Let’s face it: the iPhone is a Game Boy for grown-ups

Thanks to the generosity of my BFF, I am now the owner of a two-generations-old iPhone.

Okay, so it’s not exactly cutting-edge – but it’s my first smartphone, so I was pretty excited. After all, for the past four years, I’ve been hearing about how WONDERFUL smartphones are, how many awesome apps they have, how they’ll make my life so much easier and everything more convenient, and how some people really do suffer from iPhone addiction because these phones are so freaking amazing.

I’ve now had the phone for a couple of weeks – and so far, I remain underwhelmed.

The first thing I did was go to the app store and look at the top 25 apps to see if any of them would be useful for me. The list of top free apps currently looks like this:

  1. ArcheryWorldCup
  2. Very Hungry Cat
  3. Modern War
  4. Voxer Walkie-Talkie
  5. Office Jerk
  6. Tap Zoo 2: World Tour
  7. Hangman
  8. Pictorial
  9. Tap Fish Seasons
  10. Tap Ranch 2

…ooookay, I’m not really interested in games, but maybe I’ll find useful stuff among the top paid apps.

Or not:

  2. Angry Birds Seasons
  3. Angry Birds
  4. Camera+
  5. Fruit Ninja
  6. Amazing Breaker
  7. Flick Kick Field Goal
  8. TurboScan <— (this could be promising. It turns your phone into a scanner)
  9. WhatsApp Messenger
  10. Infinity Blade II

A full 90% of the most popular apps seem to be games – hence the title of this post.

Let’s get to the phone’s other aspects:

Access to e-mail on the phone – Here’s the thing: I’m never away from my computer for more than 5-6 hours at a time, and I don’t think I’ve ever received an e-mail that couldn’t wait that long for me to see it. What ends up happening is I check my e-mail on the phone, read the new messages… and decide to wait till I’m back in front of my keyboard to reply, because I don’t have the patience to tap out a response on the little phone keyboard, whose AutoCorrect always wants to change “Obrigada!” to “Intifada!”

Facebook and Twitter on my phone – In my 27 years of life to date, I have not yet encountered a situation in which I’ve thought “OMG, I wish I had a smartphone so that I could post [whatever’s happening] to Facebook/Twitter RIGHT THIS SECOND!!!” – and I suspect owning an iPhone will not change that.

Anything location-related – Using the phone to find restaurants/pharmacies/banks/whatever in my area is moot since many businesses in Salvador aren’t on Google maps or don’t have websites. If I find myself in desperate need of a pharmacy or bank or directions, I’ve always just asked somebody on the street… and it’s never gone wrong.

To-do list and productivity apps – Although I do have a lot going on, my life just doesn’t seem to be complicated enough to warrant multi-level to-do lists with tags and audio files and multiple calendars and reminder alarms that sync with my computer. Honestly, I’d waste more time and mental energy simply trying to remember to input everything into the program.

Using the phone to amuse myself during my commute – I’m reluctant to use the iPhone at all in public, because even these “old” models are still selling for R$700 used and R$1200 new in Brazil – and I don’t particularly want to flaunt that kind of cash on public transportation.

There are a few things I do like about the iPhone:

  • The touchscreen – it’s still a novelty to me  🙂
  • Having the phone also be a camera and iPod is handy – so I can carry 1 device rather than 3
  • The speakers are good enough that I can store mp3s in English for my one-on-one students to listen to (meaning I don’t have to lug my netbook to class or burn a CD)
  • The Kindle app enables me to read books while I wait for students who are late to class, or on line in the bank, etc.

My verdict?

I like it. But until they invent an app that makes Salvador’s rush hour traffic go 70% faster or changes my R$50 bill into ten R$5 bills, I don’t think I stand a chance of becoming an addict.