Tuesday, 12 April 2011

10 iPad apps for business - and it doesn't matter if you own a 1 or a 2

I was spurred into writing this having read ZD Nets recent article entitled '10 iPad 2 apps for business'. Why? Because when you read the article (and the comments show I'm not the only one to think this) the list is more apps that show off your iPad 2 and aren't games.

That doesn't really help someone who wants to use an iPad for business, since most of the really useful stuff isn't on there.

So he we are: the PHD list of iPad apps for business (in no particular order).

1. Informant HD

I needed a calendar and task list, and wanted one that would tie into the office shared Google calendar. Informant also features handy tagging and folders functions as well as an iPhone version that offers the same functionality. This was one of the more expensive apps I purchased, at nearly £9, but in my opinion definitely worth it.

2. Adobe Ideas

I find it really useful to be able to sketch out rough ideas and diagrams. Abobe Ideas does this very easily, and in addition to saving your sketches in the app, allows you to either save to an album or email in an Adobe Illustrator compatible format. Very handy. And it's free (unless you want to buy the layers upgrade).

3. BlogPress

I'm using this to write this post off-line, on a train. BlogPress is connecters to both my company blogger account and my personal tumblr account works neatly with both. Not free, but worth it.

4. Printer Pro

My basic complaints about Apple is their perpetuation of their walled garden: if you buy one apple product, you end up buying more because I makes life easier to make them work together. This is where Printer Pro comes in. We run a predominantly PC/Windows and PC/Linux office, with printing provided via a shared printer on one of the PC/Windows boxes. This is a common build, but one that iPad doesn't seem to acknowledge out of the box. Installing Printer Pro solves this by installing a free client on your printers host PC, and the app communicates with this via wifi. Then free version of the app allows you to test the setup works before you buy the app. Worked well for me and means printing doesn't involve syncing, dropbox or email to a PC.

5. QuickOffice HD

Given our PC base, I wanted an MS Office natively compatible office suite. QuickOffice HD seemed to get the best reviews when I did my research and so far I agree. Having authored Word documents and PowerPoint presentations from my iPad, as well as being able to project them using the Apple iPad to VGA cable, I have to say I'm impressed. Again one of the more expensive apps, but worth it in my opinion.

6. Evernote

If you work in business, I'm fairly sure you'll recognise this scenario: cafe meeting/ brainstorm/ collaborative meeting and the results of the past 4 hours are on a number of flip chart pages or White boards. Normally someone ends up using a mobile phone to take photos then the rest of the group await the images via email. This is the point where Evernote steps in. Evernote provides a set of apps for a range of devices (including Apple, Android, Blackberry and PC) which all tie back to a communal web based document storage solution. Take the photo of the flip chart with your Blackberry, it's accessible from your other devices straight away. Add tagging and management functions to the mix and this solution rings true to it's name - never lose your notes!

7. Desktop

A remote desktop client comes in handy sooner or later, even if it just to be able to log into you computer and move a file or email something to yourself. The imaginatively named Desktop supports both Apple and Windows based desktops and worked fine with a variety of Windows 7 boxes. Worth having, just in case.

8. Twitter

Whilst HootSuite is great if you want to manage multiple twitter accounts (and I have this installed too) I have to say that the experience offered by the free, official twitter app is great. Worth downloading and trying out.

9. Filer

As an alternative/ companion to DropBox, filer is another way to get files from a variety of sources onto your iPad, with the benefit of including a really good PDF viewer.

10. Something non-work

It's true what they say about all work and no play. So here is a quick list of my choices for interesting non-work iPad apps.

TED: The free TED app offers access to their wonderful library of talks. If you know TED, you won't need me to sell this to you, if you don't, try it out.

IMDB: A great way to find out about movies old and new, to access the wealth of information in their database and do it from the comfort of your iPad. It's also free.

Sky News: I'm a fan of Sky as a news source, and the app brings an experience that ties together their web content, video content and also provides a route to watch the live feed of the Sky News channel. Free at the moment, but only for a limited time apparently.

11. Apple iPad to VGA cable

Ok, I know this post is all about business apps for iPads, but given the way I work - presenting to clients or prospective clients amongst (many) other things - this one item is an essential part of the iPad for business mix. Whilst I have successfully done two or three person presentations with my iPad standing in the middle of the table, it is only a matter of time until you need to handle a projector. In my experience, the majority of board rooms out there still favour a VGA cable to connect to the projector (I've never seen HDMI). Apple do make a connector cable for this and in my local Apple store I had to ask one of the assistants for it as the didn't have them on display. At £25 it wasn't cheap, but very useful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

deangraziosi said...

I like the picture of Adobe idea. I like to see more about it in detail.
dean graziosi

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