Thursday, July 16, 2009

The iPhone Cometh

A few days ago, I became the proud owner and user of the iPhone 3GS. I walked into Apple Fifth Avenue and asked a specialist to show me the iPhone’s new features like VoiceOver and Voice Control, which enable access to the screen without seeing it. I was introduced to Ian, a personal shopper, who knew of these upgrades to the iPhone but had not experienced them himself -- until now. He enthusiastically grabbed a phone. We were then joined by Gilbert, an Apple specialist, and we let the festivities begin!

With the push of one external button and a voice command or two, dialing calls and getting music was ours for the asking. Then VoiceOver was turned on, and at the tip of my fingers was the reality of audible access that I only dreamed could be this good. We all burst into big, big smiles, again proving my point: Good for me, better for everyone!

Now I’m on the iPhone learning curve (which, incidentally, everyone must go through). Rhythm is required. It’s a little like learning to dance: one click to hear what button you’re on, and two clicks to activate it…one, two-three…one, two- three…now you’re dancing! I’m learning one step at a time. First, I’ll master the waltz: sending, receiving calls, retrieving voicemail and managing contacts. Then I’ll learn to tango: texting (a first for me), music, e-mail, photos, videos, recordings. Then, I’ll conquer the world -- I’m sure there’s an app for that!

I’m still smiling.

Let me tell you again. I walked into an Apple store and bought the iPhone 3GS, the same phone that everyone buys. In the same store. And at the same price. No extra charge for the special features I need, they’re built in for everyone. Never thought being like everyone else could be so good.

For this, I give Apple a standing ovation!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Three Steps To A Smarter Phone

There are smart phones (with email, Internet capability), and there are phones that are not smart --- shall we call them dumb? It’s never too late to help your dumb phone get a little smarter.

You may be able to set these features in your phone, but I suggest opting for the easy method, go to the tech desk at your local Verizon Wireless store (or the carrier of your choice), or make an appointment with a “Device Specialist” at a Verizon location, and ask to activate the features (listed below) in your cell phone. It makes a huge difference to ease of use, especially when you cannot see what’s on the screen.

1. Caller ID and Menu Readout:
announces incoming calls, menu names

2. Voice Commands: ask phone to dial contact by name, get messages, get time/date

3. Largest Font, Highest Contrast & Brightness: make screen text readable

My experience has been at Verizon, but I know you can get the same "smarts" at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile. Go ahead, ask.