James Coleman (blog) is a friend and local with me here in Orange County. James is owner and founder of TechRoom, an Orange County California based technology service business that has expertise in both Windows and Mac, and is also an Apple Authorized Service Provider. I first learned of James when an Apple Genius told me to take my sick Mac to his shop. So James, show us your home screen.
What are some of favorite apps?
My favorite apps are either really innovative and solve some major problem for me or are well designed, or sometimes both. The absolute best ones are rock-solid services that integrate forward for the iPhone owner via a well-designed app. Box.com comes to mind. I use Box.com’s Enterprise service for business, and also for personal use. Box.com as a tool is part of my paperless strategy. Their app on the iPhone and iPad is great, and the app ensures that my iPhone is my portal to all my documents from anywhere in the world.
I’m an Omnifocus junkie. To me it’s probably the best app on the iPhone, period. I could live without everything else, but I won’t go a day without Omnifocus. I have a lot on my plate being a husband, a father, a business owner and an entrepreneur (mostly in that order). I get a lot out of the app because I spent a lot of time getting my personal operating model in order (years). In fact, once I really experienced the actual yield of time and effectiveness back to my personal life, I spent a few months crafting a game plan to use Omnifocus as a business development and business management tool. I tried Salesforce.com out but their system forced me to do things their way, and it didn’t integrate with anything else.
I really dig Line2. When I’m in the US, it means I have two phone numbers on my iPhone, so I don’t ever have to worry about personal versus business. And when I’m over in Japan – like I am right now as I write this - my US iPhone rings right through onto my Japanese iPhone, even if I’m on 3G, and the voice quality is awesome. The interface could be better, but Line2 got the back end network right. For $10/month, it’s a really awesome service made possible by the app.
I love Wikiamo. I’m old enough to remember sitting for hours in front of my dad’s Encyclopedia Brittanica, and spending my summers in libraries going from aisle to aisle, connecting dots as one book triggered interest in another topic. Now I can look up almost anything via Wikipedia, and Wikiamo is a great, super clean interface.
Which app is your guilty pleasure?
I had to think about this question quite a while. Every time I discover a really amazing new app, I keep telling myself it’s good living in the future. I’m still waiting for my RocketMan jetpack and self-driving car, but I’ll take what I can get.
My guilty pleasure is my Japanese app. During my undergraduate degree I carried around a Kanji dictionary that must have weighed two pounds. It was a huge hardback book designed to help you look up characters by their parts (called radicals). The electronic versions were really useless to me, being a foreigner without a Japanese background. Now I have Japanese, which is awesome in that I can handwrite characters and it will automatically look them up. I went from a two pound book to about 200 megabytes. Isn’t it great living in the future?
What is the app you are still missing?
What I think I’m missing is a really good image recognition app that would provide a similar functionality to Google’s “search by image” capability. It would be awesome to integrate that kind of capability into an app like Wikiamo. In fact, yesterday I was having trouble with one Kanji and it would have been great to take a picture of it and have it return a hit for me. The various Goggles apps out there currently don’t do a good job of this.
What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?
I really like the form factor. I’ve decided I’m not getting cases anymore. Apple did a great job engineering the iPhone 5 well enough to take a reasonable level of daily use, including the occasional small slip and drop. I do use a screen protector, because it’s still too susceptible to scratches. My next favorite feature, as small as it is, is the reversible lightning port. Imagine how many millions of hours of time have been spent fussing with cables because the inventors of the USB 2 and 3 ports didn’t execute on a little detail like that.
If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?
The absolute first thing that comes to mind is a data restoration verification. I think there should be a higher level of accountability for iCloud backups.
I want a display that has the same durability of sapphire crystal. I think a touchscreen with the same resistance to scratches as my Omega Seamaster would rock. The current display scratches way too easily. To me, this is a major weakness of the iPhone, including the 5.
I would get rid of AppleCare+ and simply do what Bose does exceedingly well: Offer the customer a replacement and upgrade program for the life of the phone without having to buy an option to replace.
I would leverage Apple’s power in the market to influence its channel of cell phone service companies to stop some ridiculous and often punitive practices. For example, even though the new Verizon version of the iPhone 5 is unlocked and referred to as a “world phone”, some cell phone companies Apple does business with pretty much ruin any chance of the consumer benefiting from it.