For all the iPhone users out there: You probably know you can take a snapshot of whatever you see on your screen:
Briefly press the top and front buttons at the same time.
The screen will flash white and you’ll hear a “snapshot” sound.
A picture of your screen is now in your iPhone “Photos”.
I’ve found it extremely helpful to make screenshots, and I do it all the time. Here are a few reasons:
Remember an Interesting Part of a Podcast
If I’m driving and hear something I like in a podcast, I make a quick screenshot of the playback screen. When I get back to my computer, I can return to that spot in the podcast and take notes.
Save a Point on a Map
Sometimes I want to “bookmark” a location on the map before looking up something else. A screenshot is a fast way to do this.
Save a Website Address Without Interrupting Your Reading
Sometimes when I’m reading in Google Reader, I want to save the location of an article to read later. (I don’t want to leave Google Reader immediately because it has to entirely reload when I return.)
If you hold your finger on a link for a few seconds, a menu will popup with the address of the link. Sometimes I simply save a screenshot of the link, then hit Cancel and go back to my reading. Later I read the items I saved in my screenshots.
Screenshots can help you practice “ubiquitous capture” — capturing all notes, thoughts, and ideas, as they come to you, so you don’t have to keep them in your head.
For podcasters and their advertisers, tracking the size of a podcast’s audience is sticky. You can track how many people download a podcast, but who knows if they actually listened to it?
iTunes is the #1 podcasting client (57% market share last year), and additional podcatchers push podcasts into iTunes, so much of the data about podcast listenership can be found in iTunes. Advertisers just need a way to get to it.
I recently commented to Phil Windley that perhaps the iTunes XML file could be mined for listenership data. iTunes exports an XML file that contains a rating, play count, last played date, and last skip date for every song and podcast. This would be extremely valuable information for advertisers.
Earlier this month my brother, father, and I went to Macworld in San Francisco, waking up at 4:00 AM on Tuesday to get into Steve Jobs’s keynote. We were amazed by the iPhone — definitely under the influence of Steve’s Reality Distortion Field. It wasn’t until the Cingular CEO took the stage (snore) that I realized how tired and hungry I was.
During the keynote, I was especially impressed by the idea of developing applications for the iPhone since it runs Mac OS X. Turns out that will not be a possibility; the phone is locked from outside developers.
There are two kinds of customer lock-in: by the company or by the customer. (Who holds the knob of the one-knobbed door.)
Some companies lock in customers with contracts, cancellation fees, and being difficult to work with — mobile phone companies, cable TV companies, 1and1.com, and Tivo.
Other companies lock in customers by building phenomenal products and platforms, fostering great communities, and inspiring loyalty (even evangelism) — Apple, WordPress, Bluehost.com. Customers don’t want to leave companies like these; they lock themselves in.
At $500-600, I’m not convinced a locked-down iPhone is right for me. (Maybe.) But if I had the ability to develop applications for an always-on, Internet-connected device, I’d lock myself in.
Bonus: This Nightline video covers the announcement of the iPhone, including an exclusive with Steve Jobs. From :37 to :40 (or 5:16 to 5:13) you can see my father walking along 4th Street early Tuesday morning while my brother and I waited in line. (He brought us back Denny’s.)