Smartphones aren't smart just because they're little pocket computers. They also help you learn more about the world around you. Have a question about something you see? If you have an iPhone, ask Siri for insight or pull up a browser and ask a question. Want to know about the night sky above you? Download an astronomy app that shows you the current position of the stars above. Discover more about the ways your smartphone helps you explore your everyday world.

Discover Who's Flying Where

Are you waiting for your loved ones' flight to land and need to know exactly when they'll arrive? Or do you just wonder where the planes above you are headed? You can ask Siri to find out what's going on. Siri uses the app Wolfram Alpha to reference current air traffic data. Wolfram Alpha uses various data points to pull together the necessary information to identify the planes in your vicinity. You can check to see if a flight you're tracking is nearby, or you can just check out the latest flights going in and out of your local airport.

The idea of following planes and tracking their destinations might sound a little strange at first. But it's an insight into how people travel, where they're going, and what flight routes go over your home on a regular basis. By tracking flights, you can learn where visitors to your area originate and expand your worldview at the same time.

Learn About the Birds and the Bees

Animals and insects surround you on a daily basis, but have you ever taken the time to learn about them? Or do you have a child who's learning about the birds and the bees, but you find yourself unable to answer probing questions? There are plenty of animal, insect, and plant identification apps available in the App Store to help you as you go along. Just enter the description of what you see into the app, and it will return potential matches for you to narrow down. With one of these apps, you might even feel like you have an encyclopedia in your pocket.

Migration patterns change, new species arrive, and populations change. It's fun to learn about the critters you live with, especially when smartphone technology puts the information right at your fingertips. Click here to read more about how the iPhone 6s can help expand your knowledge base.

Locate the Constellations

The night sky is always full of stars, but what you see on a given night changes on a regular basis. Sometimes planets become visible to the naked eye, but you might not realize what you're seeing. Major stars come into view, or constellations become prominent during certain times of the year. It's one thing to have a telescope to view the night sky, but if you don't know what you're looking at, it's only mildly interesting.

Night sky apps show you what's currently visible and how to find them in your area. For example, find Orion's belt, and you can trace outward to find the rest of the constellation pulling back on its bow. You can also find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, even when they're not that obvious.

Explore Your Local Landscape

Explorer apps take you to locations off the beaten path in your hometown or in a city you happen to be visiting. Somewhat like the latest Pokemon Go game, explorer apps tell you about buildings that have interesting spaces open to the public, how to find local landmarks, and more. Some apps create a fantasy world based on your physical surroundings and invite you to perform tasks. There's even a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that uses local maps and takes you to new locations. These apps help you find your way around a city while making your exploration much more interesting.

All of these apps help you uncover the world around you and expand your knowledge. When you're armed with your iPhone and these apps, you'll find that it's easy to learn about your surroundings, the animals that share your environment, and even the known universe.

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