By Amber Avalona-Butler/ParaglideJuly 9, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - United States Soldiers are the ultimate globetrotters of the 21st century. Balancing work, Family and everything in-between, is a breeze thanks to Apple's invention of the iPhone - a digital hybrid that takes cellular service and Internet use to the next level. Now boasting over 10,000 selections, iPhone applications (better known as apps) turn mobile devices into powerhouses of information offering everything from workout routines to mortgage rate calculators.
Customize your iPhone with these apps, and take your armed forces career to the next level.
US Army News and Information (free)
Enjoy unlimited iPhone access to the official homepage of the United States Army with this noteworthy app. Browse Army.mil news, photos, and videos or enjoy the digital edition of Soldiers Magazine. Extra features include descriptions of Army ranks, a patriotic rendition of the Army song, uniform photographs and weaponry profiles.
Army Survival ($1.99)
Surviving a wilderness or crisis situation requires stamina, skill, and a broad base of knowledge. Army Survival by Double Dog Studios turns city-bred Soldiers into field survivalists with more than 1,400 pages of outdoor instruction. Climate survival, shelter construction, homeopathic medicine, wildlife profiles and more included in this iPhone app, which mirrors the U.S. Army Field Manual 21-76.
Army Study Guide Portable ($1.99)
Preparing for the promotion board or Soldier/Noncomissioned Officer board challenges even the best Soldiers. Maximize study time with the Army Study Guide app, designed to aid with memory retention in areas like Army history, physical training, chain of command and desert operations.
Army OneSource Services Locator (free)
This new app assists Families in the base relocation process. Even established Families benefit from service locators that provide contact details and maps. Search for child development centers, emergency relief programs, faith-based communities, employment assistance, marriage counseling and other Family services.
The app promises a lot, but choppy navigation and slim selections suggest room for improvement.
Army First Aid ($1.99)
First Aid for first responders is a necessity for any servicemember. This manual, published by Double Dog Studios, is 600 pages of medical knowledge at your fingertips. Learn to recognize the signs of a fracture, treat poisonous bites, minimize heat and cold injuries and construct trauma transportation devices.
With information like this, convince your commander that the iPhone is a necessary part of your field equipment ... just remember to call home.
While not Army-specific, the following apps empower Soldiers and Families to achieve new levels of self-sufficiency in an age of military mobility.
The days of missing a call from your deployed Soldier are done thanks to the Skype app, a service that connects the iPhone with overseas Internet-enabled personal computers. Many Soldiers keep PCs in their rooms, where it's easy to dial via the Skype software service. Version 2.0.0 provides CD-like quality using wideband audio (3GS iPhones), and calls are free through the end of the year.
AIM Free (free)
The popular instant messaging service, offered by America Online, goes app with AIM Free-no computer required. Much like the Skype app, AIM Free simplifies overseas communication for military Families. Soldiers log into a computer-based AIM program and instant message with iPhone users. Out and about in Fayetteville' No worries, you can still have a heart-to-heart with that special someone.
Combat identity theft with the app designed to protect sensitive information like passwords and account numbers. Over one million people trust the cryptographic enabled app and use it as a mobile data vault. 1Password even provides simple and secure access to sites with its one-click login. An upgrade, 1Password Pro, offers more synchronization tools and lists for $6.99.
Brain Wave ($1.99)
Brain Wave features 22 binaural beat programs designed to aid in concentration, stress reduction, anger relief, relaxation, confidence and additional personal development goals. The deep sleep mode may help Soldiers and spouses suffering from insomnia as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety, or other life stressors. Nearly inaudible frequency patterns, recommended for use with headphones, lull the brain into slow-wave sleep (delta waves), the deepest form of rest.
Online banking just got simpler with the USAA app, another benefit of the military-centric credit union. Members on the move access personal accounts, pay bills, transfer funds and request auto assistance with this multi-functional feature. A popular option, Deposit@Mobile, lets users take an iPhone photograph of a check for deposit, anytime day or night. Funds are instantly accessible.
Hurry up and wait no longer applies to searching for a new home. It's easy to pack the Family into the SUV for a weekend of open houses and neighborhood tours now that Homes.com has gone mobile. The online for sale and rental service lists over 1,000 homes in the Fayetteville area. With the iPhone app, Families can browse for open houses and GPS-specific listings. So, if you're driving through a certain part of town and like the area, pull over and initiate a nearby home search. Many results include photos, pricing, realtor contact information and residence details (directions included).
(Editor's note: Apple released the iPhone OS 4 this summer, adding over 100 features to the company's versatile mobile phone.)