The invention of the Apple iPad was a revolution in how presentations and things were done without being constrained to a desktop computer. Being mobile has really helped change the way we do business and while there are a plethora of tablet devices out there like the Samsung Galaxy S, the HP TouchPad (okay, not really), Motorola Xoom, Blackberry Playbook, and the Sony Tablet S, the main one when people think about tablets is the pioneer: Apple’s iPad. And with a huge selection of applications at their disposal, it’s no wonder why businesses are branching out and giving their employees these devices so they don’t have to be confined to one area and don’t have to lug around their laptops. Because, c’mon, let’s face it…carrying around an iPad is much easier than a 10 lb laptop that probably has a really short battery life and takes a while for it to boot up. Plus it also winds up using a lot of space, especially when you travel. The iPad (and other tablets) are small, sleak, and have a WOW factor when you want to give presentations, demos, or need to do business on the road.
I, personally, picked up an iPad a few weeks ago mainly as a portfolio piece and have found that it is definitely a really great device for doing business, whether it’s for sales or liveblogging a conference or panel, posting tweets or chatting on Skype and picking up important information – however you use it, I’m sure that your productivity will benefit from having these devices instead of a netbook. And let’s face it, the netbook era is over and dead.
So with all of that being said, I thought I would highlight five useful applications that every marketer should have on their iPad to help better communicate with their customers and co-workers.
If you’re going to be mobile, you’re going to want to communicate with people on your iPad. And since there’s no app currently for Google Talk, the next best thing is Skype. Besides, if you wanted to have video chat with people, it should be pretty easy to do with the iPad’s front-facing camera – it’ll make your life that much easier to do. Instant chat+video makes having to work remotely a piece of cake.
Since there’s no real easy way to share content from a iPad to other electronic devices – you can’t connect to a shared drive, the next best thing is Dropbox. Ideally if you want to send large files from one person to another that your email can’t handle, then why not post it to Dropbox and let that do the work for you? If you’re working remotely and want to have instant access to your information, presentations, materials, brochures, files relevant to your trip or travels, then post it on Dropbox and when you need it, just use the Dropbox app on your iPad and download it to your tablet device to show it off. It doesn’t have to be documents either…you can have videos and images live on there if you want without needing to clog up your iPad memory storage.
3. Bamboo Paper
Just because things are digital doesn’t mean that we still don’t need to jot down important notes once in a while. An iPad is essentially a digital notebook and what Bamboo Paper does is provide users with the means to jot down notes, reports, findings, or simply draw to their hearts content. Afterwards, you can email the pages to yourself or to a colleague for inclusion in a presentation or maybe to archive for later on. It’s one of the more eco-friendly ways of keeping track of what’s happening and there are multiple styles of paper you can have. The only downside is that while you’re using it, it functions best by having a stylus, although you can still use your finger to draw and take notes.
While Dropbox is a useful service to transfer large files back and forth, you’re going to need a storage area in the cloud where you can keep your notes, images, music and whatever digital files you might want to store safe. No, it’s not a FTP service, it’s Evernote and it’s a good place to take down quite pieces of information to review later on. If you’re in a presentation and someone has a slide you want to review later on, just take a photo and upload it to Evernote for later. You can even tag your notes for easy review and searches and it’s accessible both on your iPad, mobile device and even on the web itself so you won’t need to worry about the hassles of transferring information. It’s all stored in the cloud – one app to find it all. And now that it’s integrated with Skitch, you can take a screenshot of a webpage or mark up a photo or file and store it to Evernote for later viewing. It’s your virtual cabinet of content and works seamlessly on your tablet device.
While mobile, it would be great for marketers to keep in touch with what’s happening within their industry. Whether it’s politics, health, technology, news, lifestyles, etc., we can’t always rely on what’s happening on one website or newspaper. And I don’t think it would be good for people on the go to want to stop and pick up the latest Wall Street Journal or New York Times to find out what’s happening. And besides, those newspapers aren’t going to have a wide range of things that they cover. That’s where Flipboard comes in. This cool application is your online magazine that curates content from a myriad of sources and is a good way to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the world and in your industry. The best thing is that it’s free and updates in near real-time, if not automatically. You can share interesting articles and content with your co-workers or friends within Flipboard and if you have a different set of RSS feeds you want to keep track of, then this application will let you do that too – say all your health-related blogs can be fed into Flipboard keeping you up-to-date in a more visually appealing way instead of just opening up Google Reader.
There are many more applications that you should get for your iPad in order to help make you a more efficient marketer while you’re on the go, but the above five are a good starting point for helping you to do business. The best thing is that these are all free to use and to download. Depending on your role as a marketer (project manager, product marketing, market research, etc.), there’s bound to be an application that meets your specific needs.
So what are some other iPad applications you think you’d want to include in this list?