This year for Christmas, Gerald and I bought each other iPhones. I've had various smartphones for a long time--first a series of Windows mobile devices, and then a Nokia n95, but Gerald's only had phones with basic telephone and texting capability.
Over the past few months, we've both really enjoyed the new devices, but over the past few weeks his iPhone has transitioned from nifty traveling gaming device to genuinely lifechanging catalyst.
It started last month when I suggested that we really ought to try tracking our daily expenditures better so that we could budget more effectively. At first I was thinking we should carry notebooks for that purpose, but then it occurred to me that there was probably an iPhone app that would make the process easier. I did some poking around online and discovered iExpenseit, a nifty little tool that does indeed make the process of quickly recording expenses as they occur a lot easier. So on April 1, we both started using it to track expenses.
After just a few days, it was obvious how much of a difference in our spending patterns resulted from having to track every penny...and Gerald decided that perhaps the same thing would be true for tracking the food that he ate. I had downloaded a free iPhone app called LoseIt some time ago, and suggested it to him, and last weekend we both started tracking caloric intake as well as financial outlay.
While he was looking for the weight loss application, though, he also stumbled across a hypnosis program called Lose Weight with Andrew Johnson, from a hypnotherapist in the UK. It only cost a few dollars, so he decided to download it and try it...and it has been spectacularly helpful for him thus far. He's sleeping more deeply than I can ever remember (not even my icy cold feet making contact with his nice warm sleeping self have roused him from his sleep), and he's found that his cravings for unhealthy foods have completely disappeared.
All this on top of the many other useful and/or entertaining software that he's downloaded have resulted in the iPhone being the single most transformative gift I think I've ever given him.
I was talking to my cousin at dinner tonight, and I said that while I've had phones with many of the same potential capabilities before, the design aesthetic of the iPhone and its software have resulted in the applications feeling more usable and inviting than anything I've used on a phone before, and when it comes to be willing to use a tool on a daily basis, design really does matter.
At any rate, I wanted to get a blog post up about these tools because they've had such a positive impact on our lives this month. :)