The iPad – a toy or a device that helps you to get things done?
When I bought my first iPad2 in an Apple Store in Seattle in 2011 I wanted to use it to stay in touch with my friends. FaceTime and Skype were the first apps I had in mind. I also used it as replacement for my PC when I had to look things up quickly, as it was so much faster but when I had to do real editing I used my PC as I had a keyboard and fully featured editing programs. I also liked to carry it around to show photos to friends or plan the next travel with them.
I still hear from friends and IT industry people that the above examples are the only way an iPad can be used. Otherwise it would be useless. You couldn’t use it professionally as it would be too small, not have a keyboard and the app capabilities were too restricted for professional work.
However, I am sick at home and I am working perfectly from my iPad (nowadays an iPad Air2). Of course, this is possible for me as my company allows mobile work and embraces enterprise mobility.
Via an Enterprise Mobility solution I got the possibility to access and edit my documents that are centrally stored. I only need one single app for that. It’s like the “productivity center” on my iPad. Any time I want to do something with content, I select that app and either choose the document I want to work with, or I create a document in another app and save it back to the central storage via that app again. From there I can share it and apply other productivity options like printing, zipping, creating PDFs and more. I can also access intranet sites and of course have access to my emails. I do not need much more to do my work. In order to type fast, I use a Logitech keyboard, which I love! I only wish it didn’t lose the Bluetooth connection from time to time. (I also tried two other keyboards but from the handling and typing perspective the Logitech one was still the best.) The typing feels like typing on a Mac, just smooth. It has all the necessary keys and you can even use it for shortcuts like copy&paste. The iPad and the keyboard in combination feel like a mini PC. But this combo has the advantages of being instant on (no long booting times), being light, which is a necessity for traveling and you can use any app from the AppStore that you need, like PDF annotation apps, to do lists, expenses apps etc. There are so many nice apps out there that you can just download. You do not need heavy desktop applications. Once, on the airplane the flight attendant asked me to shut down my laptop… well, it was my iPad with my Logitech keyboard. But I guess, it almost looked like a mini laptop and as I was plugging away on the keys I must have looked so productive that she did not assume it was an iPad. So, with the right tools and apps on it, you can become as productive on it as on a PC – of course it depends on your job too. I’m dealing a lot with content, so I need to get access to documents. If you rather work on a specific task like maintaining a machine or driving a vehicle or being a doctor then you will need specific apps for these tasks. But even these apps allow you to save paper, process tasks quicker… and it is just more fun! We can use at work what we love at home! Who would say anything against that?
So, yes, at first the iPad seemed to be quite useless to me too… it was mostly lying around actually, unless I had to check something, but with the opportunity to access the entire work environment from it, it became my main device. I also love the flexibility to work wherever, whenever.
To summarize, the iPad might be a toy for some (and it is still for me without the productivity app – it almost becomes boring, even though I like my mini as a reading device) because they have not really found their use case or are happy to use it as a communication device or for browsing. However, it offers a lot more potential on the productivity side and with the right apps and hardware and solution in the backend you can make it a very powerful tool!
I hope this was useful to you. If you’d like to know more or discuss, please leave a comment!