5 gadgets the iPhone 4 replaces

I admit that way back when my husband bought me a first generation iPhone, it was a completely frivolous purchase for me–something I coveted because it looked cool. And I could check email from my phone! Technology!

Fast forward a few years with my newly upgraded iPhone 4 and I’ve come to realize that my iPhone has become essential to my daily existence as a mom. In fact, it’s a more-than-adequate stand-in for five gadgets I used to use regularly.

If you’ve ever wanted to justify an iPhone purchase, here’s five perfectly good reasons.

1. Camera

Digital camera

Unfortunately, I have very few pictures of my second and third kids because it was just too much to remember my point-and-shoot all the time. And forget trying to bring my Canon Rebel.

These days, not an hour goes by when I haven’t snapped a photo of my kids using Instagram as well as the Camera+ app, that even allows me to edit the snapshots right from my phone. Plus, I can download them quickly when I sync my phone, or email them to friends and family in a matter of seconds.

2. Video Camera

Digital video camera

If I have an unspeakable small number of photos of my kids, the amount of video I have of them is downright embarrassing. I often remembered to bring my FLIP camera for special occasions, but quite frankly, some of the best video of our kids is just when they were being goofy around the house.

Now with my iPhone 4 video camera, I’ve got tons of video, some of which I upload to Vimeo and edit into cool videos right from my phone. Others that I email off to family members and myself to use later.

3. E-reader

Kindle e-reader

I just recently downloaded my first book to my iPhone using the free Kindle app and for the first time in a very long time, I’m reading a book that has more than a bunch of pictures and four rhyming words on a page.

I never have to remember to bring my book or even an e-reader since I always have my phone, and even though the pages are small and short, I love them; they make me feel like I’m getting a lot accomplished and my tired postpartum baby eyes don’t start skimming, which is usually what happens with regular sized pages.

4. White noise machine

White noise machine

I’ve got a white noise machine in every room of my house–except in my own room, where I use my phone. The white noise app does a fantastic job of blocking out noise and keeping me (and the baby who sleeps nearby) asleep. Plus, you can keep the screen lit with the clock (count that as the sixth gadget my phone eliminates).

This app is especially helpful when we’re traveling, particularly for my husband who travels for a living and has to sleep in hotels. But we use it more times than we can count when we’re away with the kids too, even at grandparents’ house since they don’t seem to remember to keep it down when the kids are snoozing.

5. Baby monitor

Video baby monitor

Since discovering the baby monitor apps for iPhone, I haven’t used an actual monitor in ages–yes, we’ve even given our beloved video baby monitor
a little break. Now if your smart phone acts as your home phone, this might not work for you unless you’re traveling. In that case, it’s brilliant; especially if you want to sit out on the balcony while your kids are sleeping.

I personally rely on the baby monitor app when my husband is traveling and I’m trying to work out or enjoy some quiet time in our basement. All I have to do is set up my iPhone to call my house phone if the baby is up. Works like a charm!

Tell us, what gadgets has your smart phone replaced?

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.


  • Reply June 3, 2011


    And so much more!

    Calendar, todo list, contact list, and notebook/file cabinet

    Dictaphone (can even sync dictations with Dropbox for transcription)

    Alarm clock (some of them will still ring an alarm when on “mute”, so if you are like me an manage multiple people’s calendars, you can mute the iPhone when you go to sleep so that their alarmed appointments, any texts or phonecalls don’t wake you up, but your alarm clock still does)

    Kitchen timer(s)




    Business card scanner

    Important enough to me that it warrants an extra mention – notebooks for creative writing

    Dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, field guides, foreign language translator, all kinds of other reference works

    Word processor, spreadsheet editor, database manager, pdf reader


    Sketchbook/painting canvas/colouring books/etc.

    TV/video player



    Barcode scanner

    Morse code signaller



    Magnifying glass



    Protractor, Ruler

    Recipe book

    Heartrate monitor

    Pedometer/GPS run tracker

    Audiobook player

    Exercise videos and trackers

    Gameboard – Words with Friends! – replace all of those little travel games in the car

    Deck of cards

    Spinners/dice/names from a hat to supplement non-virtual board games

    Musical instruments – a whole band’s worth


  • Reply June 3, 2011


    Maybe obvious, but CD player/IPOD/MP3player? And alarm clock. Oh, and my old VisorPalmPilot, and address book. And handheld games. Who needs the Nintendo DS when I can play angry birds and doodle god?

    That said, this is my husband’s iphone. I don’t have one…yet.

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