How does the iPad Mini rate as a business tablet? PC World's Tony Bradley recently tackled that topic in "Apple iPad Mini: All the iPad at (nearly) half the cost."
But let's forget cost for a minute. And size. And screen resolution. Those are important considerations, yes, but any tablet is only as good as the apps it can run. I suspect the truly smart shoppers out there are focused more on how the Mini can help them work smarter/faster/better, and not the number of pixels per inch the screen has.
With that in mind, I've rounded up five essential business apps for the iPad Mini. Of course, because the new tablet can run all the same apps is its bigger brethren, these are equally essential choices for all iPads.
1. Fuze Meeting
Fuze feels like the future has come to your iPad. With it you can host or join Web conferences, share and view documents and media, chat with co-workers, and so on. You can even use your finger as a "laser pointer." The app is free for sessions with up to two participants, and you can attend meetings for free without registering. Of course, you'll need a pro-level subscription to really make the most of it.
Text notes. Photo notes. Voice notes. The Evernote app lets you capture information in any form you want, then sync it back to your Web and/or desktop accounts—complete with location-specific geotags. Of course, you can access existing Evernote data as well. And stay tuned for Evernote 5 for iOS, which features a much-needed interface overhaul. In the meantime, check out "Three Smart Ways to Use Evernote in Business" and "How to Run Your Business in Evernote."
3. LogMeIn Free
LogMeIn Free is a terrific free service that provides remote access to other PCs. LogMeIn Free for iOS is the companion app that extends that accessibility to your iPad. This isn't just screen sharing, either: LogMeIn gives you total control over the remote system. That way you can grab a PowerPoint presentation from a thousand miles away, shut down the PC you left on at the office, or run a program that has no app equivalent.
4. Scanner Pro
Want to save a whiteboard diagram for future reference? Keep your receipts for the accounting department? Photocopy a document when there's no copier around? You can do all that and more with Scanner Pro, which can save and send documents in PDF and JPEG formats, upload "scans" to sites like Google Docs and Evernote, and use iCloud to sync everything across your devices. This ridiculously handy app sells for $6.99.
Hey, Dropbox. While you weren't looking, SugarSync ate your lunch. This cloud-storage tool, soon to get a major update, offers 5GB of free storage, while Dropbox still limits you to 2GB. The iPad app affords full access to your files, photos, and music (complete with streaming), and lets you easily share your stuff via email. But the biggest plus happens on the desktop: you can sync any file or folder, not just the ones you drag into a bucket.
What apps would you consider essential for the iPad Mini—or, for that matter, any iPad? Share your picks in the comments.