Make Your iPad Work for You
Ever wanted to take mobile payments on your iPad or use the tablet as a brainstorming board? We selected 15 great iPad apps that can help you with your day-to-day business tasks, as well as some that will come in handy when you're stuck at the other end of the world.
Sorted | $1
Sorted is a beautiful task-management app with a simple and sleek interface that doesn't get in your way. You can add tasks easily just by tapping on the screen, and you can mark them as completed by swiping your finger across (you can even bring an item back by swiping again). The app can also manage multiple lists, add due dates, and apply color labels and notes.
Awesome Currency Calculator | $2
The Awesome Currency Calculator allows you to convert between 160 world currencies, and you can view your native currency and multiple foreign ones at the same time. The rates are constantly updated, and you can calculate tax and keep track of previous calculations. The attractive interface takes advantage of the iPad's larger screen, and the realistic, clinkety-clank audio effects add to the charm.
iBrainstorm | Free
A great and geeky way to interact with your colleagues is to use your iPad as an idea pad, with iBrainstorm. Using an iPhone companion app (free), team members can flick their notes straight onto the iPad screen (via seamless Bluetooth connection), and you can arrange or scrap them, as well as draw on the board underneath the stickies. Flicking notes onto the iPad is nearly instantaneous, and it makes the creative process fun.
Minimal Folio | $3
When you want to impress a potential client, turn to Minimal Folio. The simple and straightforward app allows you to easily add images, PDFs, and video via e-mail or iTunes, and arrange them into columns. You can then use the iPad as a sleek presentation tool--by swiping left or right between columns or up or down between items--and let your work speak for itself. You can put a presentation together in minutes. This app should be particularly useful to creative individuals.
iA Writer | $5
iA Writer goes beyond the minimal text-editing apps for the iPad by adding a few clever features. The text focus mode highlights the paragraph you are writing, while shading the rest of the text, to aid concentration; it also keeps count of the active words you've used and displays the total at the top. A reading-time indicator shows you how long a reader will take to get through a certain paragraph. The app's keyboard also adds an extra row of features on top of the standard layout, offering items such as the ability to move between words, arrow keys, and shortcuts to other punctuation marks.
Chimpadeedoo | Free
Next time you go to a conference or networking event, bring Chimpadeedoo. A kiosk-style app tied to the popular MailChimp e-mail marketing service, it allows you to gather e-mail addresses via an elegant interface on your iPad. You can customize the background and the text, and you can turn the iPad into a sign-up stand thanks to the screen-lock feature. The collected e-mail addresses transfer wirelessly to your MailChimp account, where you can manage your newsletter or marketing campaigns. The developers are looking into adding other data fields, as well.
iTranslate | Free
If you frequently travel to foreign countries for your job, then you know how handy a pocket dictionary can be. Sporting a simple yet beautiful interface, iTranslate can translate words and phrases into more than 50 languages. The translation is instant (as you type), and the app can even help you with pronunciation through 11 (slightly robotic-sounding) text-to-speech voices for popular languages. Your translations automatically save into language pair lists, and the app can detect the language you type in. As for accuracy, on basic language it works well; but on extended, more-complex wording, it can miss the mark.
Cisco WebEx | Free
Corporate folk will be glad to hear that Cisco has launched an iPad client for its WebEx conference software, which handles data and audio simultaneously (no video, however, as the iPad has no camera). You can follow presentations live, chat with everyone in the conference, and even request a callback on your phone from within the app. Video is fluid over Wi-Fi and works over 3G, too, though at a lower resolution.
Square | Free
Turn your iPad into a mobile point of sale with the Square app. It has a beautiful, polished interface, and it allows you to accept card payments for your business wherever you are. You can easily keep a library of items you sell regularly, take tips, and even accept cash payments in seconds. Tax and fees are sorted online, and you need to order a free Square card reader to authenticate cards.
Dropbox | Free
Dropbox is a cloud-storage utility that allows you to keep your files in sync among several devices and computers. The iPad version not only lets you access your stored photos and videos but also gives you the option to open various types of files in other, Dropbox-enabled iPad apps. You can share any Dropbox files via e-mail, too, or mark certain files as favorites so that they're stored locally for fast viewing. You get 2GB of free storage, and Dropbox has several upgrade options available.
Evernote | Free
Have you ever had a great idea that you promptly forgot? You didn't use Evernote. This free app is a great visual way to remember anything and everything that happens in your life. You can take audio notes, screenshots, or text snippets from documents. The great thing is that Evernote syncs all that data with your computer--and since it also has a Web version, you can stay in the loop everywhere.
LogMeIn Ignition | $30
Just because you're not at work, that doesn't mean you can't control your computer. LogMeIn Ignition is a great way to access your home or office computer (PC or Mac, additional free software download required) from your iPad, and to view any document or file remotely. Aside from its practical business use, LogMeIn can also keep you entertained, such as if you want to play Flash games from a remote computer. The connection is fluid over Wi-Fi, and LogMeIn has an edge over other VNC (virtual network computing) clients thanks to its quick setup process and its stability.
SAP Business Objects Explorer | Free
If your company uses SAP to record business information, you need SAP Business Objects Explorer on your iPad. Instead of having to scroll through numerous sheets of numbers, you can view the data visually, or in nicely bundled data sets. The next time you visit a customer, whip out your iPad, and you can answer any off-the-cuff questions just by typing in a few keywords.
FlightTrack Pro | $10
Monitor your flight in style with FlightTrack Pro. The data imports automatically from airline e-mail confirmations (TripIt online account registration required), and the app creates flight-itinerary maps that even work offline. The app can send you push alerts with any flight changes, sync with the iPad calendar, and give you weather radar imagery and forecasts, covering over 400 airports worldwide. If you travel by air for business, FlightTrack is the most full-featured flight-tracking app.
Apple’s Own iPad Apps (Beyond the Obvious)
Apple created a terrific set of business apps for the iPad, in the form of its iWork productivity suite. The three apps--Pages, Numbers, and Keynote ($10 each)--are fantastic renditions of their desktop siblings, and Apple put a lot of effort into making them touch-friendly. All the apps can read and export files from their respective Microsoft Office counterparts (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and they're the best apps of their kind in the App Store due to Apple's attention to detail. For more, read the full review of iWork for iPad.