July 25, 2011
Yesterday morning, as my fiance and I were on our way to church, I was organizing the apps on my iPad2 into folders, a daunting task, as I’d amassed quite a few. As Von and I discussed the endless variety of iPhone and iPad applications, we voiced the same realization at the same time: that iPhone and iPad screens had replaced bookshelves of yore in revealing who people are.
Once upon a time, you could tell a lot about people just by looking at the books on their shelves. Works by Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury pegged Sci-Fi readers. Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and F. Scott Fitzgerald lined the walls of English professors, and Danielle Steel titles flowered the rooms of hopeless romantics.
Then came the 21st Century and, in Her wake, the iPhone. Now, “apps,” as everyone has come to know the handy icons dotting their screens, get you up in the morning, and rock you off to sleep, at night. They help you add so you don’t have to count on your toes in front of your boss. Looking for a movie? Want to play a game? Buy a book? Yep, as the iPhone commercial boasts, “there’s an app for that.”
Consider for a minute. How many tasks does an average person do during the day? Teachers teach lessons. Well, guess what — the Keynote app, a cousin of the PowerPoint, can help them create multimedia lectures. Then, there is Pages, a word-processing tool for writers . Each app, available for a one-time price of about ten bucks. If only Apple had an app that would summon a teaching assistant to help me grade those mountains of essays!
Need a little retail therapy? There are mall-finder apps, and grocery-store apps. Target, Wal-Mart, even Whole Foods are among the iPhone4 offerings.
When payday hits, there are bank apps — Bank of America and Chase, to name a couple — that can help them withdraw, transfer, or pay bills, with a click or two. PayPal, also, commonly the lingua franca of eBay and other shopping sites, is available for free.
When tired brains tired hit a wall at night, there are games galore, such as Solitaire and Bubble-Wrap to help them unwind. The gregarious and the lonely can chat on Facebook and tweet on Twitter..
Teachers and writers like Yours Truly are only a teensy fraction of Apple’s satisfied customers. There is You Version, an online Bible, for ministers, Dragon Medical for doctors, and Law School Survival Guide for fledgling “legal-eagles”. In short, for anyone feeling flush enough to fork over the plastic, apps abound! Shoot, maybe even an Indian Chief somewhere has paid serious wampum at the trading post for one of these high-tech gizmos. In fact, I can see it now — a dating app called eSquaw to introduce him to the wife of his dreams.
Musicians, artists, athletes, students, homemakers, et al. There are apps for you, too! There are piano-keyboard, finger-painting, study-aid, and recipe apps galore.
Hungry or bored? There are restaurant apps, theater apps, and — in case you get a tummy ache from that tub of buttered popcorn, apps for Care Now and other docs-in-the-box, where you can check in via Web before turning up in the clinic.
Whoever you are, whatever you do, and wherever you go, iPhone and iPad have your back with over a thousand apps, ready at your fingertips.
I can see it now — a 21st-century cocktail party. People wandering around, martinis in one hand, iPhones in the other, connecting with kindred spirits by one glance at the icons on their iPhones.
To re-tool and update a well-known Bible verse for the Digital Age: “By your apps, people know you.”