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Becoming an iPad Super User

Becoming an iPad Super User

I’m a former consultant, currently running a small fifty-ish person company and I even like to think I can design stuff too (though my marketing director insists that I have no talent). So, my iPad has to do a lot to keep me happy and productive. Here is my short list of must have apps that will keep things humming and virtually eliminate the need for a laptop.

Built-ins: email, calendar, and camera (I know FaceTime comes with the ipad2 but I will get to this later). Most business professionals spend most of their day sending email and managing their calendar, so we are already halfway toward the holy grail of productivity. The email app doesn’t quite do everything some may want but do you really need to embed HTML in every email. It gets the job done.

Same with the calendar. There was some initial buggyness with iPad1 and the ability to accept invites but no more. I send and receive invites via MSExchange and have no problems.

Camera: when iPad2 first came out, I got the need for the front facing camera for FaceTime but just did not know what I was going to use the rear camera for. No more. The rear camera is great for at least two things, photographing notes on the whiteboard and reviewing prototype designs and products remotely.

So now for the serious apps:

Evernote: Evernote is simply great and I don’t understand why more people are not using it. The concept is universal and beautiful – digitally capture anything, store it and access it from anywhere. This means just what it says, upload photos, notes, Word or Excel documents, PDFs, audio, web clips, classroom notes, white board photos and Evernote indexes them and stores them locally and on the cloud. Then, you can access them from your phone, tablet, laptop or the Internet terminal in the airport. (I am drafting this blog on my iPad in Evernote.)

iWork: This is really three apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynote. If you are a PC (and I never understood Microsoft’s latest ads “I’m a PC”) then these correspond to a Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Write, calculate or present to your heart’s content, everything you need is here. I know some financial analyst is going to tell me that their 5000 column Monte Carlo simulation will not run on the iPad in Numbers. True enough. But… That’s probably only temporar (there will be an app for that) and seriously, are you tweaking your simulation on the flight from NYC to LAX after those two shots of Black Label?

The Omni Group: All of their apps are expensive but, if you want to achieve super user-status, worth it. Some people thought I forgot to mention Keynote above, but combined with the features of OmniGraffle and OmniGS, I can create just about any graphic I need for a presentation. The other two apps in their iPad suite are OmniFocus (a GTD Task manager that integrates with your calendar) and OmniOutliner (interesting but I don’t use it much). The one that I would really like to see ported to the iPad is OmniPlan (a project management tool) but I guess we’ll wait on this one.

Communications: We’d be no where without comm. No surprises here, FaceTime for talking to my son at his all too expensive private college and Skype for video chats with our creative teams in Philly, India and Asia.

Creativity: If I could draw, SketchBook Pro would be fantastic. Some of our products actually started out here.

So, for those trying to tell me that the iPad is just a consumer/consumption device, I think I can store stuff, retrieve stuff, compose emails, documents, anlalyze data and present it professionally and I have total remote connectivity.

Here are a few other things that can really make you a productivity machine:

Note taking: I have not found anything that quite does it for me yet. My current favorite is Upad, but NotesPlus is also very good.

Dropbox: I have it and use it but have not quite figured out why it’s better than Evernote.

37Signals Suite: Strictly speaking, not an iPad app but works great if you have an Internet connection for coordinating projects and a myriad of “stuff” with your team.

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2 Responses to “ “Becoming an iPad Super User”

  1. These choices are great.

    Evernote is really super useful on the iPad as is DropBox. Any productive pro has to use these for improving their workflow.

    I second your position on using the camera for whiteboards. Coupled with Evernote abilities, this is a killer.

    For notes, NotesPlus is superb, especially when you need to print the notes out, this is the best one IMV.

    I also use penultimate for more “artsy” pen works. I use a bamboo stylus or the alupen for these, they both work great. Having 2 styli is interesting when reviewing material with a colleague over a coffee, as everyone has its
    own pointer.

    Goodreader should have made it to your list, as well as UStream.
    Quickoffice is also handy for MS Office docs. As a user of GotoMeeting, it is nice to have access to it too.

    And YES, the iPad isn’t only a consumer device, it is a great thing for the professional as well.

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks, good additions.  I use @goodreader, #docstogo, and @webex and a stylus for graphics. I have UStream but have rarely used it.

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