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The twelve days of iPhone apps: Turning your phone into a real estate agent’s pocket powerhouse

All right: So: Let’s start in the middle.

First, we have four cell phones among the two of us. We have the two spares in case we need to put a phone in the pocket of a subcontractor. We keep a close eye on the folks who work with us, but we don’t ever want for our people to be without a lifeline.

Even so, the phones we actually use are the iPhones. It seems plausible to me that I may add a Droid and a Pre in 2010, both of them to keep any eye on what else can be done. But the iPhone app universe is exploding like the universe of time, space, mass and energy, and it seems reasonable to me that that the iPhone will be driving cell phone/pocket computer/etc. innovation for the foreseeable future.

Just in recent days, the appworld has added live video streaming and real-time credit card processing, and my thinking is that there are a lot of as yet undisclosed tricks in the iPhone developers’ APIs. In other words, I suspect that Apple has been holding back on the iPhone’s feature set to kill competitive features as they’re aborning, nipping every supposed incipient iPhone-killer in the bud.

I realized last night that I want for my laptop (a MacBook Pro) and my desktop computer (an iMac) to be the same one computer. Does that make sense? I want for those two computers to be cloned and continuously-syncing instances of the same one database of files. And I want for my iPhone to be a moon of that doubled planetary system.

This is singularity thinking: One way that human beings could leap to the next level of our evolution is by moving into computing hardware. The philosophy of all this is brain-breaking: Hardware geeks insist that the human mind must be a finite-state machine, while everyone with an introspective consciousness acts reflexively upon a seemingly undoubted belief in free will.

That’s a problem we’ll have to deal with on the way to the singularity. Meanwhile, a software instance of “you” could be cloned to live on as many hardware devices as you could afford — in many different locations. Syncing your multiple selves would have to overcome propagation issues, but in exchange you will have achieved a practical immortality: To kill you would entail killing every instance of “you.”

That’s what I want for my everyday working computers. It’s possible that cloud-based datasets will address this issue for me, for now, by other means. If so, then every computing device would become a de facto terminal for dealing with files stored in the cloud.

Meanwhile, back in the here and now, I’ve been trying to reorganize the way I deal with my iPhone. At first, I tried very hard to limit the number of apps I downloaded. Cathleen is a sucker for every skeezy piece of software out there — with the result that, eventually, all of her desktop machines die the grinding death of skeezy sclerosis. But I’m always about mission-critical. And in the case of the iPhone, I wanted to limit the amount of dicking around I had to do with multiple screens full of apps.

And that’s a strategy that works better in the abstract. Even with the most ruthless, most Spartan kind of app-management, I still ended up with six pages of crap. But starting with iTunes 9, you can reorganize your apps within iTunes, on the desktop, with your new arrangement being written out to the phone when you sync.

In consequence, as of last night, I have embarked on a new strategy. I set up twelve pages in iTunes, one for each general category of apps I’m using. I plan to go through these pages, one by one, and figure out which apps I’m really using, eliminating the others. Eventually, if I can get some categories down to fewer than eight apps each, I may consolidate some pages.

These are the categories I’ve chosen:

  • Page One
  • Utilities
  • Task Management
  • Real Estate
  • Navigation
  • Communication
  • Blogging and Social Media
  • Shopping
  • Reference and Literature
  • News, Video and Radio
  • Fitness
  • Games

I’m not sure these are right. If you’re convinced I’m wrong, now would be a good time to speak up.

I’ll be going through all this in public, in any case. If you have suggestions as we deal with each category, I’m all ears. I do a boat load of work on my iPhone, and my goal is to deal with every mission-critical job in real estate brokerage from my phone. I’ll still build signs and flyers on my iMac, but I want to be able to handle anything that involves direct client contact from anywhere I happen to be, all without schlepping a laptop.

And: Now that I have twelve pages of apps to deal with, I would be very grateful if I could name those pages from within iTunes, then have a pop-up menu on the iPhone screen for ease of navigation. This is an innovation to watch for, I expect.

Anyway, I’ll start playing in earnest tomorrow. If you have suggestions — apps you love or category ideas — I’m all ears.

Related posts:
  • If you thought the iPhone rocked, just wait for the iPhone 2.0
  • Motorola Droid: First Impressions
  • Giving up the iPhone for the Droid?


    3 Comments so far

    1. Ashlee December 11th, 2009 8:04 pm

      I can honestly say that I would die without my iphone. It just seems to keep me going! I have so many apps on there that I need to go thru mine also and find out which ones are just taking up space!

    2. Brad Coy December 12th, 2009 12:40 am

      I’m with you on this… and a lot of your needs are similar to mine. For now, take a look at a few apps that I’ve been paying close attention to. for task management. It’s actually not an app, but it plays real nice on the iPhone and with Gmail and Gcal. ReelDirector is like having iMovie in your 3GS. Now with audio. Dropbox is becoming a must for me. Especially now that I have a MacMini in my office. The app is killer Much, much more to share.