The iPhone is a truly innovative communication tool. Since buying it on Saturday, I have been amazed by its capabilities and great design. On a hike in the Catskills on Sunday, my fiancee mentioned that she thought I should blog about iPhone. At first, it didn't seem relevant to energy ... but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that iPhone can potentially save energy and help people reduce their energy footprint.
Here's what I'm thinking ...
iPhone can be charged by the sun
I have blogged about an awesome little solar charger before ... and it dawned on me that - if someone wanted to - the iPhone could be run exclusively from solar power via a charger like the Solio. While it may not be practical to run iPhone off sun power, it nevertheless exists as a possibility and that's what is important. Small solar chargers are going to continue to become more popular and have more impact on our lives. That's a good thing.
iPhone saves paper
iPhone is tightly integrated with the Internet and, in particular, with Google Maps (a wonderfully useful tool in its own right). Whenever I'm about to embark on a road trip to a new location, I usually punch up directions in Google Maps and then print those directions out. About 3 out of every 4 times, the directions print out on 2 pages when 1 would have seemed sufficient. This must be due to the fact that the web page does not translate well to print. Anyway, iPhone eliminates the need to print out directions since you can view them - step by step - on the phone. Hell, you don't even need to deal with punching up directions on your computer at all, since iPhone can access the Internet from anywhere over the Edge network. If my calculations are correct, iPhone could save a billion pieces of paper per year. Then again, I haven't done any calculations, so take that with a grain of salt.
iPhone's map feature saves fuel
Speaking of how the maps saves paper, it also saves fuel. Armed with the hard copy directions, you still invariably find yourself lost when traveling in your car. Now that you can punch up an address and get directions with iPhone ... you will get where you're going quicker. Less time on the road means more gas in the tank. Really, iPhone is this good.
iPhone helps you avoid parking lots
And by parking lots, I mean the kind that form around rush hour on interstates and highways. The map widget (application-?) - whatever you call it - has this neat button that looks like a car. After you punch in your location to get directions, you can tap the car to get real-time (remember, you're networked to the www) updates on traffic. How useful is that? Not only will this save you from the horror that is the highway traffic jam, it will save gas, too. Just ask BankRate.
iPhone reduces computer time
I'm already spending less time in front of my laptop at home ... because of the iPhone. For quick hits like checking email or checking scores or getting quick directions, the iPhone delivers. Which means I no longer need my computer for those things. Which means my computer will not be sucking down watts (I never keep the computer running unless I'm working in front of it.)
So there you have it. In just a matter of hours, the iPhone has already contributed to a reduction in my energy use/footprint. I'm sure as I get more comfortable with it, I will uncover additional tricks that lead to energy savings. Thanks, iPhone!