Last week, Apple introduced the iPad to the world. The tablet device, the subject of more rumors than Area 51, provides the functionality of iPhone apps, web surfing, and book reading in a larger handheld device. And with its shockingly low starting price of $499, it’s relatively affordable.
Does Apple’s device have a place in the work setting, though? Should you be snatching up tablets for your employees, or should wait until the iPad adds some more business-friendly features? Does it provide value that a computer or an iPhone doesn’t?
Let’s explore a few practical business cases for the iPad. Hopefully this exercise will help you in deciding whether you should have one as part of your work arsenal. And remember, these are just a few ideas – I’m sure you can think of plenty more:
1. 1. Spreadsheets and Docs On-the-Go: You can purchase iWorks for the iPad ($9.99 per app). That means you can edit docs, fill in spreadsheets, and build presentations. You’re always going to build docs faster in a Mac, but it’s a smart way to edit and make revisions.
2. 2. Social Notetaking: The iPad is compatible with every iPhone app, meaning that you can run Evernote to write down notes in the field, access picture archives from your team, and record voice notes that you can send to others later. Evernote’s one of the best notetaking products on the market, and the iPad will make it far more useful.
3. Portable Screen/Presentation Machine: The device has a crisp display perfect for showing off videos during a presentation. It’s also likely that you can use it as a presentation machine, although you might need an adapter for it.
4. Transferable Customer Display: In a bank, a teller often has to turn his screen towards the customer to show him exactly what’s going on with an account. With an iPad, all the teller or customer service rep has to do is hand it to the customer to review for themselves. Customers can even play with the numbers and options in that type of interface. You could simply build a web app to accomplish this, too.
5. (Nearly) Full Web Access: After the apps, the iPad’s strongest feature is simply its fast and elegant web browsing. The Apple A4 processor helps it load pages rapidly, while the larger screen gives you the opportunity to find whatever you need on the web while on-the-go. 3G access + web browsing is definitely a big win for businesses who have team members that are always on-the-go.
Do you have additional ideas about how you’d use the iPad for your business needs? Tell us more in the comments.