Whenever I travel, I try to pack as lightly as possible. Despite this, there’s key items that cannot be left behind. I will need a laptop to read and respond to e-mails, a phone, some form of handheld gaming (usually a DS), and of course, an iPod. The iPod I usually use for travel is a 5th gen iPod video, the battery life is great and although the screen is small, it’s fine for catching up on a TV episode or two. It’s not all entertainment either, if I I’m travelling to France, Germany or Spain, then I’ll refresh my language skills (which are weak at best) with audio lessons. I’ll also need the relevant chargers and cables to keep this mini-branch of Dixons powered up for a few days. At least, that’s what I used to travel with before the iPhone emerged.
On a recent pre-Christmas city break I decided to only bring my iPhone. Contained in this svelte device was enough functionality to replace all of the above, except it is now trouserable. Not only had this single device matched the functionality of all of the above, but it far exceeded it. I was able to use the GPS to find and guide me to a local (but quite well hidden) museum, I could identify the best restaurants in the area while out and about, I could take pictures and e-mail them out immediately for response, the list went on. I also sometimes take a mini-disc player to record a soundscape of the city I’m in, again, another device that can now be left behind thanks to apps like SpeakEasy or other audio recorders on the iPhone.
The iPhone wasn’t just useful in a mobile context either. Back in the hotel I received an e-mail which required me to write a reasonably lengthy letter. Whilst this is not as good as typing on a laptop, the EasyWriter app allowed me to use the iPhone in a horizontal aspect (making the virtual keys larger), and writing the document wasn’t too much of a burden.
I was hugely impressed with travelling with only an iPhone, I know this because not once did I long for any of the other hardware that I usually pack. Netbooks, who needs them?