First things first, the iPad is more than just a toy or some new shiny gadget to show of to your friends, it's also a tool. Sure you can play games, watch videos, surf the web and read books but for the price you've paid for your iPad shouldn't it help make some of that money back? We can all benefit from increased productivity and the iPad can give us that with the help of some great apps. Let me ask you a few questions:
Would you like to take notes ONCE and have access to them anywhere?
Would you like to limit the amount of reports you print?
Would you like to manage your tasks on the go?
Would you like access to your desktop wherever you go?
Would you like to not to type so much?
If your answered YES to any of these keep reading and I will try to make this as concise as possible so you can get back to work.
The very first app you should get is Evernote. This has replaced my traditional note pad and pen for one major reason; I only have to take notes once. I always hated jotting down notes during meetings and having to transcribe them later on to my PC for meeting minutes or to send them in emails. Then if I wanted to the ability to use them while away from my PC I would either have to email myself copies or VPN to access them. With Evernote I can access my notes from my iPad, my iPhone, my work PC, or my home computer. No, it's not magic, you will have to install Evernote onto your other devices and sync your account. Once you've installed and synced you can start taking notes and organize them in the cloud.
Ahh reports, the amount of money wasted on printing reports is mind-blowing. Just today the facilities manager at my company divulged the amount of money that's spent printing out color reports and I thought my head would explode. "WHY!?", I wanted to scream. For a year's worth of color prints, my company could buy everyone in our facility an iPad. Then, pay zero dollars on Dropbox and boom, you can have beautiful color reports on the go without killing trees. Wether your reports are on Word, PDF, Excel, or any number of other file types you can use them on Dropbox right on your iPad. Like with Evernote you will have to do a little work setting things up on your PC to get your reports in so you can reach it but, once you are up and running you will save time and trees. Also, Dropbox isn't limited to just documents, you can use it to store audio, video and images as well.
3.Task Task HD
If you're like me you have a lot of requests from a lot of people. Personally I painstakingly triage the requests sent to me to diagnose what is the greatest need versus what is just a frivolous request. Working for a company that uses MS Outlook I use the built-in Tasks to handle this and unfortunately (as of now) you can't sync that through the iPad along with your mail, contacts and calendar. To fill in this gap I use, Task Task HD (Exchange tasks). The app allows me to not only to see what tasks are coming due and their severity but, also lets me update them while I'm away from my work terminal. It seamlessly syncs your tasks so you are always up to date with what needs doing. Currently I have 32 pending action items, I better wrap this article up and get back to work.
Sometimes, I just need access to my PC directly and for that I use RDP lite. It allows me to get access to my computer remotely without having to lug a laptop with me. The interface is simple and intuitive. So whether you are digging for a file you buried or you just miss your desktop background RDP lite is an inexpensive way to give that access. As a disclaimer, based on how your MS exchange server is set-up this could be difficult to connect but if you are like me you make friendly with your IT helpdesk, they will square you away.
So, you hate typing and love to talk, try out the Dragon Diction app. This app will allow you to speak into the microphone of your iPad and will dictate exactly what you say. It is absolutely brilliant. While I prefer to type over dictating I have given the app several tests. In one such test I had a few martinis and combined with my North Shore Massachusetts accent it was able to record my speech into text with remarkable accuracy. Once your speech is in text format you can copy and paste it to whatever app you would like. If you are a better speaker than typist, this one is a no brainer.
In conclusion, I'm the type that likes to get things done and I'm willing to harness technology to do so. Some of these apps may work for you and some might not, but give them a good honest chance. Your diligence could pay off and streamline your workflow or just help you disseminate information quicker. It's well worth a shot. Also, all the apps except Task Task HD are FREE! You would be crazy not to try them out.
This article is an overview of the productivity apps for iPad I use but if anyone would like more in-depth tutorials on how I use them please let me know and I will write one up. Also, if you have any productivity app suggestions for me I would greatly appreciate it.