iPad for business?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by koobcamuk, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    I see lots of people, myself included, using the iPad here in Tokyo. However, for business use, the Japanese are learning that the iPad really isn't suited.


    Please excuse the article, I didn't write it!

    However, I frequently use my iPad for email, keynote and pages, when on the train.

    One train company here also has a large PDF on iPads that the staff have at the ticket gates, to help you browse the map and get to your destination. Nice idea and a bit futuristic.

    What are your experiences with using the iPad for business?
  2. erawsd, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011

    erawsd macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2011
    I'm not surprised. Even around here there are few who would recommend the iPad for any serious work. Some reports have suggested that Apple was surprised by all the interest it's gotten from businesses, maybe over the next year and with iOS6 we'll get a lot more "work friendly" apps and features.

    If not, this is probably where Windows 8 will enjoy it's greatest success.
  3. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i suppose it also depends on the company you are in and the work you are doing. one colleague at a university has a huge research budget available, but it is divided up into categories, and the ipad doesn't fit into any of them, so no one can purchase it. as a consequence, he has lots and lots of pencils, several printers, and several mac notebooks.

    in other words, it may have to do with budget issues as much as practical business ones.
  4. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    The answer to the question is in the original article:

    "IPads are not suited for inputting and processing data, so people end up having both their laptops and iPads."

    You simply cannot efficiently type and write on an iPad and since it does not support pens, not even handwriting is an option. There are many cases where a touch interface is nice, but if you need more precision, you will want to use a mouse - or a pen.

    As long as those issues are not resolved, an iPad will never be able to replace a notebook. And when you look at the price of the high-end iPad (with 3G) and the low-end MacBook Air, it's almost impossible to make a business case for the iPad. You'll get a much more useful and travel friendly device for just a few bucks more.
  5. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2011
    Have you actually used a stylus with a good note-taking app? It's easy to assume that the non-pointed stylus is impossibly clunky until you actually try it. I used Notes Plus to take quite a bit of notes while conducting research this year. Apps with zoomed-in handwriting and palm rests make this much easier.
  6. Penquin79 macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2011
    IPad for business

    Our firm has found them to be of very good value. While it is not suitable for producing large word or excel files it is fantastic for accessing all files on our server. Nothing like being at a meeting in a remote location and being able to bring up documents when there are questions. We are able to access our management data base using vm software and issue orders, check orders, etc. Everything is synced using drop box and a special sync program so that no matter if we are on the road or at our desks everything is up to date. Because of this ability, it allows the employees to use their on the road idle time to answer emails, update files etc so when they are in their office they can do the heavy Word and Excel work without the need to catch up on the other tasks. It is all about efficiency, not necessarily new production.

    Mine never leaves my side during the business day. Even when at my desk it is on and available to access information without having to leave what I am doing on the desk top.
  7. Stefx73 macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2011
    The iPad isn't meant to replace the laptop. It's a laptop companion and works well as such.
  8. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Nothing new. From day 1, reviews always claim that ipads are good for consuming information, not good for producing materials. This is why I turned to the Asus Transformer.


    howver, tablets (ipads and others) are never meant to replace laptops. Having the right apps will help you perform more tasks that you normally do on laptops, but chances are there will always be apps that you absolutely need but not available in iOS.
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I think you are wrong. I use the iPad for a large amount of my work. I am on a research trip right now and I only brought the iPad along. iPad + bluetooth keyboard + Incase origami case = everything a laptop can do for many business tasks. Stick these in a man purse, and you are good to go. As an added benefit, you can read the iPad on crowded trains. The iPad easily replaces a laptop in many situations.

    I was in Osaka last week and saw several Japanese businessmen with the same setup. As I suggested above, I think the reporter didn't do enough digging. Without the corporate infrastructure to support integration of the iPad, it is not going to take off for a while among businessmen. It isn't that it cannot be used. Rather, there are several institutional barriers that work against it. Many corporate environments still use XP here, have no wifi, and have very little experience with Apple. In academia, they sometimes discourage the use of iPads in meetings because they are distracting, but sleeping is ok. lol :)
  10. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I agree. Two major complaints I hear from businesspeople: (i) input is tough, and (ii) compatibility problems with Office docs. Input issues can be solved by using a BT keyboard. Compatibility problems are typically because many people try Pages or Numbers before they try Docs To Go. The latter is much better at retaining the formatting of Office docs. It's still not yet a full Office replacement, but this is a software issue that can be solved over time and not an inherent flaw of the iPad.

    One would have to be pretty short-sighted to think that an iPad couldn't replace a laptop for most business functions in the future.
  11. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Very interesting article. I've found the iPad to be a great companion to my nearly 6 lb laptop. I barely notice it in my already heavy bag. On the other hand, if I were already using a very light laptop, adding an iPad to my bag might well seem to be an unnecessary burden. That appears to be the case for many Japanese "Salarymen."

    On other points, folks differ in terms of how efficient handwritten note taking is on the iPad. If I have to take extensive text notes, I find typing (with a real keyboard) is far more efficient than either writing on paper or using an iPad note taking app. And if my notes are full of diagrams and non-alphabetic information, I still find a pen and a legal pad to be superior to entry on a tablet.

    I've been "taking notes" for about half a century. Over the course of that time I've gotten pretty good at it. And frankly, as clever as the various handwiting apps on the iPad are (Notes Plus, Note Taker HD), they don't produce anywhere near the quality I can achieve with a pen and paper. And in half the time.

    Finally, I've been using Documents to Go for (I think) nearly a decade on various mobile devices. In general, I've found the apps to be very useful. They're not, however, fully compatible with Microsoft Office (especially Excel) and relying upon Docs2Go is always a risky proposition when a document is heavily formatted or very large.
  12. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    I wouldn't count too heavily on the opinions of Japanese salarymen when it comes to representing the "bleeding edge" of cultural or business thought. A more rigidly conservative group is hard to imagine. Heck, it took a devastating earthquake and tsunami to get a lot of those guys to quit wearing ties to the office...

    The iPad is coming to American (and worldwide) business. If you are unable to envision business software or uses that don't revolve around spreadsheets and Microsoft Word files - then that says more about your limits than it does about those of the iPad.
  13. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i totally agree about pen and paper. it is a powerful technology that people dismiss too readily. pen+paper+scansnap=all the benefits of paper and tech.

    as for writing with a stylus, i have found the ipad to be awful with japanese/chinese. in my experience, besides the fact that it is like drawing with a crayon, you have to write very slowly in order to get complex characters to render correctly. it is far more trouble than it is worth, and cursive characters were a nightmare.

    as advanced as japan is, the tech culture is a lot different than the one in america, and a surprising number of people prefer dumb phones, rely heavily on iphones in place of portable computers, etc. it isn't that the ipad "can't" work for business. rather, it is a question of how to integrate a new device into a conservative business culture.

    also, if you think about it, it makes sense that there are obstacles facing full size business gadgets (laptops included). riding the trains, a portable computer is useless. at home you have a desktop or a large notebook. the ipad is incredibly popular here, but i get the feeling it is more as a leisure device.
  14. koobcamuk thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    Some interesting points raised by all, and a pretty balanced and intelligent discussion. I'm thankful MRforums still has posters of this calibre.

    Regarding the topic in hand, I both agree and disagree on many points. For quick note taking, especially if involving diagrams, nothing beats the trusty pen and paper. It just doesn't.

    The iPad is indeed a leisure item for me, though it does have uses where a notebook computer is cumbersome and impossible to use; such as on this very train!

    Regarding Japan, there are a couple of quick points I would like to make, though I would like to keep this to business use of iPads. The Japanese businessmen are supplied with their computers for work, and do not purchase individually. Inputting of Japanese on iOS keyboards is not good at all compared to a standard keyboard or even the ten-key 1-9 style dumb phone type keyboard, just based on the way the language is written. This will improve with iOS 5. Finally, they are indeed a conservative bunch, but the continued wearing of ties has nothing to do with the earthquake and is quite a superficial claim to make ;)

    Anyway, thanks for all your thoughts and ideas; I'm pretty interested to hear how other people use their iPads.

    As a researcher, I use mine for reading papers, editing documents and emailing on the go. I also have games and other gimmicks, and it serves as my news portal each morning :)
  15. ratzzo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2011
    I prefer to think of it as a desktop add-on. Sometimes I feel strange using my iPad over my MBP and vice versa. And sometimes I still wonder which to take with me. Nevertheless I do not regret my acquisitions :D
  16. Philscbx macrumors regular


    Jan 4, 2007
    Mpls Mn
    I understand Apples extreme freak out of iTunes and sharing of anything.

    But I don't feel comfy bringing a $3000 MBP out on the boat when an iPad now has Lake Navigation with tracking. Coolest thing ever.

    I really want the manual for the boat on it as well.
    Tried to load the 22MB-PDF, not a chance. It can be viewed, but not saved.
    Plus the PDF is a pain to browse taking too long to load forward pages.

    Spent 4 hrs reformatting the MasterCraft 130 page 22MB PDF in text edit on the MBP.
    Probably the next step, import it to 'Pages' and add the images to go with it.

    The other painful event is standing Safari web pages.
    The thumbs are there, but no memory to hold and view it later.
    There seems to be a time out setting of 20 minutes if not viewing web pages repeatedly.
    It's then forced to reload the page.

    Ending up in fringe area, you just lost those views.

    I've looked, but find it odd there is no - Best of Apps - listed on the site here for the iPad1.

  17. wx4olf macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2010
    This is exactly how I use my iPad for business. Sync up some reference files with Dropbox and hit the road sans laptop. Still use pen and paper (moleskin notebook) for note taking during meetings then digitize them with the Scanner Pro app. Unless I need to do some serious spreadsheet work while on the road the iPad allows me to leave my heavy laptop at the office. :)
  18. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Hi. I write about half of my work in Japanese, and I haven't had any more problems with the iPad than I have with the Mac OSX. They are both "dumb" and do a really pitiful job of bringing up the proper characters (compared to Windows or even your average dumb phone), but otherwise I am pleased and get by well enough. The keyboard is fine (in my opinion).

    Could you clarify what you meant when you said that the keyboard input is not good, and how will iOS5 improve it?
  19. tstarks33 macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    As others have pointed out, this is no surprise at all. For serious business work, the word processing apps and excel charts leave a lot to be desired. Also, as the article pointed out, input just isn't where it needs to be. Yes, sure, you can attach a keyboard... but that defeats the purpose. Having a better file management system would also help. There are often workarounds to some of these issues, but that's just it - you have to constantly work around the limitations of the machine without any substantial benefit.

    I know there are exceptions, and for some folks, tablets are perfect. But if you do any kind of content creation or manipulation as part of your job, it's hard to see how a tablet can replace a laptop. It's a great laptop companion/temporary replacement device, though!
  20. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I am afraid the article is the same kind of rubbish that newspaper has been spewing out for years. It is a fluff piece that makes sweeping assertions and throws out anecdotal evidence to support some rather tenuous claims. No offense to the OP! It is a fun thread. But, I don't put much stock in the piece.

    Input is fine. Exactly where would it be? Presumably, you mean it isn't at the level it needs to be. I type on it all of the time without any real issues. I prefer the keyboard, because I can go much faster, though. The keyboard doesn't defeat the purpose, because when you want to read (on the train) you pull out the iPad, and when you want to work (in a coffee shop) you pull out the keyboard. It is flexible and compact. I get a lot done on it (I have another thread in the forum explaining in detail). It is certainly a powerful content creation device.

    The problem I see in the examples cited in the article, and I think you pretty much said this, is that the iPad is a great device for supplementing other ones. I would say 90% of my time is spent on the iPad, but I have to have a computer, and I would never replace my computer with the iPad. The companies in the article threw money at the iPad in some bizarre attempt to get people to do more work, sort of like buying you 100 crayons to write an essay.

    Knowing what the iPad can and cannot do, there are a ton of things that you can use it for, but equating it with a computer would be a mistake.

    The Galapagos is such a joke. Seriously. Hilarious. Yet another dead-end gadget created for the domestic market to waste money on.

    Taking a cynical view, I have a feeling companies (who pay for train rides) want to find a way to squeeze work out of their employees while they are crammed on a train (even when you get a seat, you usually have very little space), and they are frustrated that (big surprise) people cannot work terribly well standing on a moving platform (the train floor) in a room full of people (the train) with their ipad held in front of their face (great for reading, but no way to type there). Nevermind the energy saving initiatives of having fewer trains (more people than ever now) the air conditioning off (they crack the windows, but it does little good), and the lights low or off in places. lol.
  21. mwhq macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2010
    I'm not surprised in the corporate World iPads are disregarded. Many programs and formats, including office aren't always universal, security can cause issues, mail clients have to be considered etc etc. Many large companies will still opt for a windows across the board many medium size businesses will go down the mac route.

    Although I love mac OS's and apple are ramping up sales extremely fast on a consumer level, they still have the massive task of penetrating the corporate World. I'm sure this will change later down the road.

    I run an SMB and have mac setups, including iPads. My iPad is used for browsing, mind mapping, task management and project goals, music, movies and that's about it. Point is, iPad is lightyears away from achieving what my MBP can do, that's fine I still love it although it's highly frustrating at times. As far as business apps go for iPad, nothing to write home about. There's a long way to go until an iPad makes serious impacts on business efficiency, generate revenue therefor why would a business invest in a relaively expensive product to get no great return.
  22. davidlw macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2008
    Depends on what your needs are. I am a road salesman and the combination of my iPhone, iPad, and MobileMe is great. I have about 1200 customers and am able to service them and get my job done in the field so that when I get back to my office, all of the notes etc. are already waiting on me using MobileMe.
  23. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Interesting Thread

    Some very good points raised here. I had an ipad1 and now have the 2. When I got the first device, I really didn't think it would be of much use to me as a work tool.

    I considered that a bit of web browsing, some photo's and a lot of my music would probably be about as far as the device would take me, and I would have been quite happy if that had been the case.

    After I'd had my first generation for a couple of month's, browsed the app store and realised just how much I COULD do with it, my opinion changed dramatically.

    I started looking at the iPad as more than just an entertainment device, and more as something I could make use of on a day to day basis. Installed Pages, Numbers, found I could print to my wireless printer and realised that the iPad was much more than the "Toy" I first thought it was.

    Having said that, it will never replace a decent laptop for a number of reasons. We have to remember that it is a Cloud device. Syncing to your home device is not really an efficient way of being productive.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved the first one, and my ipad2 is better still, but I still own a high spec laptop running Windows (which I hate) why? Because I have to.

    I don't think Apple have any intention of marketing the iPad as a laptop replacement....It's not. It comes, however, very close to my idea of the perfect mobile device.
  24. jessica.s macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2012
    REFLEXCASE - Business iPad Case

    If you're looking for a business iPad case, I would recommend checking out the new REFLEXCASE for iPad! It has a built in writing pad that makes it super convenient for business. Hand made in Seattle, with a very sleek professional style!



  25. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Good Grief. Spam -AND- necroposting at the same time?

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