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.
- e-Mail and web browsing. These are handled nicely with the included Mail and Safari apps.Working with photos,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.