iPad for Small Business?

Most people would agree that the iPad is a great piece of technology and really fun to play with, but is it a worthy investment for small business owners? Does it have enough features to compete with or replace a laptop or notebook computer? Could the iPad be the “Swiss army knife for businesses” or is it just another toy in a pretty package?

Here’s a list of tools and features that help set the iPad apart and justify its place in business;

  1. Portability/Mobility – The iPad is smaller than most laptops and lighter weight. Therefore, it becomes more convenient to carry on trips or to business meetings. This also makes it a great tool for presentations, because you can hold it in one hand, allowing for more instructional mobility
  2. Touch Technology – The touch screen of the iPad means less moving parts and gadgets to contend with, it’s more self contained, and has fewer accessories to buy. However if you want the attachments, Apple has made a Bluetooth key board and mouse for your convenience.
  3. Longevity – The iPad has a 10 hour battery life! This is much better than most laptops. No outlet searching needed when you’re on the road. Based on Apple’s track record with previous devices (iPod, iPhone) we assume that the iPad will also maintain its battery life longer than a typical laptop.
  4. Apps – The notorious Applications that developers have created for the iPhone and iPod are also available for the iPad. Apps allow easy ‘one touch’ access to commonly used programs and sites, and apps are generally faster than accessing traditional websites. For example, There are many social media apps that allow you to integrate various sites, reading apps that allow you to access news and information, media and video apps that allow you to be entertained and educated… the possibilities are nearly endless (as endless as the developers and users creativity). As a matter of fact, there are also many industry specific apps that help to make professionals and business owners more efficient.
  5. Reader– The iPad is a digital reader, i.e. a digital book, allowing for reading books and magazines without creating any paper waste. The handheld format and screen lock feature make the iPad a much better choose than a traditional laptop. And the versitility of the iPad make it a better choice than other readers, such as the Kindle. The iPad has the iBook store, as well as other options for downloading entire novels and reference books, and while the concept of carrying a library in the palm of your hand is amazing enough, it also allows you to search within books, change the font, change the pages colors, magnify text, etc…
  6. Digital Frame – One of the less notable features is that it also doubles as a digital photo frame. This may seem trivial, but think of the marketing possibilities… the iPad provides a much sleeker form of digital advertising for trade shows and presentations in comparison to most laptops.

Here is a list of items and features that the iPad still needs in order to truly contend with a traditional laptop or netbook;

  1. Camera – The iPad desperately needs at least 1, maybe even 2 cameras, with video capability. I think most people would agree that this will probably be a feature of the 2nd or 3rd generation.
  2. USB – At least 1 USB port would be nice. USB connectors have become rather universal, so a USB port on the iPad would certainly increase its usefulness and ability to compete with a traditional laptop/netbook.
  3. Apps – Developers still need to make more apps that are specifically for the iPad to increase the functionality. Apps are a huge asset to the Apple products, and the more there are the more the product is an asset to potential buyers.
  4. Flash – Many websites currently use flash technology, unfortunately Apple does not support this. Apple uses HTML5, while this may be superior, it does not change the fact that I can not view some sites on my iPad or iPhone. It may only be a matter of time before websites switch entirely to HTML5, but until then, I seem to need my PC.

On Friday May 21st, I won a 16GB WiFi iPad from Oxford Networks at the Maine Business Technology Expo. So, After 2 months of guilt free exploration, here’s my review of this device… All in all, I have to say that the iPad is a great business tool! And it will only get better with more time and technology changes.

Have your own thoughts about the iPad? Need more information? Leave a comment or Contact Office Solutions ME!

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