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Is the iPad for Business? Yep.

Posted by dsnedigar | Posted in Computer | Posted on 15-07-2010

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iPad is for Business

Apple's iWork suite of productivity apps

The iPad is much more than just a “big iPhone.” As it turns out, it’s a viable business and productivity tool as well.

Most of the major media and blog coverage on the iPad revolves around it being an amazing entertainment device…and it certainly is that. About one-third of the over 200,000 apps in Apple’s App Store are classified as “games” or “entertainment” apps. But that still leaves a lot of room for business, productivity, and specialty apps that you could be using right now in your business.

So how can you use the iPad for business and why should you? First, let’s look at the how:

– Perhaps you are a real estate agent looking for a way to keep connected to the main office while in the field as well as have the ability to quickly search MLS listings online in real-time and show off photos or architectural plans of your properties?

– Maybe you are going to a trade show where you need to have your product catalog(s) handy, be able to do quick PowerPoint, photo or video presentations for individuals or small groups on demand, and don’t want to be tethered to a laptop on a table or limited by its battery life?

– Or you might be your average small-business traveler that needs to do some of those things occasionally as well as be able to write and edit text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, keep up on your email and calendar, participate in web meetings, and access your office computer remotely?

There are apps available to accomplish all of these tasks right now – and more being created and improved upon every day. And this is just a small sampling of how you might integrate the iPad into your business.

Now, let’s look at why you should consider using an iPad for your business:

Portability
The power of a netbook at the size of an e-reader with a gorgeous color display. At only 1.5 pounds, it’s certainly lighter than lugging around a laptop and most netbooks. And it’s much easier to pass around or share than a laptop or netbook. But be careful passing it around… you may not get it back!

Excellent Battery Life
One of the most important aspects of true “portability” is battery life. After all, what good is having a portable computing device if you can’t actually use it in a real-world environment once you get there? Apple advertises a 10-hour battery life for the iPad under “normal” conditions. But many users and reviewers have actually experienced even better battery life even under heavy use!

Instant Access
We’ve all been at meetings waiting for the presenter’s laptop to boot up, find their files, and launch their apps…or were YOU that person? With the iPad, there’s no waiting.

Color Display
The 9.7-inch color IPS display may not be as large as the average laptop screen, but with a resolution of 1024×768 pixels, it’s still great for small meetings or one-on-one presentations. And, if you need to present to a larger group, you can purchase Apple’s iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter and connect it to any VGA-capable TV, display or projector system.

Connectivity
The iPad was born for the internet and is available in WiFi only or WiFi and 3G data flavors. You’ll pay a premium for the latter and need to contract with AT&T for 3G data services. But the good news is that you can do so on a month-to-month basis and not be tied down to a long-term contract. This is a great option for business users when WiFi is not available. Simply purchase a month’s worth of data services only when you need it!

Cross Platform Support
The iPad connects to your Windows or Macintosh computer via iTunes through its integrated dock port. But there are also many 3rd party apps that allow you to connect to and control your desktop Mac or PC wirelessly!

Multitude of Business/Productivity Apps
There are some amazing productivity and connectivity apps available for the iPad already! And as businesses continue to look for ways to utilize it, more robust apps are sure to follow. Apps are already available from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Salesforce.com, Citrix, GoToMeeting, DropBox, LogMeIn and Cisco’s Webex. Apple’s own iWork suite of apps provides text, spreadsheet, and presentation creation and editing, all of which are compatible with MS Office documents. The built-in mail client integrates seamlessly and securely with Microsoft Exchange servers for access to corporate email, calendars and contacts. And hundreds (if not thousands) of third party developers offer apps that do anything from allow you to access and edit your Google Docs, share whiteboards, manage your contacts, to printing and faxing directly from your iPad. These apps can range from 99¢ to $30 or more depending upon their features, but many are available for free!

Just a few reasons why you should consider using an iPad for your business needs. Sure, it’s also an iPod, lets you visit all your favorite websites, does social networking, plays thousands games (like my favorite time-waster, Paper Toss), and is a great way to watch movies on-the-go. But at its core, it’s a powerful portable computer – and a great one for business as it turns out. Whatever your business may be, there really probably is an app for that!

Have a business trip or trade show coming up? Why not rent an iPad and see what it can do for you!

Already have an iPad and want to blow them out of the water at your next meeting? Rent a projector and expand your possibilities!

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