Tablet PCs have really taken off in recent times, and if you’re contemplating buying one it’s more than likely you’re considering an iPad. After all, Apple has the lion’s share of the tablet market, and that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.
Like the iPhone, the iPad is a landmark technology device. We all like a new toy that’s a bit cool and funky, and just because you’re in business doesn’t mean you have to be sensible about everything.
But when money is tight or budgets need to be met, we need to justify this sort of purchase. So it’s not surprising that many of my clients have asked me whether they should buy an iPad for business. It seems they haven’t been able to come up with a good reason to do so (or not) on their own.
When it comes down to it, the iPad is a great device; it’s easy to use, portable and robust, with an app store that grows by the minute, and developers crawling out of the woodwork to design custom apps for you.
About the only thing it can’t do is decide for you whether it’s a good investment for your business. I can’t do that for you either, but I can suggest some issues you might like to take into consideration.
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What do you want to be able to do?
The current generation of smart phones, including the iPhone, have many of the same advantages as the iPad. It’s even been said that the iPad is a giant iPhone that can’t make calls.
Sometimes size matters though; the bigger screen makes it suitable for presentations to individuals or small groups, and the device is easily passed around during meetings in the same way you might previously have handed around printouts. And as most of the major newspapers have already figured out, the larger screen is better for consuming content like news.
With the right app, it can simplify repetitive processes, or present you with completely new ways of achieving the daily goals of doing business. One of my clients has had an app developed to do his invoicing on the road; another has had an app developed to class fresh produce.
The one thing the iPad is not great at is developing content. When it comes to word processing and desktop publishing – tasks that are pretty standard for most businesses – the iPad just doesn’t stack up to the trusty desktop computer or laptop, and it’s not intended to.
For the most part, you can get by with a smartphone and a laptop or desktop computer, and not miss out on much. But let’s be honest, the cool factor does count for something, doesn’t it?
Are you using an iPad in your business? Would you recommend the rest of us invest in an iPad for business too? Why?