1. Computer Skills

How to Use an iPhone for Absolutely Everything: Part 1

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Read Time: 4 min

In just ten short years, the iPhone has had an incredible, irreversible even, effect on the way in which we conduct modern life. In this tutorial I'll show you how you can do anything with an iPhone. Well, almost anything.

The moniker iPhone doesn't really do justice to such an incredible device that gets thinner, more powerful and more capable by the year and sets the standard for an industry that it created. This is how to use an iPhone to do anything; this one, small, pocket-sized device replaces all of these things:

Landline Telephone

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Landline telephone (image source)

The iPhone itself was a revolutionary, touch-screen incarnation of a device—the mobile phone—that had existed as a consumer device for near on two decades beforehand. Mobile phones had largely been, well, large, clunky, basic and expensive and were used by many as an addition to one's landline.

With the advent of the smartphone, together with greater cellular device ownership, reduced cost and, now, Europe-wide roaming included within contracted data, minutes and texts, it is now increasingly likely that the iPhone is the primary—if not the only—telephone that someone is likely to use. Well, unless they have a separate work mobile.

The idea that a person must be tied to a location serviced by a pair of copper wires has become an anachronism that has left dinosaur telecommunications providers struggling to justify the use of such old infrastructure now that data services have largely moved to fibre-optic delivery.

By replacing a traditional landline telephone and service with an iPhone, you'll save around 1.3 kilogrammes, the space the device occupies, around £50 the device costs to buy and in the order of £204 per annum for a subscription service before any associated call costs.

Answer Machine

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Answer machine (image source)

It was the mid-90s when British Telecom introduced its 1571 call-answering service that freed subscribers from the need for a new telephone with integrated answer machine or a separate, chunky box that often contained a cassette tape onto which an outgoing message and incoming messages were recorded.

At the time this was futuristic.

Nowadays, if you're using an iPhone, you'll have an answer machine service operated by your mobile provider. With Apple's Visual Voicemail, the whole answer machine experience becomes much more intuitive. 

No more dialling a number and pressing further numbers to navigate a restricted menu system.

Using an iPhone as an answering machine service, you'll save around £40 for the cost of the device, an electrical socket and the cost of powering it, the space it occupies or around £30 if you opt for the BT 1571 service.

Telephone Kiosk (Payphone)

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Telephone Kiosks (image source)

Some things the iPhone has replaced without your realising. Consider the last time that you used a public telephone kiosk, having to find the correct coins in order to use one, knowing the minimum charge or how much time you'll get to speak for a given price. Oh, that depends on the time of day, too. What a palaver. 

For the 80th anniversary of the red telephone box, in October 2016, British Telecom reported that just 8,000 of the 46,000 public kiosks remaining are traditional red phone boxes, but this number is likely to reduce gradually in line with decreasing demand. 

Using an iPhone will save you 60 pence, compared to a public telephone kiosk, each time you make a call. Many cellular network providers will give a certain number of inclusive minutes within a price plan or contract. These can now be used across a number of European countries meaning that an iPhone is not only more convenient, it's cheaper to use.

Address / Phone Book

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Address Book (image source)

Time was when I could recall a number of long numbers, each one being a string of ten-digits. And I'd recall them all without error every time. They were, of course, regularly used telephone numbers of friends, family and work.

Nowadays, many of us don't know the phone number for work, for our partner. Many people don't even know their own telephone number. The ability of mobile phones to store countless telephone numbers absolves our memories from the responsibility of the task.

Even my first Ericsson GH388 would store 99 numbers, ...provided that I laboriously entered them all first. An iPhone will import data already stored in an iCloud account, can receive numbers from .vcf virtual business cards, can be added from SMS messages, iMessage, other messaging services and can even be located in and added from incoming email. Effortlessly so.

Using an iPhone to manage all of your contacts will save you in the order of £13 on an address book weighing 300 grammes and there'll be no crossings out of old numbers. And the data will be backed up securely so there is no risk of losing it. 

And There's More...

So far, I estimate that an iPhone has already saved you £337, a couple of kilogrammes and some shelf space.

This is just one in a series of tutorials showing you what is possible with an iPhone. The earlier tutorials cover some of the things that you may already know about; the later ones show you what is possible for some of the tasks you may not have considered.

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