When the rumblings of the iPad were at fever pitch, I thought the sleek gadget looked neat and would be a fun toy, but that it would The Apple iPadprobably take only a few months to be relegated to the bedside as an expensive eBook reader.

Boy was I wrong! After 6 months of daily use, I count my iPad as my favorite productivity tool. In addition to the obvious benefits of simply having a web browser, calculator, and address book at hand, here are some ways that I use this wonderful gadget for business.

  • Easy One-on-One Presentations
    Sometimes I find myself in a crowded restaurant during a busy lunch rush, seated with a client at a tiny 2-person table and struggling to have a productive meeting. Enter the iPad!  I prepared by saving my presentation as a PDF and loading it on my iPad. Then during lunch I used the PDF Reader app to show the presentation and make my pitch. I have also used this approach on a tradeshow floor, with quick presentations ready at the tap of the screen. [and see my note below about QuickOffice…]
  • Email Access With Easy Typing
    I have all nine of my email accounts set up on my iPad. While I would never want the iPad to be my only way to access these accounts, it is wonderful to stay on top of everything while I’m on the go. Sure, I could do this with an iPhone or other handheld device. But with the larger screen and full keyboard of the iPad, I am comfortable replying at length to any messages I receive. (I have an iPod touch and have never been able to type more than a sentence or two without difficulty.)
  • Mobile Document Library
    I subscribe to a service that provides market research and white papers; but that means I must make the time to read them. My iPad makes it easy for me to read these PDFs on the plane, in restaurants, and even while waiting in lines. My iPad also allows me to always have my full library of white papers with me, which has come in handy at more than one client meeting. I also have a Dropbox client on my iPad which gives me access to all the content I have in my Dropbox online.

Other handy uses:

  • Update my blog using the WordPress app (free)
  • Edit a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel file using the Pages or Numbers app ($9.99 each)
    I use a great productivity suite on my iPad called QuickOffice Pro ($14.99).
    Update: Now, I use Google Suite apps on my iPad — so I can easily work on the same doc or spreadsheet whether I am at my computer or on my iPad.
  • Easily manage notes on any topic, such as the PMS and RGB values for client palettes, key stakeholder names, and meeting notes using SimpleNote ($4.99). Yes, the iPad comes with a Note app, but SimpleNote is MUCH better. 
    Update: Now I use Evernote, which is a fantastic note organizer no matter what device I use. Here’s my blog post about Evernote.
  • Update my LinkedIn page or post a Tweet using the free LinkedIn and Twitter apps

The finishing touch: I bought a Zagg Mate keyboard for my iPad, and I highly recommend it. The on-screen keyboard was a huge improvement over a tiny smartphone screen… but for typing long documents, this keyboard removed my only complaint about the iPad.

The next time someone calls your iPad a glorified toy, ask them how much work they can get done in a crowded restaurant. I wrote this entire blog post in one.

How have you been using your iPad for business?

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One Response to The iPad As Business Tool

  1. Dov Goldman says:

    Kathleen,

    I couldn’t agree more!

    My iPad has taken the place of my laptop about 85-90% of the time. I use it to build and show sales presentations, word process documents and create spreadsheets of all kinds. This not to mention email, surfing the web and many other tasks.

    I have found that once I became comfortable with the keyboard and the user interface, I am extremely productive with iPad. I can use it at times when a laptop would be inconvenient, like when I’m riding in a car (as a passenger, of course!) or on the subway.

    I use Dropbox, a terrific FREE app, to store my document libraries so they are readily available on the iPad.

    You mention that you use a PDF app to give presentations. I started out that way, but soon found that I could write attractive presentations FASTER on the iPad than on the PC. I’ll be discussing this in a future post on my blog!

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