iPad optimize

10 iPad business apps worth loading

How business-friendly is the iPad? Pretty darn friendly, says one IT consultant -- as long as you load the right apps.

You've read all about how Apple's iPad will revolutionize computing. But how can it really help you work? Here are 10 iPad business applications you can load to start working smarter, become more efficient, and simplify your workday.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Pages

Part of Apple's iWork Suite, this $10 app is a must for new iPad owners. With the Pages word processor installed, you can create professional-grade documents, brochures, and reports. Pages also lets you open and edit Microsoft Word documents and save Pages documents as Word or PDF files. In addition, Pages enables you to share files between the iPad and Windows/Mac machines using iTunes.

2: Numbers

Apple's $10 spreadsheet application lets you create attractive spreadsheets that can process more than 250 functions. You can also open and edit Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and export spreadsheets as Numbers '09 or PDF files. Like Pages, Numbers allows you to share spreadsheet files between the iPad and Windows/Mac systems via iTunes.

3: Dropbox

A necessity for technology consultants, Dropbox (the free iPhone version works on the iPad), enables sharing files via the cloud. My office uses Dropbox to share critical information among various engineers. Regardless of whether the engineer is carrying a Windows laptop, using a Mac, sporting an iPhone, or toting an iPad, Dropbox lets us share files between multiple users using multiple platforms.

4: The Wall Street Journal

An undisputed authority for market and business news, The Wall Street Journal's iPad app is specially designed to maximize the iPad's multimedia features. Videos and slideshows are free to view, as are market data, customized stock lists, and regularly updated news articles.

5: TweetDeck for iPad

If your organization uses Twitter in any marketing, communications, or public relations capacity, your iPad users can leverage the free TweetDeck for iPad app to manage multiple accounts simultaneously. TweetDeck's multiple-column format makes it easy to monitor friends' tweets, direct messages, and mentions.

6: Desktop Connect

Antecea Inc.'s $11.99 Desktop Connect application provides you with Windows Remote Desktop Connection or VNC access to remote computers, including Macs. Supported operating systems include Windows XP Professional; Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate; Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate; and Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard.

7: WebEx for iPad

Cisco's free WebEx for iPad lets you attend WebEx meetings, complete with simultaneous data and audio feeds. But there's one catch: To schedule a WebEx meeting, you need a WebEx subscription and you must start the meeting from your PC or Mac. Fortunately, other applications (such as Desktop Connect) let you connect to full-fledged desktops from the iPad.

8: KAYAK Flights

This free iPad app simplifies traveling for mobile employees. Using KAYAK Flights, traveling staff can search for the most appropriate flights and pricing information that best match their schedule and budget. KAYAK Flights also returns hotel options, complete with pricing and traveler ratings.

9: Dictionary & Thesaurus

Dictionary.com's Dictionary and Thesaurus are proven tools for professional business users. Now the power of these two common business resources can be parked on the iPad. Some one million words and definitions based upon the Random House Unabridged Dictionary are included, while the Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus boasts more than 90,000 synonyms. Another benefit is that no Internet connection is required to access the powerful word databases; the free application includes the information within its approximately 44MB file.

10: LogMeIn Ignition

IT professionals are no strangers to LogMeIn's outstanding remote access utilities, which require no firewall tweaks or convoluted setup. LogMeIn Ignition, available for $29.99, provides you with a single application designed for connecting to Logmein Pro- and LogMeIn Free-connected systems. Automatic settings help optimize performance and display, making it easy for you to connect to remote systems using your Internet-connected iPad.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

61 comments
Leova2
Leova2

I use Beesy for now 2 months. It's pretty good for my everyday work. I'm very satisfy with all the features such as note taking, ToDo list, calendar. Very good work from this developper. http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-ipad-to-do/

deeme123
deeme123

I agree with the excellence of Dragon Dictate. As a professor of ballet, I use it during studio and stage rehearsals. Even with french terminology, it does a great job of translating my rehearsal notes into immediate rehearsal corrections. Downloaded originally for administrative dictation, this app has become one of my most used. I even use it to make a To Do or grocery list while driving. Just sit it in the passenger seat and talk--hands-free with an immediately usable list. Absolutely worth having.

Reptevye
Reptevye

I have begun using Dragon Dictate for taking notes, recording meetings, etc while having it tramscribe for me nearly flawlessly saving me untold amounts of tiime having to type things and be able to export to numerous apps like Evernote, Mobilenoter, etc. ??The only paid portion is for transcribing for SMS am email, nut even this can be gotten around by taking your transcribedn messages and copy them to your SMS and/or your email client and copy it into there...it's seamless and the voice recognition I'd incredible. ??A must have business app and one I recommend strrongly. ??Check it out, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. ??Also avaiable for the iPhone...and speaking of the iPhone, another app I'd recommend is which is also s voice recognition app that allows you to use simple one or two word commands to do such things as dial a contact by name (I.e. "Dial Diane", search the web by saying "Search SQL Server Business Intelligence" and many more. ??Definitely with a look....

Bscgroup
Bscgroup

Hi, you don't speak about "Balanced Scorecard for iPad" , one of the best tool of BI for iPad, you can create your own dashboard to control your business in minutes. Very Useful! I recommended it.

Kh.Ozman
Kh.Ozman

I would suggest adding Banckle Remote Access http://banckle.com/apps/remote-access/default.html to the above iPad tools list. This business application is free, light-weight, fast and allows you to provide remote customer assistance and remote desktop accessing anytime, from anywhere.

pete
pete

Of course you missed THE most important business tool of the lot - Goodreader - with which you can access a variety of business documents over the business Intranet or other means - and read them. Without this the iPAD would not be half as useful. I'd scrap the wall street Journal because at least in the UK, the BBC website is a simple web page and much more useful.

michael.biddulph
michael.biddulph

Check out Infinote for iPad - great application for organising your notes and projects.

SR5
SR5

I simply love the idea of the tweetdeck, kayak flights & dropbox. The dropbox will save a lot of people a lot of time...remeber those days of telnet & ftp... www.hostcats.com

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

Those who think tweetdeck is a top business app need to get to work. Not sure about the rest of you but as a systems administrator I do not have time to be on twitter at work.

Thomas907
Thomas907

I seems to me that you should include a mileage log in their somewhere.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

buy apps from an app store to make a glorified, overpriced, oversized ipod device have the same functionality that a netbook has with free apps??? Just because it's made by apple

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

now how can I use my companies swf reporting tool?

FAST!!!
FAST!!!

I am sick and tired of everyone going gaga over this toy! A big iPhone that can't be used as a phone. I don't get it...

Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast

Personally my iPad has the following: 1. Freeping (essential) 2. iSSH (iPad version) 3. WinAdmin RDP client (tried the others, I prefer this) 4. Speed Test (speedtest.net iPhone app) 5. GoToMeeting iPad client Tried iTap and Mocha VNC on the iPad and neither do it for me, but hey, choice is a good thing. Andy

valerio
valerio

I don't know how the iTap RDP Client is on the iPad, they've just updated the app to support it's native resolution, however even if it is the exactly same app as the iPhone's with 1024x768 then it's the only RDP client you will ever need. It's just so intuitive to use that it blows your brain. Also I've tried a fair share of VNC clients on the iPhone and the only one that does it for me is Real VNC. It's the only one, last time I checked, that supports Active Directory authentication on the iPhone app. These two apps are a must for me and one of the main reasons I'm getting an iPad even though I'm not sure if Real VNC has an iPad aware/ready application. Also the iWorks will do the trick as soon as they support printing.

playingwithplato
playingwithplato

WSJ app for the iPAD is NOT a must have application for the iPAD. It is a waste of money. It runs $18 whereas you can get the paper version (better) and access to the online version (at which the iPad allegedly excels) for about $10. iPad is a platform for Jobs to attempt wholesale media price fixing. ha ha

pete
pete

The problem with every note package I've seen - is backup. With Microsoft notes in Exchange, despite being terminally boring and simple, you can sync with all your devices and hence be sure you'll never use them. Using a package without such a sync setup is to me, suicidal.

wes
wes

Is Infinote a worthy replacement in terms of functionalty to OneNote?

DJWebYC
DJWebYC

If you're in Tech Sales or services, Yes. other than that? Not on your life.

OdyG
OdyG

PS - My medication line was meant as a joke. Hence, the "it worked for me" line. If you don't like Apple, fine. no prob, just don't understand the vitriol. Let those people who aren't in your business have whatever. I don't care if you drive a hummer (if you drive one) even though I hate those things but I believe in your right to have one. Right? Hey, and I'm not trying to pick a fight, just talking. Oh and I agree TweetDeck as a business app? I call BS. We use Yammer in the enterprise.

OdyG
OdyG

Don't buy it then. You will be free of that worry. I find utility in the product. You may not. I have Ubuntu Karmic Netbook remix on my Aspire One with he free book reader app and must say it's not a joy to use. The iPad is much more useable for reading medical textbooks. RDP through our Citrix farm? Both the netbook and the iPad work well for that, both better than an iPod touch. If you don't want to support Apple, great. I think they have serious flaws in their business model, namely keeping tight control on the app channel, but as an IT exec, I would be stupid not to analyze and examine all the big players out there. I run MS/Apple/Linux/Solaris depending on need. Why would you purposely avoid a product wherein your knowledge might help your clients? Simply out of dislike for all the Mac fanboys? Isn't that like cutting off your nose to spite your face? What if a client wanted you to assist in the implementation enterprise-wide? Would you say, "no thanks, I think they're glorified iPods. I'll pass"

Mark_SERS
Mark_SERS

The freeware and shareware for Windows have a more lower quality to them. I am amazed at the high quality of the free iPad apps. Apple efforts toward quality seem to really payoff and the App store is part of their quality. I also like the one stop shopping for Apps, very easy and simple. The App store is a great idea!

pete
pete

Have you actually used one of these... doesn't everyone get sick and tired of people passing comments without actually trying things out. That's like saying a PC is like a smartphone only bigger.

EntecRob
EntecRob

A very easily portable internet device WITHOUT the annoyance of a mobile phone, what is NOT to get ?? I've been in IT for 20 years and I still don't own a mobile (well I had one for internet access to check emails, but surfing was annoying), now I can get rid of the mobile (which you can't use in most server rooms anyways) and have a device which gives me access to remote PC / Server and Mr Google to check those questions you get stuck on ... and no one can annoy me by calling me. I'm either driving (and don't want the annoyance of a phone) or in a server room (where I can't have my mobile on) ... Easy choice :) Go Geeks

OdyG
OdyG

As someone else said, don't post if you have nothing to add. It does nothing to dissuade us from our thoughts. So you say it's nothing but a large iPod Touch. fair enough. It's a shortsighted person who CAN'T see the benefits of an iPod touch with a bigger screen. I can see my Citrix apps in full size, I can read my medical textbooks (which saves me over 100 lbs of lifting) with search capabilities, I can SEE X-RAY results more clearly (you really want to see a CT scan on a regular sized iPod touch? Hmm?) and, I can take notes at a meeting more easily than with the Ipod touch. I can see patients with the iPad FOR A FRACTION of the cost of a tablet. Not for business? Maybe not in your business, but the medical field is definitely on board. You do yourself a disservice by posting things like this.

GoboSlayer
GoboSlayer

And somehow, TweetDeck is one of the top 10 business apps for the iPad?

WLaddR
WLaddR

why waste your, and our, time reading these discussions and posting replies that don't contribute to the subject? Obviously this is a discussion for people who have found the iPad to be useful and wish to pass on their experiences.

JonGauntt
JonGauntt

If you don't get it, how can you say that it isn't for business? "Business" is a very broad term and there are lots of them that will soon be using iPads. Why don't people spend time actually investigating something instead of just replying with a knee-jerk reaction? Quality applications, excellent support, intuitive interface, crystal clear clarity (assuming you don't eat near the device) and a great pool of developers. You don't get that just everywhere... spend some time with your flavor of Linux and see how long it can take to setup even a single app, or put a legacy printer on a brand new PC. Some even believe that the limited environment is helpful in a business environment (unless you do your own coding), though I wish it could be limited more. Non-technical people are drawn to easy to use devices. I can't tell you how many customers have ordered new PCs and were ready to ship it back to Dell because they didn't know how to install a driver (heck, I've been tempted to a couple of times). Granted, if you give this to someone that has never used an iPhone/iPod then you will have to do a bit of education (even if you just point them to the Apple website), but not only is it generally easy to figure out, but they feel instantly successful with it, something that both Microsoft and Linux could learn a lot about (not to mention Adobe). For a typical business, this won't have a ton of affect, but when the VP gets one, the store managers want to try it out, then half of them get one, and they show it to their sales people, then half of them want one. Soon you are supporting them in "Business".

ErikRichter
ErikRichter

Admittedly, I am an Apple fan. That being said, I didn't understand the fascination with the device when it was announced either. Once I spent a little time using one, though, I saw what everyone was drawn to and ended up buying one myself. Like the iPhone, the true utility of the iPad is in the apps. There are already dozens of killer apps in the store, and once the developers get a handle on the ins and outs of the device, we're going to see some truly awesome functionality emerge.

MrRich
MrRich

The thing is a lot of postings on this thing have been "I don't get it" kinds of postings. Definitely the jury is out until the thing gets beyond early adopters. It doesn't replace a laptop and isn't intended to - even Apple sells laptops! Its more of a Netbook niche play. Great for when you are on the road and you don't want to carry a ton of bricks. Give me RDP and I don't care what is in the box. As another poster said here, choice is good. Eventually they'll make it a very heavy phone, or at least we will have Skype. Richie

pete
pete

There is a package called mobilenoter which, while far from perfect allows sync between onenote and the iPAD - that to me seems a very sensible way to go!

michael.biddulph
michael.biddulph

I think it is quite a different concept from OneNote but you need to try it and make up your own mind really. For a couple of dollars, what's to stop you! http://www.infinoteapp.com/ By the way, I have to confess that I am the father of the developer but that doesn't lessen the goodness :)

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

Because they are not secure enough for my environment.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

30 bucks for logmein.com app? Logmein.com is free for windows devices. Where is your evidence that apple apps are higher quality and more reliable than windows apps. That is nothing more than your opinion as there is no proof to back up that claim. Apps that cannot run in the background are not better. I am not seeing this effort towards quality out of Apple. The iphone is just one big security vulnerability.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

will blow this iPad toy away. Hmmmm how to be innovative....lets take an old product and make it bigger then give it a new name where the second letter is capitalized. I'm sure the iPad will be a success because there are too many people who will buy it just because it is an Apple and that's ok too.

FAST!!!
FAST!!!

Welcome to free speech buddy. Consider this a tea party movement for those of us who think these toys are a waste of productivity in business.

sperry532
sperry532

I do a lot of running-around-with-pen-and-paper work which then has to be transferred to a word processor and/or a spreadsheet. Carrying a notebook, or even a netbook simply isn't viable. Using a slate device is a reasonable alternative. My work can be directly entered into an electronic form and I can transfer the file to my tower for the heavy-lifting part. BUT. It has to have stylus input/writing recognition for that to work. The iPad doesn't have it yet. When it does, I am so there!

pete
pete

Almost everyone who's had a go at the iPAD that I've come across hasn't actually used one. I am NOT an Apple fan by any means and their draconian control is horrendous - but their mobile designs including iPhone and iPAD are the BEST. I'd make one comment about each (1) the iPhone is great at everything but it's range as a phone is awful, a common issue with smartphones - someone from a real phone company needs to help out there and (b) why on EARTH didn't they put a camera in the iPAD. Other than that I'm happy and I use both for business constantly. I've had the iPAd since it first came out in the states, using it in the UK and it's fine - EXCELLENT for reading documents, agendas etc.

msteudel
msteudel

You can already do skype on it ... or did you mean with the 3g version?

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

of health care education allows them. You have nothing to lose when they get compromised. My company does. Therapy or medication for my anger? Is this a sales pitch with you being in health care? Anger.. yes. My anger stems from people falling head over heals for a mediocre(at best) device that if it didn't have that little apple logo on it would have been completely ignored by consumers.

OdyG
OdyG

My initial response was directed at YOUR comment that you didn't have to worry about it. Now you come back that you do need to worry about it. You aren't getting one, you won't support one and it isn"t your company that's using one. Peopleat the DOJ, DOD, IRS, and business have all lost laptops before, all with unencrypted data. Proof that even if the tools are there, people don't use them; moreover, I would worry more about insecure or compromised web sites than from an imagined loss of an iPad causing a breech in security. As for the toy comment, call it whatever *shrugs* my business (health care education) will use it. No worries. PS I sense some anger in your posts. Have you considered therapy or medication? Worked for me! ;p

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

As an American consumer I fear the day one of these insecure ipads that have no capability of encrypting it's memory is stolen and has apps loaded on it that allow access to a company's customer information. This TOY is a step backwards in the fight against identity theft.

OdyG
OdyG

Good for you then. One less worry for you.

OdyG
OdyG

I couldn't tell if Citrix was developing an app for this or if medical textbook publishers would have a distribution channel for it. Those are big reasons we looked to the iPad. Thanks for the tip tho.

pete
pete

I think using a stylus on the iPAD would be a backward step, it's designed not to need one. I bought a couple of typical designs - piece of foam on the end - they are awful and I binned them immediately.

Mark_SERS
Mark_SERS

There are already stylus available that can be used. Several Apple store employees were using them when I was there. I don't recall the brand. I own a iPad and so far I don't see a need for stylus, although somebody that has to wear gloves while working would want a stylus.