Sometimes it's the little things. This simple jailbreak app adds a fifth row to the iPhone's soft keyboard, giving access to numbers without the sub-menu. And symbols are easier to type too.
Hitting shift will change the new fifth row of numbers to their symbol equivalent, giving you quicker access to the exclamation marks your mobile dispatches so clearly deserve. This is currently for jailbreakers only, but I'm wondering if it couldn't be turned into an actual app? The emoji-enablers work by adding a new international keyboard, so maybe this could work in the same way? If not, all the more reason to jailbreak.
You can find this app listed under "5-Row QWERTY Keyboard" in Cydia. [iPhone Hacks]