<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/4568617309_c506470a041.jpg”>The iPad continues to see record sales at the moment – with many iPad owners reporting that they love using their iPad to stream movies, play games and visit their social networks. It seems the iPad is getting quite a reputation as an entertainment-only device. Some techies and workaholics claim the iPad is totally useless as a business tool. In his article for PC World, David Coursey says the iPad has some potential in the business world, but as of now “it’s really not that much different from a really big iPod.”
Honestly, I see Coursey’s point – the iPad does have a way to go before it becomes an invaluable business tool. However, I think there are some excellent, free apps that make it very useful for the business world that are available for download right now.
Work with complex sets of data all day? Then you’re going to love Roambi. This free program takes data from multiple platforms (Excel, SAP Business Objects, Salesforce CRM) and turns them into interactive charts and graphs. Not only are these charts and graphs great looking but they make data analysis easier. The program is so impressive, show your boss this video of Roambi on the iPad, and you may convince your company to foot the bill for your new iPad!
WebEx is an awesome collaborative, online business meeting tool. WebEx is well known for its excellent content sharing features and is now available for the iPad. If WebEx meetings are a requirement of your work life, you can now join in on any meeting from anywhere you go with your iPad – great for business trips.
It’s completely free to join in on a meeting, but if you’re a business owner and want to host a meeting that’ll cost you a WebEx subscription.
Keep track of your debits and credits, calculate VAT, send invoices and generate reports with this easy accounting program for the iPad. Small business owners will love this app since they can keep track of all their transactions with a few taps of their finger and do so on the go as long as their iPad is in tow.
The first 100 transactions are free, but unlimited use will cost you a small one time fee.
Does your job require you to write important emails or reports on a regular basis? Then you can probably use iThesaurus Plus. It’s a basic app offering over 140,000 words with synonyms and antonyms, but one you’ll likely find yourself using frequently.
This brainstorming app turns the iPad into a digital whiteboard. A step by step process is illustrated for generating ideas and once the brainstorming process begins a spidergram is created. The lite version only allows for one spidergram at a time while the paid version allows for multiple spidergrams and syncing.
I think the iPad has tremendous potential as a powerful business machine. However, I think one aspect that is holding the iPad back from taking flight in the business world is the cost of standard business apps. Word, Excel, iWork all cost a mini fortune by app price standards (between $10 and $20). Plus everyone has already paid a pretty penny to have all these programs on their workstation – so why should we have to pay again? I think it would open doors if Apple allowed owners of this standard business software to get it for free on their iPad.
That and of course multitasking on the iPad would be invaluable for power business users. What does everyone else think? Does anyone use their iPad for work?