iPhone 2.0 Software Update: The first anniversary couldn’t be sweeter

So, I had the privilege of being an iPhone 2.0 Enterprise Beta software tester and have been using it for several months but finally get to talk about it. So I will.

With Exchange ActiveSync built in and MobileMe now live, this little update gives me all I need to stay connected on the go. Throw in the App Store and the iPhone now has all the features I could ever want, and if there’s a new need, I can grab the app that meets it best.

My configuration is probably unique but worth sharing. Hopefully, it might help a few out there as well.

First, I have my work email pushed and synced to my iPhone. I do not sync my work calendar or contacts directly to the iPhone. Why? Well, partly because our contact directory doesn’t have phone numbers just emails. The emails still auto-populate if you sync Exchange mail anyway so it isn’t needed. I don’t sync my Exchange calendar directly either because I like to use iCal because it allows for multiple calendars where Exchange does not.

So how do I get my work calendar on my iPhone so I can manage my work life? I use Entourage, the Mac version of Outlook to auto-sync my calendar to iCal. Enter MobileMe. MobileMe then pushes my MobileMe email, contacts, bookmarks, and calendars to my phone, including my work calendar, personal calendar, and birthdays. Pretty sweet and color-coded for easy viewing. iCal and MobileMe also syncs my contacts with my Gmail account. It really doesn’t get any sweeter.

But it does with the App Store. This little gem changes the entire game of mobile apps. Many of them are free, many are free and overly simple, some are modestly priced (less than $5.00) and do great things, and many games are $9.99. Some are awesome but more expensive. Regardless, there is something for everyone and plenty to stay entertained with for hours or to assist with everyday life. If you haven’t checked it out, be sure to update your iTunes to version 7.7 and browse the store. New apps are being added daily and I can’t wait to see what comes out in the next few months.

What have I downloaded?

  • Remote – to control iTunes and my AppleTV using my iPhone – amazing!
  • AIM – no need to send an SMS and wonder if they get it, I can just drop them a quick IM.
  • BofA – Bank of America – it’s a native app of their web app. Still very useful.
  • Epocrates Rx – Look up any prescription, with pill ID, pictures, dosing, indications, warnings, etc.
  • Google – searching made even easier with options and suggestions for you to find stuff fast.
  • Light – it’s an app with a white background… in case you’re in a dark place and need to see.
  • Mobile News – Associated Press news from all news sections, even local news.
  • Movies.app – Want to see a movie? Get theaters, showtimes, tickets, reviews, descriptions, and trailers quickly and easily.
  • Shazam – Hear a song and don’t know what it is? This takes a recording and will ID most any song. If it’s in the iTunes store it will even link to it for you to preview and buy.
  • Save Benjis – Easily lookup product prices across the internet for the cheapest deal. Makes in-store price checking that much easier.
The best part, all of those are free and very useful to me. Some others that are free that I tried are eBay, Paypal, Currency, and Jirbo.
I did drop a few dollars on a few games that are extremely fun:
  • Battle at Sea – Battleship you can play wirelessly with another user on the same network or against the computer.
  • Enigmo –  A problem-solving game of fluid dynamics. Very fun and addictive.
  • Scrabble – Single player vs. CPU or Pass-and-play with another user.
  • Super Monkey Ball – Very fun, addictive, and a little hard to control.
  • Cro-Mag Rally – 3-D cavemen rally style racing. Think Flintstones and Mario Kart.
Go check them out yourself, and if you haven’t upgraded to the new software, hurry up. You’re missing out!
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