Do you iPad? iPhone? Apps That Make My Business Easier

There are days I feel I may need a support group: My name is Mary and I am an Apple addict. But, truth be told I’m happy with my Apple products. The latest to amaze me is the iPad.

As a small business owner, the iPad has become my office away from the office. I no longer lug my laptop (five years ago considered light) to meetings, or on trips. Instead, I bring my iPad with everything on it I need for the day/week.

Several people have asked what apps I use and like, so today’s post is the start of that conversation. Many of the apps sync through MobileMe (soon to be iCloud) and among several users. The same information is on my laptop, my iPad and my iPhone so no matter where I am I have access. All of these are available in iTunes. I’ve listed their company URL so you can read about them before downloading.

Calendar and Task Lists

BusyCal is a version of Apple’s iCal from BusyMac but I like to say it’s on steroids as it does so much. By syncing wirelessly to MobileMe, you can easily manage multiple calendars (I have 10) with several users. I also use BusyMac’s task list, BusyToDo, which syncs to the appropriate calendars as well.

Find my iPhone/iPad

This is not so much an app as a benefit from Apple with MobileMe. As a subscriber, you can turn on this feature on your computer and mobile devices so you can find your device if it’s stolen. You can also wipe it clean and sound an alarm on it.

Dragon Dictation

It’s illegal to text and drive in Alaska so when I want to remind myself of something while on the go, I dictate into Dragon Dictation and when I get to my destination, hit the email button. You can start and stop the message easily so if multiple items occur to you on the trip, it’s all in one email at your destination. It seems to recognize my dictated words fairly well. At least I can figure out what I meant anyway.

Productivity Apps

Oh Evernote, the things you can do that I haven’t even discovered yet! Evernote organizes items you need into notebook based on your own organization system. I use it a lot for trips and put my itinerary, hotel and car confirmations, schedules, airline confirmation, etc. I also use it for client notes. My friend Gini Dietrich has been blogging about Evernote so read more (and read Gini’s blog regularly – she’s brilliant).

Instapaper – Here’s where you can put those articles you didn’t have time to read, and want to read them on a plane/train trip. Download the browser app and mark them from your computer so they sync here. Once you’ve read them, tag them for bookmarking and archive.

Apple’s suite of office products, iWorks, is available for the iPad and helps my task list along when I’m on the road. And iWorks programs are compatible with Office so you can easily transfer to your computer. Pages, Keynote and Numbers are $10 each so you may find that too expensive but it depends on how you use the iPad. Having Pages has helped me get more work done and Keynote is a great way to bring presentations along without the laptop.

Through its various ways you can mark up a PDF file, iAnnotate PDF is another tool for creating that paperless office. I was on a webinar earlier this week and took notes in the handout the presenter had emailed everyone. Now my notes are with the presentation forever rather than having them in two separate locations.

The WordPress app means I can manage my blog from off site and, depending on your comment system, manage the conversation as well. I use LiveFyre for comments so am patiently waiting their app release to manage comments (which I can do now through the Web browser (Web browser a topic for future iPad posts).

If you have files you need for an upcoming meeting, or items you want to edit on the road, put them into DropBox and they are synced to your devices. Note that you can also share selected files with others on your team.

Social Media Apps

Of course, there are apps for virtually any social medium including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, Yelp. The Facebook app is just a magnified version of the iPhone app so I sometimes use Friendly for iPad instead. In reality, I’m not thrilled with either and wish Facebook would just release their iPad app and we’d all be happy.

Travel Apps

GogoInflight is the program that connects you to the Internet while flying. Using their app, all your account information is stored so you don’t need to do anything except start the app and log-in. When you arrive, use GateGuru to find what you need in the unfamiliar airport. User reviews help you choose the best place for airport food. And, you can even check wait times at the security checkpoints. OpenTable’s massive restaurant search and reservation system are helpful for trip plans, and changes.

This list ought to get your started on your journey with the iPad. Are there apps you use that I didn’t mention? I’m likely going to make this a regular feature on my blog so let me know what you’d like to hear about. Future topics might include web browsers, printers and remote desktop programs. What do you want to hear about?

The Barber Group

Gig Harbor, Washington


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