Do you use your iPad for business on the road?

July 13th, 2011 by Morna

The following by Gloria Hansen is excerpted from the Spring 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter.

In the past, any time I traveled my laptop, various cables and power cords, an external drive, card reader and other gadgets came along with me. If a year ago someone suggested that I could use an iPad – the tablet computer by Apple announced in January 2010 – instead of a laptop, I’d have immediately dismissed it. I have an iPhone and an iPad seemed just a larger version and something I didn’t need. Then I tried it. I was immediately hooked and realized its potential. In nearly no time, the iPad has quickly evolved from the hip gadget for reading, playing games, watching videos, keeping up with social media and such, to being a serious tool for accomplishing many business functions while on the road or even away from one’s desk. Now when I travel, I often only take it and a couple lightweight add-ons. With planning, and depending on what you need to accomplish during your travels, you, too, may be able to leave your laptop and related gadgets behind.

The first step is configuring your iPad with the “apps” (the trendy abbreviation for an application or program) needed to accomplish your goals. Here are some apps you might consider.

  1. e-Mail and web browsing. These are handled nicely with the included Mail and Safari apps.Working with photos,
  2.  I use the iPad Camera Connection Kit, which comes with two small gadgets that plug directly into your iPad. One allows you to insert your SD card directly and the other provides a USB slot for importing photos from your camera’s or video’s USB cable.
  3.  Working with photos, I use PhotoGene. The $1.99 app works with RAW files. It has exposure controls, levels, crop tools, resizing options and more.
  4. Presentations. The app of choice for presentations is Keynote ($9.99). With it, you can import a PowerPoint or Keynote slide show or create one directly on your iPad.
  5. Credit card processing. Take a look at Square (free). With it you can accept credit card payments. You need a card reader that plugs into the iPad or you can key in the card numbers. While the app is free, you are charged a percentage for each transaction.
  6. Package tracking. Delivery Status Touch ($4.99) tracks package deliveries no matter which carrier was used to ship.

Yes, some of these apps are available for smart phones. Many have been rewritten to take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen and other features. The adaptation helps in making the iPad function as a decent laptop replacement, especially during short trips. Is it for all travelers all of the time? No. For example, if you need to do intensive work with any of the Adobe Suite products, you’ll need your laptop. For complex MS Office documents, you may also be better off with a laptop. Otherwise, with some planning, you can pretty much do whatever you need with an iPad. Besides it being very easy to carry around, it immediately starts up and the battery life is excellent. With the 3G model, you also have Internet access and don’t need to worry about being in a WiFi area.

It’s been more than a year since the iPad was announced, and it has certainly changed the way I work. With its continually growing possibilities, it may change the way you work, too.

Please share your iPad app suggestions and experiences on our blog.

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11 Responses to “Do you use your iPad for business on the road?”


  1. Lesley Riley said:

    Morna – Thanks for the APP overview. I LOVE my iPad and it is all I take when traveling. As always, you have privided me with valuable new information I can use right away.


  2. Susie Monday said:

    I just got an iPad and find it incredible for both business and creative work on the road. All of Glorias suggestions are great. I use Dropbox for sending and receiving files. Evernote is a fabulous app for organizing and research. Flipboard has changed the way I keep up online with social media,blogs and lots of great content.
    I’m also using Pages for short content creating, and an app for Squarespace where I host my blog makes posting easy.
    And for design work, I am learning to use several sketching and paint tools. They are a whole new creative media for me, but I think my work with them will have amazing application for some art quilts and surface design.


  3. Lisa Ellis said:

    I use the GotoMyPC app on my iPad to access files and programs on my home computer while away from home. While the interface is a little awkward, it has really saved me when I needed information or to fix a website which I could only do from my laptop. It’s truly amazing to view your home computer on the iPad screen and be able to control and access it.


  4. Barbara Hershey Handler said:

    I only take my laptop if I have lots of graphics work to such as digitizing embroidery designs. It has been such a pleasure to go through security without having to unload the laptop and reload it while keeping my eye on it as it goes through the scanner. I have made a wonderful purse/tote/bag which protects my iPad and provides a great looking carrier! I have not upgraded to the 2 and am not sure that is in the near future…I am very happy with my original version and the freedom it provides.


  5. Sandy said:

    I sell and service HandiQuilter products. In addition to all the great things you mention for your Ipad, I keep the user manuals and
    service manuals for all models on my ipad instead of lugging everything with me.

    I also use Numbers to give new customers a list of accessories to browse through when I am doing a
    new installation. The customer can just pick what they want and I can email them their receipt on the spot.


  6. Laura Wasilowski said:

    My IPad has become my cash register, credit card processor, note taker / list maker, and digital sketch book. It is now my email machine and library as well. What did I do before I had this sweet little gadget?
    Thanks Gloria and Morna for a great article!


  7. B. J. Adams said:

    I received my iPad2 in late March 2011 and found it valuable for an immediate trip. The Maps App kept us up to date during a road trip when there was no WiFi. I had downloaded library books and a couple of Art Apps to work with immediately. Since that trip I have been exploring several of the Art applications with results of my trials on my blog. For these Art Apps I have purchased two quite different sylus’s. The only business I use it for is E-mail when I am away from my computer. The next App I will download is PhotoGene, mentioned above.
    Thank you for the article.
    bjadamsmallwork.blogspot.com


  8. Karen Eckmeier said:

    I wouldn’t travel on business without my iPad! It’s a perfect fit in my handbag and great for email, teaching calendar and of course hundreds of books to read, not to mention all the cool “apps” for maps, weather, restaurants, games, ….the list goes on and on!!! The only thing I do not use my iPad for yet is for my power point presentations. I still prefer my MacBook Air lap top- it’s light and compact and easy to use, no need to change a good thing, although perhaps this time next year I will have switched to using my iPad for power point presentations :) Happy early Birthday wishes Morna! – I hope you unwrap an iPad on your special day!


  9. Rose Hughes said:

    I have to agree with all the comments left here about how wonderful using the iPad has become for my business. It has lessened my load while traveling while increasing what I can bring with me tenfold. I, like Laura have found that my app for taking credit cards has become my cash register and has made life easier, and my helpers love it, too! I truly approach acquiring new apps on an as needed basis. If I need to do something I seek the best apps for the job. One of the first things I tried this with was my ‘sketchbook’. The one I always carry..that contained, notes, sketches and of course my to do list. The result was not only finding easy to use replacements, but fun replacements. It is an important tool, and one that I am so glad that I chose to purchase. Thank you for the article, and the opportunity to share.


  10. Morna said:

    Thanks everyone for sharing these great extra tips. I am getting one for my birthday, only my husband got frustrated by the choices – how many GB, 3G or not – so he told me I’m getting an IOU for one. Now I have to figure it out! He does know the cover will be green. I’m looking forward to playing with it and becoming more productive on the road. I’ve got to solve the issues with working my data base and financial package at shows, but I’m sure that will be easy. Lisa, I could try Desktop Connect – like GotoMyPC – but I think Dom Power is more reliable than Pepco! Karen thanks for the wishes.


  11. Alice Kolb said:

    THANKS for such great info. And I can’t wait to hear which I-Pad you get. I’m shopping also.

    Look forward to your excellent info. And I have another article idea, so will send you an article proposal soon.

    My best,
    Alice Kolb

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