Saturday, December 22, 2012


Greg & I finally gave in to temptation and purchased iPhone 4S's this summer. This is our first foray into the world of the iPhone and, after six months of ownership, we are pretty pleased with our new-found connectivity.
our only real complaint about our iPhones: the battery drains quickly when you're running multiple apps
Greg has used a Windows-based phone (HTC Touch Pro2) for the past couple of years, but he couldn't take advantage of all the best apps due to their incompatibility with the operating system. I was using a Nokia E75, a very sturdy and utilitarian Symbian phone whose potential I couldn't fully realize since I opted to keep my costs low with T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go calling & messaging service.
Greg likes to use The Weather Channel app on his iPhone
I was somewhat hesitant to get an iPhone (or any similar new device) because I found it hard to justify the significantly higher cost for mobile phone & data service (combined we were paying under $50 per month whereas our new plan costs $130 after a 23% employer discount). Not to mention the initial cost of acquiring the devices (discounted to $150 each with a 2-year contract). Ultimately I was won over by the knowledge that I would be able to stay in touch with my family & friends more easily, respond to timely requests immediately (like confirming call times for my work as a background actor on Grimm, Leverage & Portlandia), access my calendar, notes & To Do lists (in Google Docs) while on the go, and navigate my way around town via public transportation more efficiently.
checking the bus schedule with the Kenu Highline attached to my jacket's pocket zipper
It is hard to estimate how much time and money the iPhone has saved me in the past six months but it is significant! During weeks that I'm out & about regularly, the PDX Bus app alone saves me a minimum of one hour per day of waiting time (because I know when a bus/train/streetcar is due to arrive and can plan my travels accordingly) and I waste less time trying to figure out how to get from Point A to B. To this end I also use Maps, Flashlight, and Around Me.
Apple Maps indicated this was a road. No joke.
My favorite money-saving apps are Safeway (particularly the Just4U program), Foursquare (random discounts when you check in somewhere for the first time), Yelp (for deals and helping narrow down restaurant options), and Happy Hours (no explanation needed!). Beer drinkers that we are, I use Taplister to find out what's pouring at our favorite bars.
free Mai Tai at Trader Vic's just for checking in on Foursquare
I also take LOTS of pictures and have several photography apps that I enjoy using like Instagram, Snapseed and MobileMonet. The iPhone takes excellent pictures in most settings and the quality is good enough that I've stop carrying my full body camera except when I know I'll need a powerful zoom.
one of my Instagram pics
Since we plan to keep these phones for the life of our 2-year Sprint contract, Greg & I decided to purchase AppleCare+ to extend the standard one year warranty to two. Besides hardware repair, this covers each phone for up to two accidental damage claims (subject to a $49 service fee). We figured this would be a likely occurrence given that we take them everywhere, including on bike rides, and that I expose mine to less-than-ideal conditions to snap photos on the spur of the moment, thus increasing the likelihood that I'm going to drop it in the process.
rainy day on the coast - Look, there's a dead bird! I guess it didn't have a Highline.
To ward off major damage caused by a simple drop, we both also purchased protective cases. I chose the Speck CandyShell Grip in my favorite color, purple, and Greg went with an armband/case combo since he uses his phone (music & fitness apps) during his workouts and while running. I've loved my case from Day 1 and have no complaints. Greg recently upgraded to a waterproof armband so he can still run/bike with his phone during inclement weather.
Thanks, Justin!!!
But the thing that gives me the most peace of mind when I carry my iPhone is the Kenu Highline. I read about this brilliant invention on a travel & technology blog I follow called Too Many Adapters. The review was posted just three weeks after we purchased our phones so the timing was perfect. I did some research and immediately contacted the company to request a Highline (retail $19.95) to demo. I received it just a few days later and now I can't imagine going anywhere without it!
Highline attached to my belt loop while bike riding
I typically attach the Highline to the zipper pull on a jacket pocket but have also attached it to a belt loop or a purse strap. I rarely disconnect it except when I'm just hanging out at home. Recently I was in an Apple store and they needed to look at my phone. When I pulled it out of my pocket, the Highline was attached and the employee immediately said "Wow, that's cool!" So, of course, I pretended to drop it, just opened my hand and let if fall towards the ground. I knew the outcome but the employee didn't. She was about to freak out as the Highline bungeed my phone long before it hit the floor. They definitely should be selling these in Apple's retail stores!
Highline attached to my dress's shoulder strap while biking
I can't tell you how many times the Highline has saved my phone from certain destruction. Plus it has eliminated any stress and insecurity I had about using my phone in pretty much every environment imaginable. Hold it over a boiling batch of wort while making beer - check; take photos & shoot video (with one hand) while riding my bike - check; lean over a 100 foot drop to capture the perfect shot of Lower Multnomah Falls - check. Bottom line, before you buy any accessories for your iPhone, including AppleCare, invest $20 in a Kenu Highline. You may discover that it's all the protection you need!
Highline attached to my Scottevest jacket pocket

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