I bought the iPad about three weeks ago, hoping that it would be a device that fit soundly between the iPhone (which is an awful web-browsing and content creation experience) and a laptop (which is cumbersome to carry, especially in business meetings and sales calls).
I bought the 64GB WiFi version, and opted for Verizon’s MiFi portable hot spot over AT&T’s unlimited plan. The Verizon MiFi hot spot allows me to use the same device for both my MacBook Air and my iPad.
Reviews of the iPad by business people have been mixed. Michael Hyatt says it is unnecessary. Steve Rubel believes that it is problematic without Adobe Flash. Chris Brogan likes it, but says the on screen keyboard isn’t good.
I disagree in all cases. The iPad is an essential business tool, and I believe that this will be proven over time, as people begin to adopt it into their workflow. I don’t miss Adobe Flash at all. And, the onscreen keyboard works well enough for me (but then I type about 60 words per minute using a style so unorthodox it got me kicked out of typing class my freshman year of high school—true story).
I also like the fact that it doesn’t multitask. There is nothing better than focusing all of your concentration on one task at a time.
Here are a list of 10 iPad Apps that are essential if you plan to carry your iPad for business and for sales.
- Pages: Pages is the Apple version of Microsoft Word. If you are going to write anything on the iPad, you need this app. This is no iPhone app; this is a robust application that makes no comprises and is fully-functional.
- Keynote: Apple’s Keynote is an exceptional program. It is just as brilliant on the iPad. If you make presentations, this is the killer app. I bought the adapter so I can connect the iPad to a projector or monitor. In the two cases in which I used Keynote over the last three weeks, I was meeting with only one other person, so I didn’t need to project. You will be surprised at how useful it is to be able to present your ideas to one other person using the iPad and Keynote.The biggest problem with Keynote is that it is essentially useless for converting anything but the most basic of PowerPoint presentations. If you did any real design or layout work, you won’t recognize it after you convert it to Keynote.
- Numbers: This is Apple’s version of Excel. Truth be told, I like Excel better, but that is probably because I use it for some of the advanced functions like pivot tables and not so much for lists and layout. That said, Numbers worked perfectly for a pricing proposal in a face-to-face meeting with my client. It allowed us to view the proposal together, and to edit some numbers as we discussed a number of scenarios. I was able to export and send him the final copy.
- WSJ: I hate clutter and hate carrying the one newspaper I read each day; I travel heavy enough already. This is the future of both the newspaper and the magazine industry. The Wall Street Journal has embedded videos and slide shows within the newspaper, bringing the stories to life.
- Kindle: The iPad comes with iBooks, which is a much more refined version of a book reader. Unfortunately, Apple got a little ahead of itself, and the book selection is abysmal. Not to mention the fact that I have already bought hundreds of books on the Kindle.The Kindle App is good. It is not a show horse like the iBooks app. It is a workhorse. I can still highlight sections of the book I am reading, and am still able to type in notes. Most of all, you have a much greater likelihood of finding the book you want to read on Amazon.
- GoodReader: GoodReader is a simple solution to the problem of how you manage and view your documents and files on the iPad. GoodReader allows you to access your iPad over your wireless network through your web-browser and to easily transfer files. You can also connect it to other drives, like Mobile Me, Dropbox, or a Networked drive.GoodReader allows me to move over PDF files, company reports, and emailed files for later viewing. This eliminates the need to carry a bunch of file folders full of documents that were, in most cases, born digital to begin with.
- Evernote: Evernote is web service that allows you to create, store, and sync your notes in the cloud. Honestly, it does so much more than that, but most of it is beyond the scope of this quick review. It is an indispensable app on any platform.I use Evernote because I like having all of my notes stored on the cloud and accessible from any device.
- SugarSync: SugarSync is a service that keeps all of your files in sync across all of your computers. It allows you to access them from any computer through their file manager or through the Internet. The iPad app is pretty Spartan, but it does exactly what you need it to do: you can view your files, or you can email them.I love the ability to simply email a file from within the app. It is simple and fast, and it prevents you from having to boot your laptop. I use it as a web archive and now store all of my files there.
- Things: I have used OmniFocus for task management since it was released, but the guys at OmniGroup decided to develop OmniGraffle for the iPad first, which I believe to be a tremendous mistake. You can use the iPhone version of OmniFocus on the iPad, but it will only make you wonder what in God’s name Omni was thinking. Had they ported OmniFocus, I would have never considered Things.Things is a robust and refined GTD task management app. It works perfectly, and it may have replaced my OmniFocus.
- Twitterific: If you tweet, you know you need a client. I like the simple interface, and find Tweetdeck to be too cluttered.
What apps have you found to be essential?