It seems like cheating. The whole point of the 30 Days With the iPad series is to determine whether or not the iPad can stand alone as a replacement for my PC, so connecting to the PC from the iPad should be a moot point. Nevertheless, today I am going to take a look at using a remote desktop app to connect to my PC.
Why would it be necessary? Good question. I thought about it, and it occurs to me that for many years I had a desktop PC, and a notebook. The desktop PC was my primary computer, but when I needed to leave my desk for a meeting, or go on vacation, the notebook would go along with me. Eventually, I decided that the setup seemed redundant and unnecessary for me and consolidated to just using the notebook both at my desk and on the go.
Some people may wish to use the iPad in a similar capacity, though. In other words--not necessarily as a complete replacement for a more traditional computer, but as a replacement or proxy when roaming or on vacation. In those cases, it might come in handy to be able to connect remotely to the PC to access the files it contains, and the resources it is connected to.
Another possible justification could be a need for a specific tool--possibly a custom or proprietary application that only works with Windows. The iPad could still be used as the primary computing device, but a PC can be set up at the office that users can connect to remotely when they need access to that one tool. It's not the most elegant solution, but it works.
Normally, this would be the part where I would list out the options available, then explore each of them, and come to some conclusion about which app I like the best. My PCWorld peer Robert Strohmeyer recently did all of the dirty work already, though, so I am just going to take his word for it and jump straight to checking out LogMeIn Ignition. Feel free to check out Control Your PC From Your iPad With Remote Desktop Apps for more about the other apps and why Robert selected LogMeIn Ignition as the best option.
LogMeIn Ignition is quite pricey by iOS app standards at $29.99. It pulls double-duty as an iPad and iPhone app, so I at least get to maximize my investment to some extent. If I was at a client meeting and forgot a crucial presentation or contract back on my PC, though, I would quickly consider it $30 well spent to be able to connect and get what I need.
After downloading the app, I created a LogMeIn account, and installed the LogMeIn Free client software on my PC. With LogMeIn running and connected on the PC, I went to the iPad app to check it out.