Back in September of 2010 I blogged about my first iPad. In fact I was so satisfied with it that six months ago I purchased the iPad2. When I wrote about the original iPad, I exhorted its values for business and, in particular, knowledge management and gave a few tips on my favourite Apps at the time.
Now six months in with the iPad2 I can only report utter satisfaction and I highly recommend it. I also thought that it warranted another blog entry from a knowledge management and social media perspective.
Consumption v creation
There has been a lot of talk about the iPad being a device for ‘consumption’ rather than ‘creation’. Frankly, I am baffled by this assertion and that is why this is my first topic today. Personally, I find the iPad very well designed and suited for creation. Here are just a few App tips in order to dispel this myth.
The WordPress App (iTunes) helps me to maintain and update this very blog. The App provides me with on-the-go access to update or create entries in my WordPress blog. With the iPad I have the ability to do this quickly and efficiently whether at home, at the office or in transit without the need to lag a laptop or a notebook around. As the iPad takes up the space of a thin A5-sized notebook, this is invaluable, especially when on-the go!
… but what about that impossible to use virtual keyboard?!
I heard many complaints about the virtual keyboard of the iPad being inconvenient and hard to use and I think this issue is best addressed upfront. Personally I have never experienced any issues and have been able to turn out even large entries and documents with ease and speed. In fact, especially when in transit, I found the iPad’s virtual keyboard most convenient due to its relatively compact size yet surprising agility and functionality.
Let’s talk about Noteshelf (iTunes) next! If you are like me and you work on multiple projects and with multiple cross-departmental teams, it is likely that you are lagging around multiple notebooks for each of your projects, juggling between them and wishing that there was a better way. There is … it’s called Noteshelf.
All you need is an iPad compatible stylus (which are readily available online, some even combined with an ordinary pen for the ultimate convenience!) and this App puts as many notebooks in your already compact iPad as you can dream of; each available at your fingertip at a moments notice.
It is quite miraculous … you simply use the stylus to write on the screen of your iPad as you would in a notebook and it is captured in electronic format which you can easily manage on your iPad. You can back up your notebooks and you can print or email pages or entire notebooks in PDF format or as an image to yourself, your secretary or your colleagues from anywhere in the world.
Also, unlike with most ordinary notebooks, you can rearrange pages, add in new pages wherever you wish and the App also offers a very handy copy and paste option among many other handy features.
Pages & Keynote
The Pages (iTunes) and Keynote (iTunes) Apps are the Apple equivalent on the iPad of Microsoft’s Word and PowerPoint software. These Apps enable you to review, update or even prepare from scratch professional documents and presentations on the run.
The Apps sync with Apple’s iDisk (soon with the new iCloud) for backing up your work and also handle documents prepared in Word or PowerPoint!
You can even carry a tiny adapter cable in your bag that will link your iPad to any projector, enabling you to give your presentation directly from your iPad.
And, if you are really prepared to get on your colleagues’ nerves or amaze them, depending entirely on how they choose to react, you can even use your iPhone as a remote for running the presentation from your iPad, provided that you can link to the same wi-fi network with both device (which is quite easy these days with the availability of affordable and tiny mobile wi-fi devices such as Telstra’s Ultimate Wi-Fi or NetComm’s MyZone device).
Consumption on your iPad … is it really such a bad thing?!
Finally, back to the concept of consumption on the iPad which, for reasons that escape me, are derided by many. I do consume a lot of social media on my iPad, but I consider it all essential business tools. Let’s have a quick look at my favourite Apps in this category.
For some reason many people think of Twitter as the equivalent of a bunch of noisy school kids gossiping at the back of the bus. If you are one of those people, I have news for you! Twitter (iTunes) is a fantastic, free news and current awareness service!
For example, my Twitter feed provides me with free, up-to-date news feed around the clock from The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC News, Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, LexisNexis, TimeBase, Boardroom Radio and CCH Australia just to mention a few.
Reeder (iTunes) is a fantastic App that provides an outstanding iPad friendly streamlined interface for Google Reader and Alerts. All you need to do is to set up your RSS and other feeds to run into Google Reader and feed your Google Alerts into Google Reader and the Reeder App will bring them together into a simple, magazine style, up-to-date 24/7 information feed.
In my case these feeds include updates from the various Supreme Courts, Federal Courts, various regulatory bodies, such as ACCC, ASIC and APRA, current awareness alerts from Thomson Reuters Australia and other legal information providers and Google Alerts on topics ranging from class action to international arbitration.
One thing I can be sure of: if anything of interest to me happens anywhere in the world, I will know about it within minutes it hits the newswires … and for a knowledge professional timely information is essential.
Safari and Mail
No review of the iPad would be complete without mentioning the convenience of having a fully functional browser (Safari) and a good email program on hand combined with the convenience of a 10 inch screen and the virtual keyboard. If you ever tried to browse the internet or manage your emails on a Blackberry or even an iPhone while in transit, you will sing the praises of the iPad’s functionality once you tried these features!
Finally, one must mention FaceTime, which is perhaps the most under-appreciated iPad/iPhone offerings. However, if you travel frequently or spend long hours in the office, the ability to make video-calls to your loved ones with the ease, quality and reliability which FaceTime provides, is simply priceless. For now you need to have a wi-fi connection for this functionality, however rumours are that the upcoming iOS5, which is expected to be released later this month, will bring this function to 3G!
Overall, the iPad is an outstanding business, knowledge and social media tool, currently without compare, which offers true mobility, convenience and practical convergence for the busy and overtasked professional.