Five Business Uses for Your Apple iPad

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12 Hot Productivity Apps for Your iPhone and iPad

Get more out of your iPhone or iPad with these hot apps.

Thinking of using the Apple iPad in your business this year? Beyond the various considerations to deploying the iPad in your SMB, what actual roles could Apple's shiny tablet play in your company? Below, I share five possible business uses for the Apple iPad:


Give Presentations


Tired of lugging your bulky laptop around just to give presentations? With the VGA Adapter and supporting software, business users can make use of the much more portable iPad for this task. A number of software supports the VGA Adapter, such as the free Presentation App, or Apple's own Keynote. Getting the presentation onto the iPad will probably require the requisite files to be synced in advance, though some of the presentation software supports alternative means of moving the files over. And unless you create the presentation on the iPad, you will probably want to first check that the transferred files display as expected.


As an added bonus, Apple has also promised a future update that will allow Keynote presentations to be streamed via AirPlay to an Apple TV. While not terribly useful for conference rooms where projectors are still predominantly VGA-based (the new Apple TV is HDMI only), the capability offers compelling value in certain scenarios-such as being able to conduct a presentation using a large-screen plasma or LCD at a trade show using an iPad.


Use as a Sales Brochure


Rather than lug along a stack of heavy sales brochures or other printed documents, why not just load everything onto an iPad? All it takes is some preparation to convert the requisite promotional materials as image files for viewing under the default Photos application. File them appropriately in separate folders, and you now have a veritable compendium of your company's products or services in the palm of your hands.


I confess that I didn't come up with this idea myself. A vendor whipped out an iPad at a trade show to show me some screenshots of their product's GUI. Well, the experience was so sleek it took me a moment to realize that it was just a bunch of properly formatted images and not a custom application created by the company.


Access Desktop Files


Ever left the office for a meeting and then had to turn back because you needed some documents on your office desktop? Or you simply didn't have the time to fire up your laptop to take one more look at a spreadsheet? Well, a number of solutions are available today that allow you to synchronize your work-related files with a cloud-hosted solution. From there, these files can then be accessed from your iPad using the appropriate free apps. Exact functionality and prices vary-some are free, but there are definitely no shortages of solutions, which range from SugarSync, Box.net and Dropbox, or even Apple's own iDisk.


Increase Personal Productivity


I use different kinds of software to maintain my productivity, including Microsoft OneNote to maintain a list of ideas for new blogs and articles, as well as a plain text application for general note taking and to maintain my to do list. I've discovered that I can read and edit my OneNote Notebooks using MobileNoter on the iPad, while Simplenote allows me to do the same for the notes on my desktop. Because everything is automatically synced to the cloud, I don't even have to remember to perform a manual synchronization, or leave my laptop on.


Your personal workflow obviously differs, and it will probably take some time to figure out the right combination of software that will contribute to your productivity. My point though, is the role the iPad can play in that regard.


Use as an External Monitor


I've written in the past about how you can increase your personal productivity with an additional monitor. Without repeating the arguments here, there are a number of apps that you can get for your iPad that will transform it into a wireless monitor to extend your display area. There are a few solutions available, though the one I recently purchased is the DisplayLink app, which in tandem with the company's free iPad client software, allows me to use the iPad as an 1024x768 monitor for my Windows 7 laptop with full Aero support.


What business uses do you have for the iPad? Feel free to share them here.