Sometimes we focus so much on how well the iPhone browses the web, plays games or keeps us on task that we forget that it’s also a phone! As such, shouldn’t there be a few cool apps dedicated to making phone calls?
You’re in luck, today we’ll show you some apps that are aimed at helping you quickly dial friends and family in some really interesting and useful ways.
Add Contacts to Your Home Screen
After four iterations, I can’t believe iOS still doesn’t officially supporting adding specific contacts to your home screen as dedicated icons. It’s a super simple idea and would save us the few extra taps that it takes to open the phone app, go to the favorites tab and locate the person we want to call.
Fortunately, one developer was tricky enough to figure out how to make this common feature request a reality. With Speed.Dial, you simply find the contact that you want to add to your home screen, customize their information and the app will pull up a temporary web page that serves as a link to the contact. As with any web page, you can then save this to your home screen.
Now with a single tap, you can call your favorite contacts. It does takes a second longer to dial because Safari has to open and then link to your phone app, but the automated process can still be quicker than manually searching for a contact.
Drag to Dial
If you like seeing your contacts as icons but don’t necessarily want them to clutter up your home screen, check out QuickBins, a free app that is a really nice alternative to a list of contacts.
With Quick Bins, you create icon shortcuts for your favorite contacts. These are arranged in a space that’s almost exactly like your home screen with multiple pages that can be accessed through swiping back and forth. The cool part is that the icon grid is flanked by four bins: one for calling, one for SMS, one for emailing and one for mapping their address.
When you open the app, you quickly identify the person you want to call and drag their icon to the phone box to call them or the SMS box to shoot them a text. It sounds a little clunky but after you’ve used it for a while you start to see that it’s a really efficient system that saves you a lot of taps.
Speak to Dial
Though this will likely be changing very soon, the current iOS really lacks proper voice commands of any kind. Voice dialing was made popular nearly a decade ago so it’s a little surprising that your fancy new Apple device can’t do it out of the box.
Fear not however, there are plenty of free utilities that come to the rescue and even deliver a lot more than simple voice dialing. Currently, Vlingo is one of the best apps available in this category. This impressive tool allows you to not only speak a contact’s name to call them, but perform tons of other actions like sending emails and text messages and even updating your Facebook status completely through speech.
Unfortunately, though Vlingo is free, they charge you for many of the more impressive services like SMS speech to text. Check out Dragon Dictation if you’re looking for a truly free alternative. Dragon isn’t quite as efficient as Vlingo when it comes to sending messages, but it still works quite well.
Draw to Dial
This one is a particularly quirky idea. Instead of remembering numbers or choosing contacts from a list, apps like Speed Dial+ let you create custom gestures that will launch calls to specific people. For instance, you could create a gesture so that when you launch the app and draw a heart, your phone automatically dials your significant other.
I can’t really see how this makes dialing easier, in fact remembering more than a few gestures would be quite difficult. However, it is one of those apps that is fun for showing off your iPhone. And while you’re at it, you might as well pull out Doodle Dial, which lets you actually dial individual numbers by drawing them.
How Do You Dial?
With the apps above you’ll have all kinds of new ways to dial your friends, whether you want something hands-free or gesture-powered.
Leave a comment below and let us know about the interesting phone-dialing utilities you’ve come across and how they stack up to the options above.