Check out the free Clock Weather News app … checking on all three at once will help you save time for other important things. The iPad has revolutionized my mobile office experience. The key to my success was quickly identifying the top office apps for iPad 2 and iPad in a sea of hundreds of thousands of apps. I looked for versatility, compatibility and ease-of-use to select my mobile office apps for iPad.
Of course, to setup my ultimate mobile office I had to look beyond the Apple App Store and see what accessories would also allow me to be as product as the last three years mobile computing with my laptop.
So things like keyboards, covers, WiFi, card readers and carrying cases come into play when cutting the cord, tossing the laptop out and turning your iPad into one tough mobile office computing power. Basically, you want to go rogue, but you also want to have the tools to succeed.
If you want to skip all the juicy details, buy the ZAGGmate (iPador iPad 2) and then download Documents To Go – iPhone or Documents To Go – iPad, Dragon Dictation and HootSuite and you’ll be able to read, write, talk and socialize up a business storm. If you want a bit more details on the top office apps, more productivity and want go beyond the basics and explore your mobile office options, read on.
For the past three years I’ve had the pleasure of working from home and abroad with my laptop coming to a few different countries and countless coffee shops. With a short battery life and sometimes clunky nature, I found it cumbersome more than one occasion.
Then, the inevitable happened. Something “revolutionary” entered the market called the iPad and blessed my mobile office life and since then I’ve been searching for the ultimate top office apps that get things done. I’ve found some great apps that have truly made my iPad a laptop replacement. For instance, I’ve written this post on my WordPress app. It even allows you to upload an image.
However, my Top Office App is no app at all. It’s the ZAGGmate keyboard/hard case cover combo (iPad-$70 or iPad 2-$99). I never leave my home office without it. Not only does it keep true to the Apple design we love so much, its functionality is beyond useful. I like typing on the iPad virtual keyboard, but not for pages and pages of written material. It also protects the screen from any unfortunate drops and dings. And that does happen. I dropped it both at Macworld and NAB this year. I know, maybe I should be more careful. Regardless, if you’re a true mobile office guru, this is a must have.
Also, the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic ($29) are a great headset for Skype. In fact, you probably already have a set from your iPhone or iPod.
WordPress – Free – As mentioned above, it is by far my most used top office iPad app. However, I’m a writer so therefor I’m on it constantly. The only shortcoming is the lack of quickly inserting links, which you have to do manually. Other than that, logging into your blog, writing posts, insert images, creating pages, checking stats and comments has never been easier.
Documents To Go® – Office Suite – DataViz, Inc. - $9.99 or Documents To Go® Premium – Office Suite – DataViz, Inc. - $16.99 I remember my first business trip late last year when I left the laptop and did a solo flight with the iPad. I was a bit nervous because my laptop had been my life line. Besides its compact, sleek style and outstanding battery life, the ability to buy an app for under $10 that allows you to create, edit, save and email documents from Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as the iWork Suite) is downright awesome. IT is the best office replacement for iPad 2 and iPad. Add in the ability to sync with your desktop and it’s downright genius. When I got to the meeting and pulled out the iPad with keyboard, the execs where not only impressed, but very jealous. I never looked back. The iPad is the only mobile office tablet I need. Apple’s Office iWork is also a great option if you want to throw down a few more dollars.
Dragon Dictation – Free – Ever have ideas flowing through your head and nobody to listen to them or write them down for you? With this app you’ll be brain dumping in no time. In fact, I used it to write this app description. I always have a million thoughts going through my head and sometimes don’t want the typing of it to get in the way of the actual idea. Just make sure you have a hotspot and you’re ready to rock the speech to text. It’s truly amazing to see the app work.
HootSuite – Free – As Twitter has grown into a must for everyone so has the amount of third-party apps to harness the marketing and communication power of the service. I’ve found Hootsuite to be the easiest platform to use. I manage multiple accounts for myself and clients and have found it easy to work between accounts without getting to confused as to which account is which. The extended version has even more power.
Jumbo Calculator – Free – Everyone is in need of a calculator every once in a while and using the small keys can be ridiculously frustrating. However, this app allows you to take up the entire iPad screen with jumbo keys for effortless calculations.
Skype – Free – With travels and oversees clients, I’ve found Skype to be the industry standard for connecting on the cheap. Just think how big your phone bill would be if you had to take an hour long international conference call. No thanks. Everyone has Skype now days and it’s easy as pie to use. Better yet, it’s free.
BeejiveIM – $9.99 – As far as IM clients go, this app is compatible with just about every IM protocol, including ICQ, AOL, self hosted IM, etc. I like how it runs in the background and pops up alerts when you need to see them. It’s discrete, noninvasive and has a lot of functionality for such a small price. This was extremely useful when I was working remotely in Portland for an agency in Los Angeles. It helped streamline communications as a phone call or email can be eliminated with a quick IM.
Notes or Moleskine – Free – I find that I’m not always in need of the processing power of Word. In fact, unless I’m reviewing someone’s work, I usually find myself using the simple Notes app that comes equipped with the iPad. It’s quick, reliable and with one tap of the button can be emailed off to your colleague or client. However, since I do write a lot, but still don’t need the full capabilities of Microsoft Office, I’ve started using Moleskine. Complete with color coding, customizable categories and a litany of other functions, it’s fast becoming my go-to note taker.
Contracts HD – $9.99 – Since I do a lot of traveling and find myself pitching new business quite a bit, I’ve found this app very useful. It comes with 10 standard contracts (NDA, photo permission, Bill of Sale, etc.) and it’s library of other contracts makes it one of the favorite top office apps. It also allows you to auto populate your business information for quick use.
Photosmith – $17.99 – I’m also a professional photographer and happen to use Lightroom for all my editing needs. Up until recently, there was nothing for me to make easy categorical edits, preview and then sync my changes to Lightroom. That’s all possible now with this app and the best part is that you can use WiFi to do all of the syncing. Not cable required.
PayPal – Free – Since I run a few websites that have goods for sell as well as the fact that I write for a few other sites that require I use PayPal to accept payment, this app is very useful for creating invoices, requesting payments and transferring money between accounts. More importantly, it’s safe and secure.
Square – Free with transaction fees – If you’re in a position where you need to setup a mobile register, this app is just the ticket. I’ve used it multiple times to accept payments from photo clients and other new business clients. It’s like a little register in your pocket and the latest update allows you to track popular items as well as use it as an actual register. Thanks Twitter co-founder.
FileMaker Go – $19.99 – Tackle any task on your iPhone with FileMaker Go. Close sales deals on the road, manage project status while traveling, organize research notes in the field, or check inventory in the warehouse – all while you’re on the go. Use FileMaker Pro, the leading easy-to-use database software, to create custom solutions for your iPhone. Then use FileMaker Go to remotely access these solutions on your iPhone. Easily view, edit and search for your information. Many FileMaker Pro features such as portals, Tab Controls, Quick Find, Web Viewers, FileMaker Charts and most scripts work the same on FileMaker Go.
myThoughtsBook – $.99 – I’m constantly brainstorming. If I was in a pre-Mac age I would probably have stacks of napkins and Stickies all over my house or local coffee shop that I work out of… I’m sure they’d love that. Luckily, there’s an app for my wondering mind that helps keep it from getting too off track by helping me mind map my ideas.
Splashtop Remote Desktop for iPad – $9.99 – For PC and Mac users, this app is great for controlling your desktop to stream video, work on PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, Quicken, and others as well as play games. It is worth it’s weight in gold, especially if you forgot a file back on your desktop. This truly is a top office apps contender.
GoodReader – $4.99 – This reader has earned its accolades by the way it handles huge PDF and TXT files, manuals, large books, magazines. The ability to mark-up PDFs is much needed especially when reviewing on the fly. Mark up with typewriter text boxes, sticky notes, lines, arrows, and freehand drawings on top of a PDF file. It’s legit.
zipThat – $.99 – Unzipping files has become second nature on my laptop, but when I moved to full time mobile computing on the iPad, I was lost in a see of unusable zipped files. Now, that no longer happens. After you receive the zipped file, tap and hold and use the “Open in zipThat” function and the app works invisibly in the background while it places in a list of unzipped files for you to view. Tap on the file and it will be opened… GIF, HTML, PDF, office documents, audio, etc.
As for WiFi, I find that I’m always around a coffee shop that has it, however, this isn’t always the case so I use my iPhone 4 to connect via AT&T’s WiFi data plan. There are several options.
I take a lot of photos so a card reader is an essential companion to my top office apps. I use the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit ($35).
In conclusion, it’s not just about the top office apps, but also the top iPad accessories that will make you one tough, iPad power user that is bound by no boundaries. You are an iPad warrior, a true pioneer with a bounty of top office apps. Go get ‘em tiger.
Mobile Office Tips Beyond the Top Office Apps
- Keep your productivity apps on your front menu
- Learn to go from touch screen to keyboard fluidly
- Resist the urge to jump on your laptop as using your iPad will get easier and become second nature
- Check out the Things ($9.99) productivity app as it might help get things done, but beware as it might cause more work
- Google it. If you have an iPad issue, Google it and there’s always a solution
- Rip the bandaid off. Jump right into using the iPad and don’t switch back and forth to your laptop
- Once you’re set, take it to your local coffee shop and test the waters before bringing it to a client meeting. You always want to know before you go.
- Have fun and enjoy the experience.