Ten Ways the Smartphone Is the Swiss Army Knife of Technology

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Growing up, I loved the Swiss Army knife I got from my dad. They came in what seemed like a million variations. Mine had several knives, including the one that looked like a saw, as well as a corkscrew (not sure why Dad thought I needed that one), combination bottle opener/flathead screwdriver, a toothpick (ew!) and a pair of tweezers. It was incredible.

Today, the Swiss Army knife is still damn handy, but few one-size-fits-all tools can match the smartphone. We all know it can be used as a phone and to connect us to the Internet. It also has tons of apps that let us do everything from banking to putting pictures of cats on top of pictures of people. It's versatile.

But the truth is, even without the connectivity to the outside world, the smartphone has quite a number of really helpful apps -- some that are native to the iPhone and others -- that make it the modern-day technological version of the good old Swiss Army knife.


From grocery lists to interview notes to just a place to jot things down, the note-taking applications in smartphones mean no more carrying around paper and pen everywhere.

Voice Recorder

When the microcassette recorder came out, it was like some kind of miracle with its tiny little tapes and itty-bitty microphone. Now it all fits on your phone. Magic.


It's obviously not as accurate as a real level, but if you need to check to see if a picture is lined up right, it sure works well in a pinch.


It may not be the brightest light, but anything in the pitch black is a help. Even if you don't have a flashlight app, just open your browser to a blank white page. Boom.

Music Player

I remember carrying around records in a foot locker when I moved and if I wanted to listen to them at a friend's house, it was a massive chore. Now my entire collection of music can be stored on the same device I use to call my mom. That's freaking awesome.


Never get lost in the forest with a compass on your phone...assuming your battery has juice. Now, if they could only invent a sextant app.

Alarm Clock

People who make alarm clocks must be PISSED. Plus, wake up to your favorite song or weird sounds or your mom's voice...if you're really creepy.


Remember those things that used to hang on the wall? What good are they now except for ogling Texans cheerleaders?


I use this all the time. On the iPhone, flip it sideways and it has a bazillion functions. Crazy.


It is ridiculous how good the cameras are on smartphones, and this comes from someone who started shooting a 35mm film camera as a teenager in the '80s. Never mind the fact that it also shoots video.

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