My iPad for Business 1 Month Update

When I bought my iPad, I posted a review of Day 1 using an iPad for business. Reader Christine Thompson left a comment this week asking how it has been going and what other challenges I have run into.

Note Taking
I learned on the first day that I needed a program to take meeting notes and I settled on Pages ($9.99), which is Apple’s word processing program. This is a stripped down iPad version. If you are a whiz at Word and use lots of its nifty functionality, which most people don’t, you will be hampered by this programs. It has all the basics, but that’s it.

As I have continued to attend meetings and take notes in Pages, it has become a bit frustrating. If you are someone who takes copious notes at meetings and constantly refers to them, you would be supremely frustrated. If you want your iPad to be your note taking device, as I do, you want to keep your notes on the iPad in an organized fashion. That is not possible. After you create a new document, an image of it is created in the visual list that you can swipe across. The visual list, with large images of each document, is the only way to access the documents. These are shown in the order that they were created. There is no way to change the order or put documents into folders. To rename a document, click on the default name below the image and change it. Make sure you turn the iPad so it is in portrait mode, as that is the only way to bring up the visual list of documents. And don’t try to combine documents from different programs. Each programs’ documents (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) lives within that program.

The way I approach organization in this cumbersome scheme is to create one document for each client or project and add a date to it with each new set of notes. If that doesn’t work for you, you can always sync these documents to your computer using iTunes, or just email yourself and put the documents in folders as you normally would. This creates version control issues, and you can never be sure which version of your notes contains what you are looking for. The benefit of keeping your notes on your iPad is that you have all your notes together from previous meetings. Again, your frustration level with this is based on the volume of notes you take and how much you refer to them.

Others have used Evernote on their iPads, and this automatically syncs their notes across devices. You can also tag those notes for easy organization. What have your note experiences been on your iPad?

Travel
Last week I took a business trip armed with just my iPad. I agonized over not bringing my laptop, for fear that I would not be able to do certain things (like video editing on the plane), but since it was just a one day trip, I figured I would be fine. I had sent the presentation to the conference organizers, so I didn’t think I would need to present from my iPad, but I was ready anyway. I have Keynote ($9.99). I have the $30 iPad to VGA connector. I even uploaded the presentation to Slideshare as a back up.

The hotel lobby had wifi, so it was no problem connecting to email, Twitter, and even Skype to check-in on our perpetual group chat with folks back in the office. I had written several offline blog posts on the flight down, using Pages, and once I was connected, I wanted to publish one of them. This was a problem. It turns out that the WordPress iPad app does not recognize paste. You can only enter text into the post field. Seriously, no paste. I jumped over to my web browser to log in to WordPress and try it from the dashboard. But no luck. The main panel is not scrollable in the iPad version of Safari. I wound up having to get another blogging app (BlogPress $2.99) to post before I gave my presentation.

Even though I did not present from the iPad, it brought some oohs and ahhs from the attendees. They even joked about a drawing to win my iPad, but I rejected that.

On the flight home, I had wifi, so I tried to take advantage of the Netflix movie streaming app, but it was not to be. The service was not consistent enough for streaming. It was great for email and Twitter, so I went with that.

After using an iPad for business for nearly a month, I still like it’s portability and the ease with which you can carry it around, travel with it, and show others things on the screen. I am not really bothered by the lack of multitasking, because when I am using my iPad, I really don’t want programs running in the background to pop up alert of new messages. And no matter what Steve Jobs says, according to the TSA, when traveling with an iPad, it is just like a laptop and you have to put it in its own bin.

iPad for Business: What I Learned on Day 1

This past weekend, I purchased an iPad. Apple sold 300,000 of these tablet devices on the first day so I wasn’t alone. And by the way, in the usual iPad conceit of many bloggers, I am writing this post on my iPad as another demonstration of its functionality.

Since this device was released on the weekend, it made it easy to understand the iPad as the consumer device that it is. It is a great personal entertainment device to consume music, videos and photos, whether you stream content over wifi, sync existing media through iTunes or buy it directly from the iTunes store. I would assume that this was part of Apple’s release plan.

While understanding that this is not a laptop or business device, I wanted to use my iPad exclusively in place of my laptop for a full day of work. Here’s what I learned:

Meetings
I spend a good part of my day going to meetings and I usually take my laptop. On this day I only took my iPad. Granted it is just walking down the hall, but it is easier carrying the smaller and lighter iPad. This let me keep up with email and Twitter during the meeting. Since there are no background services, I did not get any on screen notifications of mentions or any of my search terms. This makes Twitter less real time, unless you keep checking the stream.

Note taking
I started the day without any specific apps to handle note taking. I didn’t think I would use the notes app, which is the same app as on the iPhone and very limited. I thought I could use Google docs, would avoid any syncing, duplication and version issues. I very quickly found that Google recognizes the iPad as a mobile device and serves up the mobile versions of its apps. That means that docs is a read only program on the web. You can view all the existing docs you want, but you can’t edit any of them. You also can’t create new docs. By the end of the day I had downloaded the Pages app ($9.99) for note taking. One word of advice about the iPad user interface. Many applications have different functionality in landscape mode (horizontal) and portrait mode (vertical). For example, the only way to get from an open document in Pages to your list of documents is to turn your iPad vertically which brings up a My Documents button in the upper left.

Presentations
One the things that appealed to me about the iPad was the opportunity to use it for presentations. If I need to take a quick trip somewhere just to give a presentation, can I really travel without my laptop. I started to answer that question by downloading Keynote ($9.99), which is Apple’s equivalent to Powerpoint. It is easy to copy existing presentations to the iPad using the file sharing function in iTunes. You find it under the apps tab when looking at your iPad in iTunes. Scroll all the down or you will miss it. You can import Keynote or Powerpoint files for display on your iPad.

If you will be presenting on a large monitor or projector, you will need the VGA out connector. The thing that is different about this output is that it does not mirror your display from the iPad. It just displays native iPad content like Keynote, YouTube videos and photos. So when you are connecting to the projector, make sure you open Keynote so you can make sure the connection works. The presentation shows on screen and the iPad shows that it is in video out mode with forward and back arrows. It does not display speaker notes.

And finally, Keynote on the iPad only exports as Keynote or PDF, so if you make any changes on the iPad, you will need Keynote on a Mac to get the presentation back to Powerpoint.

PDFs
The last thing I learned in my first business day with the iPad was how to use PDF. By default, the iPad uses the quick viewer to view PDFs that you receive in email or find on the web. This means you can see these documents, but that’s about it. By downloading the Good Reader app ($0.99), you get more functionality. This app uses the file transfer function associated with iTunes, so you can add PDFs directly to you iPad for later viewing, or sales presentations. You can also download PDFs from the web. These files are only viewable through this app, as there is no way to see what files are on the iPad.

Another way to use PDFs is to convert them to the ePub format and view them with the ipad’s book reader, but that conversion seems unnecessary if you use the Good Reader program.

That’s what I learned in my first day of business use with my iPad. One final note about the keyboard. My typing has already improved, and I’m sure it will continue as as I type more.

Did you get an iPad, or are you thinking about it, and what are your thoughts about its uses for business?

5 Ways Apple’s iPad Will Impact B2B Marketing

Before you come through the computer and smack me, yes, I am adding to the endless amount of blog posts all dedicated to Apple’s newly released iPad. With this tablet device Apple is trying to create a new category of portable computing device. How will this device impact your planning as a B2B marketer?

Initially this device won’t be a major factor to B2B marketers, because even if it is very successful, it will take 6 to 12 months to have enough devices in use to warrant attention. The device, which won’t even be out for a couple of months, offers users the ability to consum all types of media on the go using a software interface that many people are accustomed to due to their use of iPhones and iPod touches. Starting this summer B2B marketers need to begin looking at their web analytics to determine how many people visiting online sites are using this device, as well as the iPhone.

5 Potential Impacts Of The iPad On B2B Marketing
New device and adoption aside, in the future this device, or one similar, could have several important impacts on digital B2B marketing. Now is the time to think ahead and position for these possible changes in your business.

1. Improve Product Demos
– The iPad will likely be most utilized in the business world for demonstrations. If you are a B2B company, especially a software company, this will be a great device to show off products and demonstrate new features. The iPad’s ability to display keynote presentations will also make it easy to shift from up-close demos or product sheets to slide presentations. I could see sales teams using this type of device to go over pricing and calculating business impacts of a product in real-time.

2. Trade Show Info Capture – Speaking of sale people, I would imagine that we will see iPads in the hands of savvy B2B sales people at a variety of industry tradeshows. A device like this removes the need to get people into a booth and have them in front of a computer to get their contact information into a CRM tool. I can see companies developing internal applications for the iPad that can easily add people into remote CRM systems and enter them into giveaway contests at the booth.

3. Less Flash Ads – An issue that some people have about this device is that it does not support Adobe Flash, a software that enables us to view many of the videos and advertisements on the web today. If devices without Flash like the iPad increase in popularity, it could motivate B2B marketers to produce less flash advertising, as it would be invisible to iPad and iPhone users.

4. More Multimedia Content – Regardless of its success, the iPad reinforces a trend that shows the way people consume media is changing. People are becoming more accustomed to a multimedia experience. For example the New York Times on the iPad includes video clips in articles that are viewed on the device. As B2B marketers strive to remain effective story tellers, becoming multimedia focused will be key.

5. Need For Customized Customer Experiences – With this new category of device, Apple has create yet another user experience to go along with the iPhone and traditional personal computers. The ways in which people interact with information on this type of device is different. Subsequently, B2B marketers need to plan digital experiences that are different for each device.

Cool new gadgets don’t replace boring online content. Take time to ensure you are telling a compelling story online now, because as digital information consumption changes, so will your marketing executions.

What do you think about the role of tablet computers in B2B companies?