What’s On (My) iPhone- Daniel Ortiz Edition

On August 27, 2008

I’m not only the newest member of the WhatsOniPhone team but I am also the youngest.

We all love our iPhones but depending on our stage in life our needs are going to be different. As a result, the apps we use most will (likely) be different too.

Dan’s been writing about what’s on his iPhone and focusing on the apps he uses most.

I thought I would do the same…

So, What’s On (My) iPhone?…



Timeless and addictive games like Tris, whose colorful blocks spared me from boredom during the 30-minute break my summer job allowed each day are only gently touching upon the surface of what the App Store has to offer for 16-year-olds such as myself.

School is an intricate part of my life, so, naturally, I carry it around on my iPhone.  I schedule tests on my iPhone.  Whenever I need to research something, I look it up on my iPhone.  I manage my class’s Facebook group on my iPhone.  I call up my friends for help on homework… on my iPhone.  I check my grades on—guess what?—that’s right: my iPhone.  It was only a matter of time before I would actually do some of the learning on my iPhone, as well..

Now I find myself downloading apps that seem to promise a quick, painless learning experience using the iPhone’s innovative design and taking advantage of the speaker and advanced touchscreen to create an effective learning experience.

Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook

On the verge of having one too many classes (8) in my school schedule, I was unable to take Mandarin as a second foreign language class.  As my everyday life is centered around much of my iPhone’s functions, I turned to the App Store for a solution to my Mandarin-less problem.

I am always looking for free apps, as the less I have to pay  for a useful and/or entertaining app, the more my high school budget and me benefit.  My attention was immediately drawn to the Lonely Planet Phrasebooks, which offer ten different languages, including Czech, Italian, French, Mandarin, Spanish and many others.  Through some divine intervention, I scrolled through the Lonely Planet Phrasebooks to find the one I had been looking for: Mandarin. And, best of all, it was free.

The native Mandarin speaker that would vocalize whenever I touched upon a phrase assured me that I would be learning how to pronounce the phrases right, if I ever need to use them in a real-life situation.  Of course, the phrasebook has all types of scenarios covered, just in case you ever need to tell a Chinese person “I feel like going to a party,” or a thief to “Go away!”

Risking getting scolded at by my parents, I take this phrasebook everywhere, and turn on the speaker at full volume, to repeat whatever the voice says, including at the dinner table.  Now I know how to ask my mom what that breathing green food she made is in Mandarin, “Nà shì shénme?”   

Overall, Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook is a very useful app that has taught me how to survive in the city if I ever visit China by letting me choose phrases I want to know according to my needs. 

Definitely an application for those who love to travel, or students like me, who enjoy learning or need premade sentences for their Mandarin homework.  The application has worked very effectively thus far, and can only assume that if the other languages are presented in the same manner that Mandarin is presented, then they are one-hundred percent worth the $9.99 they ask for. 

I can’t think of any other apps that are as efficient in real life as the developer dictates they are. They’re simple and intuitive, not to mention educational, which makes the apps a perfect fit on my iPhone.