Tablets: Why you should pay attention

My core business applicationsA few months ago, like many others, I purchased an

Apple iPad.  I chose the Apple iPad because I already own an iPhone 4, an iPod Touch and an Apple TV. I wanted to be able to leverage the applications that I had already purchased on my iPhone and have something that would integrate well with my other devices.

I had decided that I was going to purchase the 64GB Wifi only model because I was concerned that I can’t upgrade the storage of the device (ie. no expansion slots) and I didn’t need the 3G communication capabilities because I could tether my iPad to my iPhone if I needed Internet connectivity but couldn’t find free Wifi.

Before I purchased the iPad I expected to use it mainly as a book reader, a way to showcase photographs and a more portable way to consume digital content.  Now, five months later, I am using it for all of the reasons I expected as well as for presenting slide shows, brainstorming, creating diagrams, project management, meeting minutes, website mockups, monitoring web sites, creating and editing documents (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint), interacting with Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), blogging (using the Squarespace app), education (Kelby Training), video creation, audio recording, and photo editing. 

I think the thing I find the most surprising is how much I use my iPad instead of my laptop.  I find that I can perform many core business functions just as well or more easily on my iPad.  I have access to all of my email accounts in a single view using the built in mail app and can schedule meetings or check my schedule via the calendar app.  I can create or modify Microsoft Office documents using the Documents to Go application or Office documents can be viewed using the built in viewer in Dropbox.

I quickly found that my concern about the inability to expand the storage of the iPad was unfounded.  Using Dropbox I can expand my storage as much as needed.  The key to managing the storage on an iPad is to keep as much as needed in the cloud.  Also, where possible, use services that are web based or have aweb interface in addition to a native IOS application.  This way you can access your data using a standard browser from any PC should you need to view or make changes to the data and the iPad interface is too limiting.  For example, there are times when I need to edit or view spreadsheets with multiple worksheets and each worksheet has a lot of data.  I can be awkward to view a large spreadsheet due to the amount of scrolling needed to get to the extreme edges of the data.

While I find that I use my iPad more often than my laptop, there are times when it makes more sense to work from my laptop.  There are some programs that just don’t exist on an iPad and some applications require more resources that what are available on an iPad.  I’m also not trying to suggest that anyone ditch their laptop or PC in favour of an iPad but you may want to look closely at how an iPad or any other tablet may improve your productivity.  Many articles have been written and will continue to be written about how tablets will replace laptops.  While tablets may not replace laptops or desktop PCs completely, it is very likely that there will be a tablet in your near future.