As apps worm their way into our daily lives, plenty of smart-phone owners now find the word "phone" becoming an increasingly anachronistic term for these devices. In a TIPP poll commissioned by The Christian Science Monitor, close to half of respondents (46 percent) reported using their smart phones more than 10 times a day for actions other than making a phone call.
"Apps bring out the human part of technology," says Scott Steinberg, a consultant and professional speaker on innovation in St. Louis. Desk-bound PCs were designed for business, he says. They're tools of productivity occasionally co-opted for entertainment. Yet while iPhone and Android owe a lot to BlackBerry (the pinstriped, business-minded older brother of the smart-phone family), apps were predominantly designed for life outside the office.
Apps replace scissors and glue
For a year and a half now, the Bancroft School in Worcester, Mass., has required each student from Grades 6 through 12 to own and carry an iPad. Apple's tablet computer plays a role in every class, says Elisa Heinricher, the administrator behind the private school's tablet program. Students dissect digital frogs for biology, read e-books in Spanish, and e-mail their English essays.
"The iPads have become such an integral part of our day that we don't even notice them anymore," says Ms. Heinricher.