I’m in the midst of an epic quest to find the best new cellphone for my needs and price point, as dorky as that sounds, and have taken a whole lot of interest in the latest apps and gadgets coming out of the tech world. Whether I end up with something more savvy than my good old Samsung slider (that I have a habit of leaving on silent for prolonged periods of time) remains to be seen, but it’s fun to poke around for cool stuff.
Palm recently released it’s rival to the iPhone, the Pre, to rave reviews, except for the whole Sprint thing (Verizon says it’ll offer Pres, too, within six months). Apple is meanwhile in the middle of it’s annual conference and generating a lot of buzz, including rumors about new iPhone features (I had also heard talk of a whole new iPhone, but that doesn’t seem to be likely as yet). But what really gets me going in this article from PC World is one of iPhone newest tricks: a homing beacon!
Okay, that’s not exactly true. But it’s pretty close. A way for you to find your cell phone if it’s lost or misplaced, whether across town or in the coach cushions:
Available only to MobileMe subscribers, Find My iPhone allows you to locate your handset should you misplace it. You access the service via MobileMe’s Web interface, at which point you have several options. Firstly, the Web page can tell you the location of your iPhone, using the unit’s built-in location services, letting you know if you left your phone in the movie theater last night, or in the back of that cab.You can also send a message to your iPhone, along with an alert sound that plays even if the phone’s ringer is off. This can help in situations where the GPS location doesn’t: for example, if you’ve misplaced the iPhone somewhere in your house. The chime can be played repeatedly, enabling you to easily track down the phone.
Finally, if the phone is lost for good, or contains sensitive information, you can also opt to remotely wipe all data from your phone: contacts, mail, music, photos, etc. And of course, should you then locate your phone, all you need to do is plug your iPhone back into your computer, and you can restore from the latest backup.
Obviously I don’t know a whole lot about cell phone technology, but isn’t this probably technology that already exists in all of our phones? A lo-jack-esque sort of wave length that can find your gadget wherever it is? It’s exciting, but obvious. Hopefully in the future all cell phones will be equipped with something similar — and for not an outrageous sum of money, on top of the small mortgage payment you put down for your iPhone in the first place and then each month for service (right now you can get a sixty day free trial of Apple’s MobileMe, and then pay $99 for a year of service — not terrible, but sort of additionally painful to the wallet).
I’m also inclined to think that if you have an iPhone you are less likely to lose it than I am to lose my crappy Samsung slider, but that’s just a guess. On the other hand if you did have the bad luck to lose your iPhone you would be a whole lot more screwed than I am.
Sidenote: iChe (registered trademark) is the name Dave and I have patented for our ultra-cool Millenial company, which markets to ultra-cool Millenials who love all things that begin with a lowercase “i” and are in some way connected to that ultra-cool revolutionary, Che Guevara. iChe encapsulates the moment.