The iPad is the talk of the town — and it has been, since it first came out in 2010. But what was originally regarded as an entertainment-only device is now finding widespread adoption among businesses. A main selling point is the iPad’s light weight and ease of use for people who are on the road. As the tablet market continues to expand, however, many companies are wondering if the device can also meet their more robust software needs.
Let’s take a look at four key areas of your business operation to see how the iPad addresses them.
Apple’s own trademark word processing solution, Pages ($9.99), is available on the iPad. Although not as feature-rich as the desktop version, it’s surprisingly capable. It uses a very intuitive interface that supports formatting text and text styles, placing graphics and applying effects, and creating your own shapes and objects. Pages is part of the iWork suite, which also includes solutions for worksheets (Numbers, $9.99) and presentations (Keynote, $9.99); in short, iWork is Apple’s version of Microsoft Office. Microsoft’s reign of the word processing business isn’t over, however, as an iPad version of the Office Suite is currently in the works, rumored to be released in the first half of 2012.
The aforementioned Keynote application, part of Apple’s iWork suite, offers a full set of tools to create eye-popping and engaging presentations. It is the go-to application for companies today that want to break out of the mold of standard slide shows. It’s intuitive, user-friendly, and plain cool. However, there are plenty of other applications on the market to help you with your presentations, including Roambi (free) and SlideRocket (free). The main strength of the iPad in this area is its touchscreen interface, making it extremely easy and smooth to deliver a presentation, without having to click through slides with a mouse.
Many of the conferencing solutions that companies use nowadays are also available on the iPad, including Skype, GoToMeeting, and WebEx. All offer similar if not the same functionality as their desktop equivalents, but with the added convenience of having a camera, microphone, and keyboard all built into a single device. There are alternative solutions as well. One to take note of is MightyMeeting, which allows you to store your presentations in the cloud and access them anytime on your iPad (or iPhone for that matter). You can share these presentations via email, blog, Twitter, or Facebook.
All of these applications are free to download. However, they do require paid user accounts – except Skype, where you only pay for phone calls made through the traditional phone network as opposed to other Skype users.
File-sharing has long left the dark ages of CD-Rs and thumb drives. Today, information is stored and transferred via the cloud. Key players in this area are Dropbox and SugarSync. Both are free to use and offer free space to new users (2GB and 5GB respectively). They allow you to securely sync your files across all your devices via the internet. Natively, the iPad also offers its own iCloud, which is designed to automatically sync all data across your iPad, iPhone, and laptop. The added convenience of the iCloud is that it doesn’t require any additional software — just turn on the iCloud in your settings tab, and you’re good to go.
Looking for more information on business iPad apps in the above software categories? Browse the entire Business-Software.com product directory of mobile applications to discover iPad-friendly business tools. You can also download from our selection of free software comparison reports on 80+ software segments to compare mobile-friendly solutions in your desired area of software needs.