There’s a lot of hype about the iPad. Great marketing from Apple about its latest wonderful hardware creation. A technological marvel for sure BUT is it useful for business professionals?
To get an understanding both of the tool and its capabilities, I had to get one, which I did after a lot of research on the net, reading magazines and visiting Apple shops. I am writing this article on the iPad on one of the many downloaded tool (apps). I bought a 16GB WiFi model not the 3G model. The base version to my mind has to be capable of delivering a business result. If its not then it doesn’t matter which version you buy, the outcome will be the same.
There are some basic functions that you want on the road:
- Access to your documents
- Create, edit documents
- Access to the internet without the 3G version and now wifi
Before we get too fancy in our requirements lets examine each of these basic needs.
The built in email system, similar to Apple Mail and the iPhone version, is a good email client. Sure it misses some features from desktop clients but it works well. Especially if you combine it with GoodReader / QuickOffice / DocsToGo or similar programs to work with attachments. There are free versions of these programs which have some restrictions.
There are some paid for email apps, I’ve tried Altamail and found it to have good features. EXCEPT for send mail where it got stuck more often than not. The ability to flag bulk changes is a real bonus in this app.
The iPad comes with Safari, a perfectly adequate browser. It can sync bookmarks with its desktop brother and allows you to have many browser windows open simultaneously. Of course it can’t render flash content, the bug bear of many, Many, MANY iPad and iPhone users. I wont rant about this here, but its a major shortcoming from a business and end user perspective.
There area range of browser alternatives on the iPad becoming available from the App Store, Mercury and Atomic to mention just two. The 3rd party apps, all have their own tweaks and focus to improve your browsing experience. To help overcome the Flash limitation, I tried two approaches:
- Access to hosted desktop
- Jailbreaking and installing Frash
There’s a new app on the iPad called iSwifter which does the job very well, not a free app but with the money and even on my iPad-1 its performance is quite satisfactory.
To be continued…