I remember the day I looked around the crowded rush hour train and realized that 90% of the usually miserable commuters were blithely swaying to music from white earbuds cascading down the front of their black pea coats. The iPod takeover. Now, everyone and their mother has an iPhone. In fact, I think I got my grandmother hooked on Plants Vs. Zombies. Hey Nana, can I have my phone back now? No? Okay.
Seriously though, smartphones are everywhere! Maybe I just notice more iPhones because I have one, but I can decidedly say that NYC has iPhone fever. From the Brooklyn bodega owner to the woman on Central Park West with her teeny tiny dog (you sure that's not a rat with a collar, lady?) to the Wall Street suits and the aspiring Broadway stars currently waiting tables at Ellen's Stardust Diner, the iPhone has become an extension of their arm. This is a welcome takeover, of course. If everyone has an iPhone, it makes sharing contact information with the Bump app so much easier.
I'm sure everyone will agree with me that the current iPhone's battery life leaves something to be desired, especially in a city where users are constantly checking into locations. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes just to check in on Foursquare, Gowalla and BrightKite. As a side note, the whole "checking in" thing is getting a little a out of hand, but I'll discuss that later. We are all hoping for a battery life tune-up on the iPhone 4G so we can continue to bury our faces in our iPhones as life whizzes past us. New Yorkers have a hard time pulling themselves away even while crossing busy Manhattan streets. I am guilty of this myself and have also witnessed an iHipster almost getting sideswiped by a taxi while he tapped and swiped away, though he seemed to be most upset about the speeding cab ruffling his handlebar mustache, and not that it almost killed him.
I have to side with God - oops, I mean Oprah - here and say no to texting while driving. Since New Yorkers don't drive, I actually mean no to texting - and iPhoneing in general - while strolling into oncoming traffic. That means you, dude reading Infinite Jest on your Amazon Kindle app. Have you ever really looked at the back of an NYC taxi? They say "We break for NOBODY." True story.
The constantly growing number of apps in the App Store is staggering and it can be daunting to sift through them and find ones that are suited to your interests and location. Here are my top three of the moment:
If you are Twitter-savvy, Tweetie 2 is the only client you need. (Editor's Note: Unless, like me, you prefer Tweet Deck because it's better - NK). The pull-down refresh-timeline option is my favorite feature mostly because of its adorable popping sound (I'm easily amused), but it also loads every tweet you missed so you can read them offline. Joy! You know how you get excited when you have a new @ reply or DM? Tweetie 2 lets you know about those right away with a fancy little blue light under each column. Like the web version of Twitter, the Tweetie 2 update has implemented the ubiquitously disliked new RT feature, making it impossible to comment on a retweet without using the awkward "Quote Tweet." That aside, Tweetie 2 is the best Twitter client I've seen so far (Editor's Note: Except for Tweet Deck, which lets you use the ubiquitously more-liked old-style RT feature, thus making it better - NK).
Plants Vs. Zombies
Popcap really does such a great job with their games. Inspired art, bright colors, excellent music and challenging gameplay make this my favorite addiction of the moment. Using sunshine to grow plants, you must choose which seed to plant in your yard or pool. That seed will become a weapon and ward off the zombies trying to eat your brain. I have wasted hours of my life on this game. No regrets.
Time Out New York
An iPhone OS version of the popular guide to the city magazine, this is one of the most well-developed apps I've seen. Search Music/Nightlife, Arts, Eat, Drink, or Free & Cheap and you'll find a thorough and comprehensive list of places to go and things to do arranged by neighborhood. My friend Jessie wanted to grab a drink in Chelsea last night and I used the app to scope out the perfect place. I ended up choosing the Rye House, a critics' pick, described as "a dark, sultry bar with emphasis on American spirits." In this case, "dark" was the keyword I was looking for since Jessie is like ten times hotter than I am.