On November 17, 2008, I wrote the first post on iPhone J.D., explaining why I had been using an iPhone for a few months. The subject seemed appropriate for starting a new website, but it was also quite topical at the time. According to a 2008 Am Law Tech Survey, only 5% of law firms reported that they had any lawyers using an iPhone. Instead, most attorneys who used a smartphone at the time used a BlackBerry, Palm Treo or Windows Mobile device. A lot of folks wondered if a device with an all-glass front and without a miniature keyboard could ever appeal to more than a small percentage of attorneys. Many thought it would be a repeat of the Windows-versus-Mac world in which a single digit percentage of lawyers used and loved their Macs but the overwhelming majority used PCs. So when I started a website in 2008 aimed at attorneys who used iPhones, the market seemed about as much of a niche as architects who played the banjo. But it was the niche I was in, and you write about what you know.
Five years later, the world has changed quite a bit. Almost all attorneys now use a smartphone, over half of them use an iPhone, and 100% of AmLaw 200 law firms now have attorneys using iPhones. The tablet market is still in its growing stage — about half of all attorneys now use one — but of that half, over 90% use an iPad. We used to live in a world where you would have to visit graphic design firms or college campuses to see Apple logos everywhere. It astounds me that you can now say the same thing about law firms.
And iPhone J.D. has grown too. Back in 2008, I was tickled whenever I saw that a few dozen folks had visited the site in a day. Over the last five years, the site has had well over 3.5 million page views, and more than a million of those occurred in 2013. The site now includes over 1,000 posts and you have written over 2,000 comments.
Popular posts this year. It's a tradition on iPhone J.D.'s anniversary (1, 2, 3, 4) to identify the most popular posts over the prior 12 months because it reveals something about the topics that iPhone and iPad owners have been thinking about lately. Here they are.
1. The iPhone's Do Not Disturb Feature. I love my iPhone for being such a helpful assistant, but sometimes you don't want to be bothered by that assistant because you are in an important meeting or in court. My post on the iPhone's do not disturb feature was the most popular article I wrote this year. I suspect that was in part because so many of us started to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts this year (my post on those was also a popular post in the past year) and a lot of folks were looking for ways to manage all of the alerts that you can receive on an iPhone.
2. Strategies for reading and editing Microsoft Word files on the iPhone and iPad remains a popular topic. The post I wrote this year on using Polaris Office to do so was very popular, as were older posts on using similar apps such as Documents to Go.
3. Security is always an important topic for attorneys, and my review of 1Password was one of the most popular posts this year. It is rare for a new app to so quickly become a part of my daily life, but 1Password has certainly done so, both on my iPhone/iPad and on my PC at work and my Mac at home. I used to hate managing passwords, and I'll admit that my distaste for doing so led me into some unsafe practices such as using easy-to-remember (and thus easy-to-guess) passwords and using the same password in different places. Now, my passwords are very secure, and managing them is almost fun, something I never would have thought possible.
4. Sometimes I encounter something that annoys me on the iPhone, so I research the topic and then write about it here. I did that earlier this year when I noticed that the AirPlay icon was missing from my iPhone and then I found a bizarre solution, and that was one of the most popular posts this year. I guess I wasn't the only one to have the problem. Now that we have iOS 7, AirPlay works better and is easier to manage thanks to the Control Center that you can quickly access just by swiping up from the bottom. Another example: I must not have been the only one to develop a spot on the lens of my iPhone 5 camera considering how popular that post was this year.
5. About a year ago, Apple replaced the 30-pin connector that had been in use since it debuted on the iPod in 2003 with the new Lightning connector. As a result, a lot of iPhone and iPad users had to purchase new accessories, and my review of Apple's Lightning-to-VGA connector was very popular this year. I give a lot of presentations from my iPad and I far prefer the Lightning-to-VGA connector over the older 30 pin-to-VGA connector because it does a better job of staying in place, it is faster, and I like that you can charge your iPad at the same time that you are using it.
6. I love that the iPhone is so easy to use, but it also has a lot of powerful features if you just know where to look for them. Thus, I try to post tips and tricks for using the iPhone and iPad whenever I come across a good one. I posted a tip earlier this year on keeping track of birthdays of your Contacts, and it was one of the most popular posts this year. My tip on saving a draft of an email was read by almost as many people.
7. I know that a lot of attorneys like to use a stylus with an iPad when highlighting a document or taking notes. There are hundreds of models available, but the Wacom Bamboo Stylus duo is one of the very best. The post I wrote this year on buying replacement nibs was very popular.
8. There are lots of great apps that you can use to read and annotate PDF files on an iPad, but one of the very best is iAnnotate, and my review of iAnnotate was a very popular post. One of the features that I love in that app is that you can send a Word document to iAnnotate and the app saves your annotations in PDF format. That way, you can easily send someone a marked-up version of a document that shows your handwritten edits. I use that feature all the time in my law practice.
The iPhone J.D. Hall of Fame. Those were the most popular posts written this past year, but here are the most popular iPhone J.D. posts of all time:
1. iPhone "No SIM card installed" message. When I first had this problem with my iPhone 4, it didn't seem like many other people were talking about it. However, this post from July of 2010 was viewed well over 100,000 times and is the most-read iPhone J.D. post of all time, so clearly I was not alone. As I noted in a follow up, the only real solution was to have the Apple Store replace my iPhone 4.
2. My favorite iPhone shortcuts. iPhone J.D. was only a week old when I wrote this post in November of 2008, and over the past five years, it has also been read well over 100,000 times. Most of the tips are just as useful today as they were when iPhone J.D. was in its infancy.
3. A look at the iPhone passcode lock feature. This post from September of 2009 continues to be popular, and I hope that means that lots of people — especially attorneys — are using the passcode lock feature on the iPhone. You never know when someone else might pick up your iPhone.
4. The iPhone's do not disturb feature. I mentioned this one above, and it was my only post from 2013 to break into the all-time top 10.
5. iPhone Tip: create an Apple folder. I wrote this tip in June of 2010, and I continue to use an "Apple folder" on my iPads and iPhones.
6. Email improvements in iOS 5. When Apple released iOS 5 in 2001, one of the best parts of the updates for lawyers and others who use email all the time were the improvements to the Mail app such as better notifications, rich text formatting and the ability to dictate an email via Siri.
7. Review: Dragon Dictation. You no longer need to use the Dragon Dictation app unless you use an older iPhone or iPad because dictation is built-in thanks to Siri, but before Siri, the Dragon Dictation app was very popular for lawyers and others, and so was this post.
8. Review: Notes Plus and Review: GoodNotes. These are both excellent apps for taking notes on an iPad using a stylus, and my reviews of those apps are among the all-time most popular reviews on iPhone J.D.
9. Review: Lightning to 30-pin adapters. As noted above, the change to the Lightning adapter was a huge transition for the iPhone and iPad, and these adapters are great for using your new device with your older accessories.
10. Why the "i" in iPhone? I had a lot of fun researching and writing this post back in 2009, so I'm glad to see that so many folks have read it and still do so today. If you were ever curious about the origin of the name of the iPhone, this is the post for you.
Visitors to iPhone J.D. It's an annual tradition to use this opportunity to share a little about what I know about those of you who read this website besides the obvious — you have impeccable taste.
About 33% of iPhone J.D. readers during the past year accessed this site using Windows, about 28% used an iPhone, about 18% used an iPad, about 16% used a Mac, about 3% used Android and about 1% used a BlackBerry.
About two-thirds of iPhone J.D. visitors are in the U.S., but the site also gets a huge number of visitors from the U.K., Canada and Australia, and for the first time ever, five of the top 10 cities were not in the U.S. For the fifth year in a row, there were more visitors from New York than any other city. London moved up from #3 to #2, and for the first time ever, two cities in Australia — Sydney and Melbourne — were in the top 10.
I enjoy taking this opportunity every year to talk about iPhone J.D. readers because without a doubt, my favorite part of publishing iPhone J.D. is that it has given me a reason to meet so many other interesting attorneys. Whether we met a conference or we first corresponded via email when you shared an iPhone tip with me, I have really enjoyed getting to know and hearing from so many of you. The niche of attorneys using an iOS device may be a lot larger than it was five years ago, but I still think of us as a select group of intelligent and friendly folks who enjoy using elegant technology to help us to get our work done. Not a bad group of folks to get to know.