As the resident Apple fan boy in the office I am constantly getting grief whenever Apple messes up, and let's just say these last few weeks have been tough (iPhone 4 grip of death anyone?). Having both an iPhone and a Macbook I wrote off the iPad as just an iPhone with a larger screen, but in the back of my mind I always secretly wanted to try it. About two weeks ago my appetite for new technology got the best of me; I took the plunge and got a 32 gig WiFi iPad. With over two weeks under my belt I honestly can say it was a good investment, not only for personal use but for the 8 hours a day I spend at the office. The app store is filled with apps that improve your productivity while at the same time giving you a pretty toy to show off to your co-workers. For those of you who are also business professionals and have just invested in the iPad, I decided to compile my top six favorite apps for the work place. Without further ado, here they are.
- Good Reader – I have downloaded many PDF readers on the iPad but none have worked as well as good reader. Good reader is perfect for reading long PDF’s as well as files that have been emailed to you. Where it really shines though, is its ability to download PDF’s straight from any online website instead of having to load them from your computer. At 99 cents it is one of the cheapest apps on the list and also one of the best.
- Air Display – Let’s face it, having a second monitor increases productivity. Air display understands that, and actually allows your iPad to double as a second monitor for your Apple computer (windows promised in the future) all for only $9.99. The truly amazing thing about this program is that it allows you to use the touch functionality on your iPad even when using it as a second monitor. Check out the video below. Now if only it allowed you to save directly to your iPad…
- Note Taker HD – As much as I like taking notes with my finger (not so much) I decided to invest in a stylus. Once I had the stylus it opened my iPad up to a whole new dimension. I can use it for everything from simple doodling to note taking in meetings, and Note Taker HD is my favorite note taking app I have used so far. Some of the features it has are allowing you to have multiple pages of notes, auto scrolling when you hit an edge and letting you change the size and color of your hand writing. These features plus others make it my go to note taking app.
- iWork Suite (includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote each for $9.99) – Getting a good office suite for any computer at 30 dollars is a steal, and the iWork suite is no different. If you have used these products before you understand they are more than a knockoff of Microsoft Word and Excel. On the iPad they really shine for a couple of reasons, one being their ease of use and two the ability to move them off of the iPad and on to your work computer. A set back is that Numbers does not currently export to an excel format, but I’m sure this will be fixed in later builds. A way around this is to use the iWork.com beta and upload your files to their service, from which you can then download them on any computer you would like.
- Dragon Dictation – By now I’m sure most people are familiar with Dragon and their excellent speech to text programs, and this app is no exception. There are many times when you wish you had a secretary that would copy down every word you said, for those times you now have Dragon Dictation. One big downside is it is only able to record for around a minute, but the program can be started and stopped multiple times. Also, did I mention the app is free? It is, and should be a definite download if you invest in the iPad.
- Analytics HD – Being in the SEO and Marketing department I can hardly turn on my computer before I’m looking at Google Analytics, and being able to do it on the iPad’s display really works well. While Analytics HD is missing many of the features I use on the computer version, I am happy to have quick access to the important numbers (Sales, Traffic and Views, etc.) whenever I require them.
Ok, I can’t leave without talking about a game. If you have an iPad, download Angry Birds, you will thank me two hours later when you realize you haven’t stopped playing (make sure it’s not during business hours).
If you browse around the Internet you can see many other blogs with this same theme and different app suggestions. This really goes to show the Apple iPad is starting to come into its own in a business niche. Business Insider wrote about them taking over the board room, and Michael Grey touched on how they can make your next presentation much easier. This product seems like it has been designed with a business user in mind and may indeed catch on in this market.
What do you think, have you bought Steve Jobs “magical” device yet? Do you have an app that didn’t make this list that you cannot live without?