Sci-fi fantasies realized: the iPhone is the best computer I've ever owned

Many boys want to be a firefighter when they grow up. Or maybe a race car driver, a police officer or a solider.

I wanted to work on the USS Enterprise.

Look at that enormous thing. oh, how I wanted one. 

Look at that enormous thing. oh, how I wanted one. 

Star Trek, the original series, was in syndication when I was young. My father loved the show, and he'd invite me to watch it with him. We'd sit side by side on the couch and watch Kirk and Spock fly through space and have incredible adventures. My dad would explain who the aliens were and what the ships were called. He described McCoy's Tricorder, Kirk's flip-open communicator and the transporter. I fell in love with them and imagined what life would be like if I had those things.

I'd ride by bike around the neighborhood, pedaling as hard as my skinny little legs would go, the whole time imagining I was the Enterprise at warp speed, or a Klingon Bird-of-Prey de-cloaking and ready to cause trouble. But mostly, I imagined I had all of those awesome toys. A communicator. A tricorder. A tablet. A phaser. And of course, a transporter. "Beam me out of math class, Scotty! It's boring as hell!" What amazing, impossible gadgets.

Most of all, I just loved watching Star Trek with my dad, just the two of us. I have a deep affection for Star Trek and cool gadgets, and those warm feelings are a big part of that.

Today, the iPhone is my sci-fi fantasies realized, and the reality is better than I ever imagined as a child.

Portrait of the tech blogger as a young man, dreaming of an easier way to enjoy audio.

Portrait of the tech blogger as a young man, dreaming of an easier way to enjoy audio.

The iPhone is the best and most useful computer I've ever owned. To demonstrate this, I spent a week noting each time I used it. Whenever I took my iPhone out of my pocket, I recorded when, why and what app I used. The results are, to quote a certain Vulcan, fascinating.

My iPhone is entertainer and work coach. It's a photo album and a personal trainer, a movie theater and an outlet for my creativity. My beautiful 5c connects me with far-flung loved ones in very real, meaningful ways. It helps me earn a living, navigate unfamiliar roads and walk the dog at night by lighting the way. My iPhone lulls me to sleep, wakes me up and reminds me to take my meds. I can't overstate how much I love and, more importantly, use this device.

Below you'll find the record my iPhone use over the course of one week. After that is an analysis of patterns I've noticed, and a consideration of how I use my iPhone every day. Let's get started with Monday, March 2nd.

Note: I recorded all of these observations and wrote this entire article with Byword on my iPhone.

Monday, March 2

  • Reminder to drive my daughter to ballet, complete with a suggestion for my departure time, based on my location and current traffic conditions. Google
  • Enter information, review outstanding tasks/to-dos in Todoist (several times) Todoist
  • Watch my brother-in-law, far away in Pennsylvania, shovel his driveway. Again. Path
  • Enter meal data into My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal
  • Review web stats Squarespace Metrics
  • Fun with Alto's Adventure. Alto's Adventure
  • Tweeting. Twitterrific
  • Set reminders with Due. Due
  • Björk, my favorite music for writing. Music
  • Reviewing highlights from my family's day on Path. Feeling connected to people I rarely see. Path
  • Dice rolling while playing D&D with friends Dice & Dragons
  • Go to sleep with Sleepy Fan. Sleepy Fan

Tuesday, March 3rd

  • Browse Twitter, get caught up on news and my friends' activities. Feel close to dear friends I rarely (if ever) see in person. Laugh at a few jokes. Twitterrific
  • Go to work. Slack
  • Tweeting. Twitterrific
  • Set reminders with Due. Due
  • Enter information, review outstanding tasks/to-dos in Todoist (several times). Todoist
  • Enter meal data into My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal
  • Check weather as another storm approaches. Yahoo Weather
  • Check my calendar, see what's on tap for the day. Fantastical
  • Get a message from my wife. My daughter left her iPhone at school. I better bring it to her, as we'll have to cordinate ballet pick up/drop off later. Messages
  • Review web stats Squarespace Metrics
  • Set reminders with Due. Due
  • Listen to podcasts while running errands in the car. Podcasts
  • Post to Apple World Today's Instagram account. Instagram
  • Check mail (several times). Dispatch
  • Go to sleep with Sleepy Fan. Sleepy Fan

Wednesday, March 4

  • Browse Twitter, get caught up on news and my friends' activities. Twitterrific
  • Go to work. Slack
  • Check weather as another storm approaches. Enough with the storms already, seriously. Yahoo Weather
  • Enter meal data into My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal
  • Enter information, review outstanding tasks/to-dos in Todoist (several times). Todoist
  • Ask Siri to help me with the household chores. Siri
  • Check mail (several times). Dispatch
  • See what the family is up to on Path, share a "snow day" photo. Path
  • Tweeting. Twitterrific
  • Set reminders with Due. Due
  • Start a movie on the Apple TV. Remote
  • Working on a new deck for Magic: The Gathering. Decked
  • Listen to podcasts while running errands in the car. Podcasts
  • Go to sleep with Sleepy Fan. Sleepy Fan

Thursday, March 5

Friday, March 6

All of this with a computer that fits in my hand and is barely noticeable in my pocket. It is my constant companion and my most productive and versitile tool. You might use different apps, but I bet the experince is just as remarkable.

How I use my iPhone

This information, informal as it is, emphasizes my iPhone's versitility. I use it to entertain myself and monitor my health. I shoot photos and earn a living. It even places a phone call every now and then. It's an essential work tool and a great little remote control when I want to watch Star Wars Rebels in iTunes.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone on January 9, 2007, he used a clever play on words to describe it as a phone, an iPod and a revolutionary communication device. "Are you getting it?" he said. "These are not three seprarate devices." Eight years later, my iPhone is that and so much more:

When I bought the original iPhone on launch day, June 29, 2007, I used it to call my wife as I drove home from the mall. "It's the coolest thing I've ever owned," I said. Today it's the most useful thing I've ever owned. Cool fades, usefulness lasts.

Fortunately for Apple, the iPhone -- my science fiction fantasy come to life -- is still pretty damn cool.