I realize that there are techies out there who bristle every time the iPad is mentioned as any sort of business or productivity tool. To some, anything with a half-eaten fruit logo is—by default—not meant for enterprise endeavors. This group will no doubt hold out for a Windows 7 tablet like the HP Slate, or perhaps a tablet based on the upcoming Google Chrome OS.
Fair enough. However, the initial reviews are in and it seems that the Apple iPad is exceeding the expectations of even skeptical tech media. It may not replace your laptop anytime soon, but the iPad appears to be more than capable of handling the majority of tasks as well or better than the trusty notebook.
If you are a business professional looking to leverage the iPad as a mobile business platform, here are some of the apps you should probably have in your arsenal:
Cisco lets you attend meetings anytime and anywhere using your iPad. The app is free and you don’t need to have a Webex account to attend a meeting. (You do need a Webex account if you want to schedule or host a meeting, though). The Webex app for the iPad uses the sizeable iPad screen to view documents, applications, or remote desktops and also includes simultaneous two-way audio so you can actually join in the conversation.
This app is a universal app—you only have to pay for it once, but it will work across the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Instapaper Pro allows you to cache Web pages to your iPad to read later. If you are reading an article or blog post online, you can save it with Instapaper Pro and carry it along in your iPad to read later while you are commuting, or standing in line somewhere.
Memeo Connect Reader
Many businesses embraced Google Docs as a productivity platform. The Memeo Connect Reader app lets business professionals take their Google Docs with them on the iPad—even when the iPad is offline. Memeo Connect Reader can view a wide variety of file formats natively—including Microsoft Office formats, and it automatically syncs up with Google Docs to ensure you always have the most current data on your iPad.
iWork for iPad
The applications that make up iWork are parallels of the core Microsoft Office tools. Pages does word processing like Microsoft Word, Numbers works with spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel, and Keynote does slide presentations like Microsoft PowerPoint. The iWork for iPad apps can import files from iWork ’09, as well as from Microsoft Office—enabling business professionals to take important files and documents on the road to review, edit, or present them. Each of the three iWork apps is $10 in the App Store.
This is just a small sampling of the iPad apps geared toward business and productivity functions with the tablet. You can trust that the volume and scope of iPad apps for business professionals will explode past Saturday’s iPhone launch.
The iPad is also being hailed as a flexible, and cost-effective tool for disabled users. Businesses are obligated to make accommodations for qualified disabled workers, and the iPad has the features and apps to address many of the needs and replace specialized equipment costing thousands more.