Apple's iPad is a quick hit: With 2 million units sold in less than two months, it has become a fixture in coffee shops and airports.
But do you need one for your small business?There are enough excuses if you want one to justify the purchase.
1) If you do ANYTHING involving creating or editing web pages or tools, you're going to want to have an iPad to test them on. The tablet trend is not going away, and depending on your business, iPad and iPhone users could soon become a nontrivial percentage of your customer base. If you want to make sure they're having a good experience with your products, you need to know what that experience is like, right?
2) Part of excelling at your business includes knowing about next-generation technology and business tools. How can you know what iPad apps are out there without experiencing them firsthand? How can you think about extending your business (or your clients' businesses) to tablets without knowing what they're like?
3) It could actually be a useful, productive business tool: For example, if you aren't going to use a lot of computing power, it might be the only device you need to take on a business trip, instead of a bulky laptop. (Especially if you fly coach, where it's hard to even open a laptop screen.) The iPad can even open, edit, and display PowerPoint-style presentations. An analysis of the iPad App Store shows that 20 percent of the bestselling iPad apps are "productivity" apps.
4) It's a great prop for your reception area when you're not using it. Cheaper than a giant saltwater fishtank, and your guests will be impressed!
5) It might help you save money on equipment purchases: If it's powerful and functional enough for your mobile and portable computing needs, you might be able to delay or cancel buying a new laptop. Starting at $499, the iPad is not that expensive.