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We've become an iFamily

When Apple announced its last quarter's earnings recently, one figure stood out - how many iPhones are sold every day.

When Apple announced its last quarter's earnings recently, one figure stood out - how many iPhones are sold every day.

Some intrepid writer then put two-and-two together and realized Apple is now producing more iPhones each day than humanity's women are producing babies.

Somehow, I don't find that hard to believe. That's because, in December, we became an iFamily.

For Christmas 2010, I bought my wife a fourth-generation iPod touch. It's basically an iPhone without the phone. All the same capabilities, sans phone, and a little thinner. She hadn't put it down all year.

At work she found it useful in pulling up drug references. At home she would voraciously use it as an e-reader. Sometimes she would play games on it, and every once in a while, actually listen to a song. When we needed to keep Spencer occupied, say waiting at a dentist's office, the ridiculously addicting yet simple Angry Birds game came to the rescue.

By November, both I and the kids were insanely jealous. Katrina was saving all her loonies and pennies for one of her own. Santa beat her to the punch, however, and both she and Spencer received iPods for Christmas. Michelle and I obtained iPhones in late November.

At first I kind of choked at the idea of spending that much money on kids' gifts, but I soon realized that a Nintendo 3Ds costs just as much, and the games are a lot more. Most apps for an iPod are around a buck, maybe two. Plus, you're not likely to lose the games, either, since there is no physical media to lose. An iPod is also infinitely more flexible.

I now have 119 apps loaded on my iPhone. I haven't used all of them yet. Some are games waiting for me to have an idle moment to kill time. Others are indispensible.

Chief among these is the ability to do all my banking online wherever I am. Not sure if I have enough money in that account before making a purchase? Tap, tap - yup. Go ahead.

A close second is Flipbook, an aggregator app which ties into dozens of news apps, Facebook and Twitter. While I already have apps for many of these, this is a quick, easy go-to app that is great for a spare minute.

The kids have realized they can now do video conferencing both amongst themselves and to us. When that's not available, they now record and send video messages to me. I was shocked the other day when I was in Carnduff and Katrina sent me a video message. When I was that age, we still had a party line and a rotary dial phone.

We loaded the kids' iPods with educational tools and games. Katrina, in French immersion, has started to make use of Google translate, which will not only translate text, but say it in whatever language you want. That's a lot easier than using the old French-English dictionary of mine she pulled out the other day.

This past weekend I took part in a free online web seminar (webinar) on wedding photography. I had it playing in the background on my desktop while working on other things. But when I had to get away from the computer, I launched the iPhone app and was able to take the video feed with me anywhere I went. The possibilities of such capability, both in education and in business, are endless.

If you are house hunting in a new town, the app is probably the best thing to have next to a live, breathing realtor with you. You can drive down the street, stop, and scope out a house's specs and photos without even leaving your car. Nope, don't like that one. Let's check out another one in the neighbourhood.

In the space of a month, we contributed our share to Apple's mammoth profits. From what I can see, they deserve every penny.

Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at