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Product Reviews: Apple iPhone

Even when you work from home, a lot of your working time may be spent away from home visiting clients, doing research and sometimes, just needing to pack up your "office" and go to an Internet café or library so that you can get away from the noise and distractions that working from home can deliver.

My husband and I recently had to upgrade our mobile phones—per the agreement of our mobile phone contract, it was time to renew and we were eligible for new phones. Given that we also both needed greater capabilities and speed than our old phones delivered, we ended up upgrading to the iPhone. Having friends who already had the iPhone, we already knew the pros and cons of having them and decided that the pros outweighed any con. For me, as the work-at-home professional in the family, this was especially so when it came to the free business and productivity apps.

Files Lite
Files Lite is a great application for when you need to take your essential files with you. The free Files Lite application allows 200 MB of storage, which in most cases is probably adequate for mobile projects. It allows you to store and view most Mac and PC documents including Word®, Excel®, Powerpoint®, PDF, image, text, html and multimedia files through WiFi or a WebDAV protocol. From your main computer, you have to download software that enables you to transfer your files easily to and from your iPhone either by the USB cable or wirelessly. The only drawback is that at least with the free version, once the files are on your iPhone, you cannot make further changes to them. However, if you are going on a site visit with a client or customer, giving a presentation, or want to have certain files always at your fingertips (such as a resume, bio or head shot) without having to also carry extra thumb drives and your destination has computers there, you are all set. 

iTimeSheet Lite
This application is perfect for helping you keep track of billable time without having to constantly glance at the clock. It is simple, quick and the data can be exported to your primary computer for easy billing. Simply enter the project name, the date and hit "start" when you begin and "end" when you are finished.  iTimeSheet Lite eliminates the need for writing sketchy notes on pieces of paper or in small notebooks that can get lost (or destroyed easily if you have little ones about). 

MiLog Lite
We have all probably experienced this scenario: you're heading on a site visit, and half-way there, you realize that you forgot to reset the trip meter on your odometer. "That's not a big deal," you tell yourself. "I'll reset it when I arrive and double the distance on my mileage log when I get back to the home-office," you continue and put it out of your mind. Sure, you will. After a three-hour meeting and being concerned about traffic and the change in the weather, the last thing you're thinking about is the odometer. Then there are the unavoidable "what ifs" of driving—construction rerouting you or back-ups and delays making you take an alternate route from the one presented by MapQuest or for your own piece of mind to not  just sit in traffic and brood. Enter MiLog Lite, which allows you to set your trip information including date, time of day, distance (by as exact as tenths of a unit), and miles or kilometers. You can even enable parking, which vehicle is being used if you use more than one, tolls, and other driving-related issues that you may need or want to report. Use it for any of your business-related driving—including to the bank, post-office, trips to pick up supplies—as well as for those client site visits and presentations.

The AroundMe app is perfect for when you are visiting an area that you are unfamiliar with. Using GPS, based upon your location, it can tell you where the gas stations, eateries, banks, hospitals and other attractions and amenities are in the area. AroundMe is perfect for business-related and personal on-the-go travel information.

This has become, by far, one of my favorite task managers. The free version of the Nozbe app allows you to store up to five projects. You can list them by priority, create deadlines, first-actions, include notes and much more. When you check off a completed action, that action is automatically removed from your main list and placed in the "completed actions" category. Instead of having a "to-do" list that starts to be overwhelming, Nozbe allows you to compartmentalize your "to-dos" and prioritize each action item. You can even create contexts—such as a task for the computer, for home, for work and so forth. More projects can be managed (beyond the five permitted with the free version), along with synchronization options by purchasing the full version.

All of the iPhone apps listed above are free, but have fee-based options for more enhanced capabilities. Depending upon your needs, however, the free version may be sufficient at first—at the very least they are worth it for a test drive. All of these apps can be downloaded from the iPhone appstore.

Disclaimer: The above reviews are unbiased reviews. In no way am I connected to Apple or any of the external developers that have created the iPhone apps mentioned in this review. I have received neither compensation nor promotional materials for reviewing these products and services.

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