This is a continuation of my introduction for Apple Newbies or people just thinking about switching over to using the ubiquitous iPhone. In Part 1, I covered to never lose your contacts on your phone, the many uses of an iPhone thru the numerous apps available. In Part 2 ? I discussed the option of Jailbreaking to get more of your iPhone. For this post, I will discuss on how the iPhone can help you keep in touch with friends for free (The premise is that your iPhone must be subscribed to some sort of data plan or use wi-fi)
The iPhone is essentially a really handy computer with programs written specifically for it ? called Apps. These apps allow the phone to be anything you want it to be. I will be covering some of the Messaging apps that make the iPhone the diverse, helpful, and addictive tool that it has become.
The iPhone as a Messaging device
Forget SMS. It is old technology. There is a word count limit and sending photos and videos via MMS is costly and cumbersome and there is also a limit to the size of the file you can send. SMS and MMS messages are also tied to 1 number so if you change a phone (i.e. when you are travelling) you messages don’t get to you.
Today?s smartphones like the iPhone comes with a plethora of messaging apps ready. Firstly there is iMessages – the native messaging system that sends your messages to other iPhone users. Then its followed by the popular Whatsapp ($0.99) ? this nifty messenger lets you register the app to a phone number, searches your address book for other registered users and places them on your favorite list so you can start messaging friends. It allows you to send photos and 45 second videos to friends or Groups. It also lets you share your location or send voice messages (when you cannot type)
All these Apps use data to transmit, if you keep to just chatting, they won?t hog your data. Since they are registered to your phone number or log-in name, you can continue to chat if you switch SIM cards. For that matter, you can continue to chat if you have no SIM cards (Via wifi) or via another iPhone or iPad.
If you are old school and choose to keep with the traditional Internet Messaging (IM) Device, traditional services like MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk, Facebook, and Skype have free native apps that you can download on the iPhone. Alternatively, quite a few apps combine them into one single app. Popular IM clients include IM+, Beejive, eBuddy which all combine the popular Messengers in to 1 app for you to constantly keep in touch with your friends. Most will offer additional features like sending photos, videos, voice and location.
A new age of connectivity
Again, it is the apps that have changed the way we do things. I use Whatsapp, KIK, and Line Messenger to keep in touch with friends. If one of these services get flacky, I just switch to another.
At the same time, while I am away from my desk, I use BeeJive to get my MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk Messages on my iPhone.
The good news is ? I am always contactable. Alternatively, the bad news is ? I am always contactable. Thus, I have learnt to keep conversations short and avoid chitchat unless I want it.
Weighing all the pros and cons of Messaging, I would say that using the iPhone to keep in contact with friends and family has been a good thing.