everything connected.
If you are looking to meet up with work colleagues or clients who also use Foursquare, then you need this one on your smartphone. You can also see where your friends are in and out of your city, and get push notifications of updates.
There is a social city-guide that helps show you nearby places, and rewards you for doing interesting things. You can find out what happens when you go out a few nights in a row, or check-in on a boat. Whether it’s your local Starbucks or your school, show that you’re a regular and become the mayor of your favourite spots.
“fring is a free mobile application that lets users communicate with friends on popular networks over their mobile phone’s internet connection. fring users make free mobile calls, video calls, live chat & more, from their mobile phone with all their friends on fring & other internet services like MSN Messenger®, GoogleTalk™, AIM®, ICQ® , Facebook® & Twitter, all through one central, integrated phone book.”
For business professionals, it is a handy all-in-one for chatting and accessing other social media accounts. It’s definitely handy on the iPhone.
You can update your status, chat to other Skype friends, call other online contacts through skype or use your skype credit to make normal phone calls (if you find that saves you money).
You can also send text messages and instant message one or many people on Skype at the same time.
You can use Skype over 3G or WIFI.
6. e-Book Reader: iBooks, Kindle, Stanza, Ereader
Reading books has made a huge comeback, especially with the improved technology converting the books into eBooks, and most professionals I know have at least one eBook reader on their iPhone, if not more.
It is difficult to say which is “the best” as they all seem to be similar, except some come with more “oldie freebies” than others, ie the classics.
For Example, Stanza has built-in Online Catalog containing links to over 100,000 books, from classics to contemporary works. From Austen to Zola, the world’s greatest literature is all at your fingertips.
# all updates
# your status
# your connections
# your favourites
# your inbox and invitations
You can even change your theme colour, and their is a handy feature called “In Person” where if you meet someone with an iPhone and a Linked In profile you can use bluetooth to instantly connect.
8. Barcode Readers: Stickybits, Microsoft Tag, QR Reader
For iPhone users who like to stay with the latest technology, then having at least one barcode reader on your smartphone is a must. Businesses utilitising the possibility of using barcodes for marketing benefits has only really just begun.
What the barcode reader does, is use the iPhone camera to take a snapshot of the barcode (on a poster, a business card, a t-shirt, etc…) and then takes you to the website linked to that barcode.
If you are a professional on the go, then a handy free Travel App like TripIt, could do the trick with keeping you organised and connected. TripIt is an online travel itinery and trip planner where you can:
# Organize trip details into one master online itinerary, even if arrangements are booked at multiple travel sites
# Automatically include maps, directions and weather in master itinerary
# Have the option to book restaurants, theatre tickets, activities and more from within the online itinerary
# Safely access travel plans online, share them, check-in for flights, or print an itinerary
TripIt’s basic website and app (which can also be synced with your Linked In profile) is a great start. Many extra apps have been created which work with Trip It – Travel Assistant Pro, FlightTrack, TravelTracker, and Trips, but of course you must pay for these apps (from $5.99).
Also you have the option of upgrading to TripIt Pro which has more features for $49 per year.
Evernote is a comprehensive system of recording, storing and finding things you might need in your daily working life. Once you set up an account, you can install the notetaking system on your PC desktop, and also upload the iPhone app.
In your account, you can:
# Create and edit new notes
# Snap a photo right into your account
# Record a quick voice memo
# Easily access all of your notes
# Select notes for offline viewing
# Take snapshot copies of webpages
# View PDFs
Dropbox is an excellent “cloud computing” solution for online file backup, syncing and sharing. You can start with 2GB of free storage. You install the software on your desktop or PC, and it sets up a standard file under “Your Documents”.
From here you can drop any files or photos you like into this folder, and then it will automatically back up to your online account. So if you have an iPhone, you can install the iPhone App and sync it with your account. Then any files you save in your “Dropbox” you will be able to view on your iPhone. You can also “save” files to your iPhone, which is a bonus too for when you don’t have internet.
12. CamCard Lite: Business Card Reader
Finally a filing system for paper business cards, straight into your iPhone contacts. The application is a business card reader with world leading OCR (optical character recognition) technology. It is able to recognise business cards in 12 languages.
The free “lite” version only allows 3 cards to be scanned initially, then 1 card per week after. The full version is US$8.99
StumbleUpon is a social networking site, where you can stumble onto new websites and blogs that match the topics that you are interested in. You can choose to follow certain profiles, and they can choose to follow you.
The iPhone App for this site is the mobile verson, where you can access your account on the go, and you can:
# Review and rate/ like sites. By rating a site, you are telling StumbleUpon what you like or not like, so our recommendation engine learns your preferences and sends you even better sites.
# View Site Info – tap on the icon on the bottom navigation bar. It will take you to a page where you can see more info about the site you just stumbled, such as how many times it’s been stumbled, the topic it was filed under, other stumblers who liked this site, and
reviews other stumblers wrote about this site.
# Share a Site With Your Friends – Tap on the share icon on the bottom navigation bar of your app when you find a site that you want to share with your friends. This will allows you to share the site to another stumbler, an email address, your Facebook Wall or Twitter.
14. Free WI-FI Finder
With close to 300,000 free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots in over 140 countries, Wi-Fi Finder is simply the best app for finding free or paid public Wi-Fi hotspots.
# Submit a free-access public hotspot directly from the app
# Get Wi-Fi hotspot details and call the location, get directions to it or add it to your favorites
# Filter Wi-FI hotspot search results by free vs. paid, provider or location type
# Download the entire Wi-Fi hotspot directory for offline use. Quick and easy weekly updates mean you always have the latest data
# Share a Wi-Fi hotspot via email or via your Twitter or Facebook accounts
# View Wi-Fi hotspot search results as a list or on a map without leaving the app
# Viewing recent searches is just a tap away
Did I miss one?
Have you tried these apps? Do you love these apps? Do you hate these apps? Do you have another professional app you cannot live without? Feel free to comment or share below…