The iPad Has Business Potential
I don’t carry around a laptop with me all the time, so I often defer to my iPhone to read my Outlook e-mail, check calendar information, and take notes in a business meeting. Though I don’t think the iPad will replace a business laptop any time soon, it’s a business tool that I can picture myself carrying when I head off to a remote meeting.
Aside from checking and composing e-mail, Apple also offers an edition of its iWorks software for the iPad, which bundles versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. And if business users plan on using Keynote for presentations, Apple is selling a $29 VGA adaptor that can connect the iPad to a conference room display (as long as the display has VGA). Dataviz has also announced an iPad version of its Documents To Go software, bringing editing and formatting functionalities to Microsoft Office apps such as Word and Excel.
Using the iPad as a phone is not out of the question either, since it does have an audio jack and support for Bluetooth headsets. An app like Line2 will let you create a separate line and voicemail for your business. It even supports up to 20-person conferencing, if you’re unable to gather everyone in one room. And because Line2 is a VoIP application, meaning it uses the internet to make calls, finding a connection using the iPad’s built-in Wi-Fi and 3G cards is as easy as finding a cell phone signal. Traditional VoIP apps like Skype will be available for the iPad as well, so there’s more than one option for turning your iPad into a phone (the iPad has a built-in mic you can use in conjunction with headphones or a Bluetooth headset for making VoIP calls).
Key verticals like the healthcare industry, which have long been the biggest proponents of tablets, will be considering the iPad for a variety of tasks, including filling orders, tracking patients, and studying X-rays and MRI. Unlike traditional Windows-based tablets, installing security suites to fight malicious software isn’t necessary, and administrators won’t have to configure the iPad for a domain (well, because it can’t be done). Developers like OmniGroup are aware that there might not be enough apps that cater to the medical profession, which is why it’s focusing much of its efforts on porting its core apps to the iPad.
And for every other profession that’s worried about a shortage of iPad apps; don’t despair, hundreds of apps are being submitted to and reviewed by Apple as we speak.
While the majority of those who pre-ordered an iPad are itching to play games, update their Facebook accounts, and watch videos, businesses business are betting the iPad will change the way they work. Businessweek has reported that several firms have pre-ordered iPads in large quantities, one of which plans to simply use them for checking corporate e-mail and taking notes. The fact that the iPad supports corporate Microsoft Exchange account, multiple POP accounts, and VPN protocols makes it a viable tool for those who aren’t in the office all the time.
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