Think of AirDisplay not as an app that makes your iPad more productive, but one that extends the functionality of your laptop. When you’re on the road and could really benefit from having a second monitor, AirDisplay turns your iPad into that second screen. You can also have it mirror your computer's screen, giving you a neat way to meet with clients or business partners and show them demos, sales figures, presentations, and the like.
Keeping your business and personal life in order can prove a true challenge, but FileMaker's Bento for iPad aims to solve the problem. The iPad app makes it simple for anyone—even novices—to create attractive databases for keeping their lives and work in order. Thanks to 25 pre-designed templates, a flexible editing system, and a clean, intuitive interface, you can get your work on track in minutes. Bento can be used as a standalone iPad app, or in conjunction with the new $49 Bento 4 for Mac OS X.
CardMunch, a contact-management app affiliated with LinkedIn, automates the process of adding a new business contact; just snap a photo of someone's business card and it will automatically upload to a remote location where a real human will verify the data before syncing it to your app. Contact info includes full LinkedIn profile data, when available. It provides much more accurate and better results than any mobile OCR scanning app, and it's truly free—no charges for uploading data. You do need a LinkedIn account in order to use CardMunch, but LinkedIn membership is also free.
Citrix’s GoToMyPC iPad app makes it simple to control your computer while you’re away from your work area. Some latency issues may dampen the experience, but there is still no substitute for being able to log onto your primary work computer when you need to, and this app specifically supports that goal.
on documents easily and without having to print, scan, or fax a single sheet of paper. It works very much the same as the Docusign web app (4 stars for the Pro edition). The app is free, as is a Docusign account, although you’ll hit some limitations with only a free account, such as only being able to request a signed document from others five times per month.
Got a Dropbox account? If you use Dropbox to sync files from your desktop or laptop computers, then download the free app to make all those files even more accessible when all you’re carrying is an iPad.
The eFax iPad app makes it simple to send and receive faxes from your tablet, losing very little in the transition from desktop to mobile. A free account lets you receive (not send) a handful of faxes, but upgrading to a Plus or Pro account opens the door to faxing freedom.
Evernote is a note-taker’s dream come true, due in part to the fact that it has the best search around. Jot down ideas by typing text, recording an audio memo, snapping an image (whiteboards, street signs, menus, and anything else you want to remember) and Evernote will save it and make it searchable. You can use tags for even more advanced sorting and searching, as well as notebooks for organizing your notes. It’s the one app I never leave behind when I have business meetings.
FileMaker Go is a useful tool for businesspeople who want to access FileMaker databases on the go, as it gives them the option of shedding a laptop or roaming free from a desktop PC. The ability to create new files and charts from scratch would be a huge benefit, but even without those features, FileMaker Go is a more than worthy download.
Need to connect to the office’s secured network from an iPad? Small businesses looking for a virtual private network (VPN) solution for iPads should consider iSimplyConnect, which is fast, easy to deploy, a snap to use, and quite affordable.
iWork for iPad
With Apple's iWork for iPad suite of office applications—Pages for word processing, Numbers for spreadsheets, and Keynote for presentations— you can do real work on an iPad. The tablet version of Apple's office suite offers only a basic subset of features and functions compared to the high-powered OS X version of iWork. The iPad's cramped on-screen keyboard can slow down productivity, so if you're serious about using the iPad for work, pick up the Apple iPad Keyboard Dock ($69.00 direct), too.
For many professionals, myself included, LinkedIn acts as a contact manager for their extended network. When it comes to finding business acquaintances’ contact information in a hurry, LinkedIn does the trick. The social site can also help by briefing you about new contacts before you meet them face-to-face for the first time, which can help you make the right first impression of looking super prepared and highly productive.
Note Taker HD
Editors' Choice Note Taker HD is a great note-taking app that does the job nicely, without denting your wallet. The number of features may overwhelm casual users, but anyone looking for a multi-faceted tool for annotating, diagramming, and doodling will find a lot to like in this productivity app.
OfficeTime gives contractors, lawyers, consultants, and other on-the-go professionals the tools they need to make the bucks they deserve by recording billable hours, while they work, to the minute and expenses to the penny. It contains tools for managing projects and clients with ease, while also providing great flexibility and customization for a business's unique needs. And because it's a one-time purchase with no subscription fees or add-on costs, OfficeTime for iPad is a bargain and a PCMag Editors' Choice product.
If you need a free iPad note-taking app that lets you talk whatever you want to write down, PaperPort Notes is the best option. PaperPort also syncs with Dropbox or Box.net. If you're already comfortable using dictation software, the app is a breeze to use. Moreover, it doesn't contain a single advertisement. It's not quite picture-perfect, with a few interface idiosyncrasies, but among free note-taking apps, it's one that can really boost your productivity.
Fast, flexible, and friendly, Penultimate is a first-rate handwriting app (sans keyboard) for the iPad that aims to replace your favorite pen with your index finger. Using the app is second nature because it's nearly the same as doodling in a paper notebook. When paired with a touch stylus like the Kensington Virtuoso ($24.99), Penultimate can scale to the professional demands of engineers, architects, and industrial designers. At less than a buck, Penultimate is a bargain, all reasons it's an Editors' Choice.
To get work done effectively on an iPad, you need an app that lets you access your preferred storage system, create new documents, and edit existing documents from your preferred storage area. Apps that do one or two of those things are a dime a dozen, but it's hard to find a good one that can do them all. The three-in-one productivity app Polaris Office ($12.99) for both iPhone and iPad radically changes the office landscape. It's an alternative to Apple's iWork suite for editing and creating documents, but also gives you access to a few of the major storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). You can edit your existing spreadsheets, Powerpoint files, and Word documents, or create new ones and save them locally or to your storage service.
The organizational iPad app Priority Matrix is a good example of an app that contains the functionality to be useful, but may not appeal to all users due to its slightly unconventional schematic design. In Priority Matrix, you set up projects and associate tasks or to-do list items to them. The twist is that you then must categorize each task into one of four quadrants. You can change what these four quadrants are called, but the defaults are: critical and immediate, critical but not immediate, not critical but immediate, and not critical and not immediate. Priority Matrix could be a great productivity tool to add to your iPad toolkit, if you like the slightly unusual schema.
If you've ever needed to add a new page to the front or rear of an existing PDF, Save2PDF is the app for you. It lets mobile professionals select multiple files of different types and merge them into a single PDF file. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. You can also edit, zip, and wirelessly print documents from this productivity app.
iPad users looking for a way to easily retrieve their office files should definitely check out Sugar Sync. It's similar to Dropbox, but you get more space with a free account: 5GB (Dropbox gives you 2GB). When your files are available to you from everywhere and automatically synchronized, you never waste time trying to sort out which version of what file you put where.