It is not often that one gadget turns the table in market trends. But of course, folks from Apple would tell you a different story because almost every gadget that they've introduced into the market has changed the course of technology for good.
The iPad is no different. Poised to overtake PC sales and already a number one in the tablet market share, the iPad has found interesting uses especially when it comes to businesses. Take a look at this:
- Some of the hotels use iPads to get an interactive information portal setup in their lobbies/reception for their customers
- Some major airlines use iPads to deal out in-flight information
- Small businesses use iPads to process payments on-the-fly
- Some startups and freelancers use the iPad to create beautiful invoices and track them
- Many small teams of 3-4 people use iPad apps to do some really cool project management things, schedule meetings and take notes
As you can see, the iPad is a fantastic gadget that's not confined to reading news, playing games, reading email or watching HD videos. It is being put to use, big time.
The iPad is a great tool for keeping track of how productive you are. Two things define how well you manage time and turn out to be productive:
- Task management
- Time management
With iOS 6, the Mail app gets some really good makeover. The VIP lists make sure you neither miss email from the most important people, nor have to go through tons of random emails to filter out the important ones.
For most purposes, the default email client that comes with your iPad is much more than sufficient. But of course you can go for specific email clients like Gmail in case you want to manage different email folders and labels.
Separating your email accounts through not just labels but through apps (like having Mail for personal email and Gmail app for official email) can also make managing email easier.
Most salesmen need to make quick presentations, and when you are on-the-go, the iPad can turn out into a very good device to make presentations. Of course, you can get it done with free apps like Keynote which retails for $9.99.or choose the more professional offering from Apple,
The most important app required for small/big businesses would be some sort of an Office suite for the iPad. Of course, most businesses use computers which solve this need but when you are going to use the iPad much more than the PC/Mac, having an Office Suite for the iPad makes more sense and increases the productivity.
One of the main reasons why it affects productivity comes from the way you can create or edit documents right on the iPad (optionally, with a beautiful, ergonomic Bluetooth keyboard attached, yes) and send them via email.
Invoicing + Inventory
Although most big businesses don't use the iPad for invoicing purposes, I've heard of several freelancers and small businesses that use the iPad extensively for invoicing.
How? Apps. As simple as that.
Invoicing Apps like GetPaid and EasyBooks make invoicing from the iPad very easy. Not only this, they make invoices look delicious and help you track and manage them too. It's like book-keeping gone digital.
We made a post on this before here. With the card readers and apps like Square, processing payments on the iPad has become as easy as it can get. Several small-time shops across the street use the iPad not just to show off their menu for the day but also add some really cool payment processing options.
Apps likehave done really well.
File Management + Cloud
When there are files to manage, there needs to be something that helps you manage the files. Cloud storage is one of the easiest ways to club two important aspects of file management: backup and organization.
Services like Dropbox and Box.net can provide excellent support in addition to the default iCloud storage that comes with your iPad. There are also options like SugarSync suitable for those with budget constraints.
Collaboration / Conferencing
FaceTime on the iPhone is good but have you experienced a really seamless and perfect FaceTime on the iPad?
Although FaceTime or Skype only allows one-on-one video chats, new apps like Google+ (which comes with the Hangout feature) lets you conduct video conferences with your team. There are quite a lot of other amazing and online collaboration in real-time too.