Work from My iPad? Sure!

My friend Chris Brogan asked one of the key questions a lot of iPad users have been asked: Can You Work from an iPad?

Chris’ results were decidedly mixed, which isn’t a surprise to me:

I think the iPad serves me well as a way to focus on writing. I think it’s a great way to “check status” on certain things. It will never replace my laptop at its current configuration. I find myself slowing down when I walk by Apple stores, thinking about the Macbook Air, but that’s adding a 13? laptop to my 15? Macbook Pro, and that just doesn’t make sense, either.
link: Can You Work From an iPad?

While my experience has been, like Chris’, mixed, I’ve found that the key to working from an iPad is all summed up in one word:

Planning.

Given that I have a WiFi-only iPad, I need to assume that I won’t have access to the Internet when I’m out and about. Oh sure, almost every coffee place I visit has WiFi, but the bus sure doesn’t. So the first step, if I’m going to go out an only bring my iPad is to a) put the files I need into my DropBox folder then b) Use ReeadleDocs to transfer them to my iPad for offline use. Then I go to Instapaper Pro and sync up the articles. If I’m working on a Keynote file, I make sure I load it up in Keynote at home, so that any elements that need to be downloaded can be.

Once those things are in place…I’m good to go.

Like Chris, I like Pages for the iPad. Because I have the Apple case, I use the Apple Wireless keyboard instead of the Keyboard Dock. Sure, it can get a little wonky typing sometimes, but overall, yeah Pages works great.

I think I’ve had better luck with Keynote than Chris has, but I also haven’t tried to put it through its paces either.

As for other key tasks, email is great, calendar is kinda mixed (so I flip to Gmail to make sure things get to the right places). I got free iPad mindmapping app, but I think that I might have to switch to iThoughtsHD if I want to do more mindmapping on the iPad.

Is the key question answered? Can you work on an iPad?

Yes, certainly. There is a “but…” coming here though. You can’t think of your iPad as your “Laptop Lite”, you have to think of it as a different kind of device that has different kinds of limitations. Treating an iPad as a “Laptop Lite” will only end in you being frustrated and thinking that you can’t get work done on the iPad.

Think of your iPad as a way to carry some documents to review, answer some emails, read a book or manual. The things that you might want to do quickly without a lot of fuss. I edited a proposal last Sunday while having a nice greasy spoon breakfast, then synced it back to my Mac. Yes, the syncing back is a pain. I haven’t figured out how to get something that was opened in Pages back into DropBox as an updated file.

And related to my previous post about MS Office, I think keeping everything in native iWork formats helps reduce frustration in general.

If you have an iPad, do you get “real work” done with it? What is your favourite work task that you do on your iPad?


Comments

  1. says

    You said you edited a proposal. Was this a paragraph/statement type of proposal? I'm looking to do a proposal with multiple items and descriptions on each proposal. I'd like it to be able to be emailed (probably as PDF) and ideally to be exported to Quickbooks. Any thoughts?

  2. says

    It was a 2-3 page proposal, so that isn't an issue. Pages can email and export as Pages, Word, and PDF! As for other writing apps on the iPad, not sure I haven't worked with them.

  3. John Riley says

    I’ve been happy with using my iPad in the office, ever since I read the iPad for Work Guide/PDF at OSInsights.com. I didn’t really know all of the tips and tricks to using it for work, and really just played Angry Birds on airplanes.

    I do wish it had a physical keyboard, because that is its biggest weakness, to me. For important meeting, I still lug my laptop around so that I can send follow up emails after meetings.

  4. John Riley says

    I’ve been happy with using my iPad in the office, ever since I read the iPad for Work Guide/PDF at OSInsights.com. I didn’t really know all of the tips and tricks to using it for work, and really just played Angry Birds on airplanes.

    I do wish it had a physical keyboard, because that is its biggest weakness, to me. For important meeting, I still lug my laptop around so that I can send follow up emails after meetings.

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