What Are the Best Apps for Making the iPad Function like a Laptop?
I'm writing a story for a national business publication that focuses on the SMB, and I'm interested to know what the best apps are for making an iPad function like a laptop.
Ben Smith(Innovation Consultant, Tribal Group)
I work remotely from the office with only an iPad quite frequently now. In addition to syncing to our Exchange server for email, contacts and diary, my essentials are:
Evernote - both as a universal archive for images / PDFs / text but also my notepad that I use to write meeting notes and email snaps of business cards into. I often start documents in Evernote and move them to a 'proper' word processor later for finishing just for the convenience of the syncing between devices. I also love the text recognition in images and PDFs (I'm a paying customer) so it's a really good quick reference for white papers, sales materials and vendor presentations.
Documents to Go - An excellent 'Office-like' suite that could allow me to author documents, but I mainly use to open attachments for a 'laptop-like' display without a full copy of Word / Powerpoint or Excel.
Reeder - I track industry news by subscribing to RSS feeds in Google Reader. Although Google has it's own mobile web interface I like Reeder as it can download and cache both text and images so I can get caught up on my reading on subways or flights.
Twitter for iPad and Tweetdeck - I use both (Twitter for personal accounts and Tweetdeck for more complex tracking of hastags / topics and corporate accounts). I like the push notifications for Twitter's own product which alert me to replies or DMs on my personal account.
Dropbox - I keep all my working files in Dropbox - syncing between laptops - anyway so they're accessible from several computers, but the iPad client means I always have access to them even without a PC.
Adobe Ideas - I'm not an artist, but for times when I might otherwise sketch out a diagram in Powerpoint I fire this app up and capture diagrams (which I sometimes later store in Evernote). I really like the way it cleans up my sketchy lines into something respectable.
Boingo WiFi finder - Essential for logging into my Boingo account at coffee shops and airports with fewer clicks than it would have taken me on the laptop.
Tripit - I use the web version when on my laptop but on the iPad the app is even quicker. It's where I store all my travel plans and without it I'd never be able to check-in at an airport again (I always lose those confirmation emails).
Recently I've also been using Bababoo (actually an iPhone app) for long calls / international calls when I'm on WiFi and my phone battery is dying at the end of the day. I like it because when I call a client it shows them my regular cell-phone number (as well as costing me less than my mobile network charge for international calls).
Apps aside, I also really like some of the other characteristics of the iPad such as 'instant on', the elegant wireless handling and long (relative to a laptop) battery life which - for me - mean I often choose it in preference to a laptop even when I have both with me. I wrote it up here: http://wirelessworker.net/2011/04/why-post-pc-doesnt-mean-tablet-ipad-2/
15 Additional Answers
Ask.com Answer for:
what are the best apps for making the ipad function like a laptop
Mark Fidelman(General Manager & Executive Vice President, Harmon.ie)
I've got 10 that I like to use.
#1 Autodesk SketchBook Pro
Autodesk SketchBook® Pro for iPad is a professional-grade paint and drawing application. Using the same paint engine as its desktop counterpart, SketchBook Pro delivers a complete set of sketching & painting tools through a streamlined and intuitive user interface designed exclusively for the iPad experience. Who is this for? The occasional designer or professional illustrator
#2 Square – Accept payments. Everywhere.
Quickly and securely accept payments for your business, service, charity, or even your couch. Generate email and SMS receipts for cash and card payments, maintain frequently sold items, calculate sales tax, and effortlessly manage and visualize all the money you take with an intuitive web-based interface.
Who is this for? Mobile businesses or those retail establishments that want to check their customer’s out in the shopping aisle.
Evernote turns the iPad into an extension of your brain, helping you remember anything and everything that happens in your life. From notes to ideas to snapshots to recordings, put it all into Evernote and watch as it instantly synchronizes from your iPhone to your Mac or Windows desktop.
Who is this for? The multi-tasker, project manager, or lifestreamer.
Numbers is a very innovative spreadsheet app designed for mobile computing. It’s the application you know and love for the Mac, completely reworked from the ground up for iPad. Tap the bright Multi-Touch display to create compelling, great-looking spreadsheets in minutes. 250 easy-to-use functions, an intelligent keyboard, flexible tables, and eye-catching charts, are at your fingertips. Caution: no Excel exporting yet
Who is this for? The numerati on the go
Keynote is a powerful presentation app designed for a mobile device. It’s the application you know and love on the Mac, but completely reworked from the ground up for iPad. It makes creating a world-class presentation, complete with animated charts and transitions, as simple as touching and tapping. Caution: Read the comments before downloading
Who is this for? Presenters, speakers and sales people
Use OmniGraphSketcher for iPad to make elegant and precise graphs in seconds, whether you have specific data to report or a concept to exp lain.
Who is this for? Most employees need a graphing tool
iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books, designed exclusively for iPad. iBooks includes the iBookstore, where you can download the latest best-selling books or your favorite classics – day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark your favorite passages.
Who is this for? All employees
#8 Webex for iPad
Attend WebEx meetings on your iPad, wherever you are. Use this application to get the full meeting experience with simultaneous data and audio. Don’t just listen in to a meeting. Join in.
Who is this for? Webinar attendees and those hosting webinars
#9 Outlook Web Access 2003 for iPad
Not rated yet
Connect to any implementation of Outlook Web Access 2003 with this custom-built application. If both of the following are true, this is the application for you:
Who is this for? Anyone with Microsoft Outlook
#10 Citrix Receiver for iPad
The new Citrix Receiver for iPad app makes it easy for iPad owners to take their virtual office with them on the go. One simple touch gives iPad owners secure access to all of their corporate Windows applications and desktops, making it easy to work from anywhere, while still enjoying the great user experience they bought an iPad for in the first place. Caution: Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop infrastructure required for production use.
Who is it for? Telecommuters, traveling salespeople and virtual employees
Rob Enderle(Analyst, Enderle Group)
The best tool I’ve yet found it from Lenovo. Yep the company that makes Windows Laptops. It is their Cloud Client and it allows you to run virtually any desktop (Windows based) application on an iPad, secure the iPad, and partially manage it. You may also be able to use Kace tools from Dell to manage the iPad and both showcase that the best companies to help make an iPad work like a PC in business are those that regularly deploy PCs in businesses. Oh and don’t forget Citrix for the iPad which also allows desktop applications to flow to the product. These would top my list.
Jan Dawson(Chief Telecoms Analyst, Ovum)
To me there are several categories: - Apps that replicate the functionality of Microsoft Office, which would include the Apple versions - Keynote, Pages and Numbers, and the various Office replacements such as DocsToGo, QuickOffice and so on. The Apple products really aren't replacements since they're designed to work with the desktop versions of those pieces of software rather than the Microsoft suite. The others are pretty good in many ways, though they still lack some advanced editing features like tracked changes. - Apps that allow you to 'phone home' and use your actual desktop / laptop remotely. Rob has mentioned some examples, but there are multiple VNC clients out there on the iPad, such as Mocha VNC, as well as GoToMyPC and others. These allow you to do everything you would normally do on your computer as long as you have connectivity (not always a given, especially on a plane). Although even there, some user interface elements which are designed for a mouse and/or keyboard don't always play nicely with the touchscreen on the iPad. - Apps that allow you to get access to your work remotely, often used in conjunction with something from that first category. DocsToGo and others have some built-in interfaces to syncing products, but standalone options include Dropbox, Sugarsync, Box.net and so on. Evernote is another application which is mostly used for text notes rather than more complex formatted documents but makes syncing notes between multiple platforms very easy and efficient.
If I'm honest, I'm still skeptical that any combination of these apps can really allow you to work without a desktop or laptop computer for an extended period of time if you need to work with complex documents or workflows. But picking the right ones can allow you to save some wear and tear on your back and shoulders by traveling light with just the iPad for a day or two.
Michael Dortch(Senior Product Marketing Manager, ServiceNow)
One of the best tools for enhancing iPad functionality isn't an app at all -- it's a Bluetooth keyboard. Apple's is nice, and Brookstone, Kensington and ZAGG all make iPad cases that include such keyboards and hold the iPad at decent angles for reading, writing and editing. For those much more comfortable with laptop-like keyboards, such a keyboard or case, combined with any of the apps mentioned by others previously, go a long way towards making the iPad a more capable and comfortable laptop adjunct -- or substitute.
We had a similar question come up a few months ago that may be relevant to what you're looking for. I hope this helps:
My company has recently migrated our email to the cloud thanks to Google Apps/Docs. Due to this, the built-in Email App for iPad is my primary business app. With this migration, I can now access all of my email (including sent emails from other devices and all of my email folders). I do most of my emailing from my iPad now.
Next would be DropBox. I store encrypted files in my DropBox account and with the DropBox App, I can access them from my iPad or iPhone or laptop or desktop. I'm a huge fan of cloud storage and access anywhere and DropBox makes it easy. The iPad app is simple to use and I use it a lot.
The QuickOffice App for iPad brings it all together. I have my Google email account and my DropBox account linked to QuickOffice and I can easily move, read, and delete documents within these other cloud storage spaces using QuickOffice. My presentations also look great when viewed within the QuickOffice App. I almost never pay for apps, but this was a purchase I have not regretted.
I also use AwesomeNote App. This is an app that I have missed from my desktop/laptop. I use it mostly for organizing my personal to-do lists, but I can see it as a powerful app for other business users. The calendar, folders, lists, even custom drawing would be a great journal for a visual artist, chef, or teacher, in my opinion.
The WebEx App allows me easily view WebEx presentations and sharing on my iPad. And since I have the iPad2, the WebEx App supports 2 way video so I can share my video via the WebEx App as well.
And since I travel, the Maps App and Video App help me find my way and kill time. Yes, airplanes now have wifi access, but I have found that it can cost ten dollars and has barely the bandwith to send emails let alone stream video. I load up my iPad with a video or 2 and then I'm set for the flight. Once I arrive, I can usually find local food, sights, and transportation hubs with the Maps app.
Being a developer, I am tied to my laptop. The iPad gives me some freedom and flexibility that I do not have with my laptop. I wouldn't take my laptop out to dinner and then choose and buy movie tickets during dessert. But I can and do with my iPad. At work, my iPad is great for logging notes during meetings. I do not envision replacing my laptop with an iPad, but I am more productive and flexible because of it.
If you get the Citrix Receiver application (paired up with a Xenserver virtual desktop environment), plus an iPhone to use as a 'trackpad', and a bluetooth keyboard as someone mentioned earlier, you'll actually have a fairly laptop-like experience.
A couple notes though: - You have to be connected to some sort of network (cellular or WiFi) for this to work - It's probably not as good of a Windows experience as you would get with all but the cheapest, underpowered laptops
Bob Egan(Managing Director)
The key word is “like” a laptop because an iPad under most use cases is not a close replacement for a laptop. Tablets ergonomics remain more weighted towards, read first, view first, and write second. This really is a critical distinction for anyone considering the swap out of an iPad (or any tablet).
With that in mind coupled with people using tablets like the iPad for business and personal use (the consumerization effect) here are some recommendations:
Worry Relievers. Dropbox – provides a centralize cloud storage location for files that allows you to access your files from a tablets, phone or laptop.
SugarSync: Cloud storage apps like DropBox and Evernote are no substitute for back up your files. SugarSync does a nice job making sure your files are backed up and available where, when you need them. SugarSync is a worry reliever.
Email: SMB’s today should not host exchange servers for email themselves anymore. Its very easy – and for many – a near cost – to have their email identity be hosted by Microsoft’s Office 356 or Google Apps. In fact, “push” information management (Calendar, Contact and email) work much better on an iPad that has these services configured using these services.
Conference calls: GotoMeeting and WebEx do a really nice job. Skype continues to do a great job adding features and I use it often for calls but Skype remains second rate when it comes to robust conference calling features on an iPad or other tablets.
Getting work done. Soonr has a new application out for the iPad that could be a game changer. As others have mentioned Office2Go, QuickOffice wrap a lot of nice document editing together, and most of use cobble in the worry reliever apps like Dropbox, Evernote and SugarSync, soonr bring them all together. Cloud storage, document editing and sync all in one app.
Document reading: Amazon’s Kindle app is very convenient (for many reasons) and a solid document reader. GoodReader is a very agile reader for RSS feeds (including Google feeds), PDF files.
FlipBoard and Zite allow you to read news in a really nice format on your iPad. Of the two, I am getting a bit more partial to Zite because it learns your reading preferences over time - Ipad use is all about convenience and saving time.
Daniel Wong(President, Daniel Wireless LLC)
Most of the apps that come to my mind have already been mentioned by others in the excellent answers above, e.g., dropbox, webex
A couple of others: qik plus allows video calls that work with your 3G data plan (if your ipad is so equipped), whereas facetime only works over wifi.
I find the mail reader app that comes with the ipad to be very convenient as a single place to aggregate and handle all my email, calendars, etc.; unlike a smartphone like the iphone, the ipad is large enough to allow reasonably long emails to be entered; unlike a laptop, the ipad is more portable and convenient to bring around.
As a google voice user, I appreciate the google voice app that among other things provides a convenient alternative way to access to voice mail over wifi, plus of course, the multiple-ring features. Other comms related apps like skype and twitter are cool too.
Maps and navigation apps are helpful for travel, and cloudreader is a convenient reader for pdf docs.
+1 for accessory ZAGGmate Qwerty keyboard hard carrying case and apps Dropbox storage and Cohuman task management.
Tim Ebenezer(Managing Director, Codeshape Limited)
DropBox is great for pulling documents down, but doesn't format Office 2010 documents correctly all the time; particularly has problem with complex table rendering. I imagine this is actually due to the built in OS parsers for these types of documents.
I think this question is slightly moot however; since the iPad should not be looked at to serve this function. The MacBook Air, for instance, that I have, is only slightly bigger than my iPad; but can multi task in a more 'desktop' workflow suitable way.
The iPad plays to other strengths; a capacitive stylus with software like Penultimate allows it to be used effectively for wireframing and brainstorming sessions. Mind mapping tools and diagramming tools like Omnigraffle, enable great collaborative working. Evernote is perfect for capturing meetings, both audio, notes and taking photos of whiteboards etc; and then distributing them.
The point I make is that an iPad's strength is not in being a 'laptop replacement'; it is a third category of device, and should be treated as such. Environments where laptops have been used, but aren't suitable (ie. meetings, roundtables etc.); should be recapture to be done on a tablet. It's a paradigm and working shift, and we must be adaptable to it.
Contador Harrison(Software Developer, Somocon Oy)
Apple says there are more than 67,000 iPad apps in the iTunes App Store today. With that kind of choice, finding the best can be difficult and it will largely depend on the industry your working in. You should also figure out main reason for buying iPad.iPad 2 is much more superior that its predecessor because it has New Smart Covers that protect the screen without spoiling the design, Faster processing and graphics, Lighter, thinner design and more important has Cameras for video calling as well its cheaper than iPad 1.
If you buy iPad so that people can see that you own an iPad your lost and most likely you will be a disgruntled element. My advise is buy iPad for its functionality, and then work out on the functionality and make good use of it. The “Sent from my iPad” email signature thing is outdated and with iPad 2, you can actually film your own face as you talk to lesser mortals via video conference.
My top ten iPad 2 applications
Twitter is one of the applications that has been updated to take advantage of the iPad 2’s cameras.The ability to take a snapshot from within the app is a handy tweak. Instapaper? is an applications that has helped me save articles from my browser and read them later in Instapaper’s uncluttered app. I have also learned to save articles from my computer, my phone and iPad.The recent update has more social options for sharing and finding articles as well. Garageband which has long been popular on the Mac but its iPad makeover takes it beyond what was possible on a desktop. The touchscreen allows my iPad to become a whole range of musical instruments, some of which can do things that a physical instrument can’t. iMovie?is an application that I have used to do some complex video editing using iMovie. You can also use touchscreen can be used to make sophisticated clips that can be uploaded to the web from the device. iA Writer is an application that offers a better choice for writing. It essentially turns your iPad into a typewriter and lets you save your work to Dropbox which also another important application for iPad 1 and 2. Evernote is a free essential note-taking application.I do save documents, web clippings, audio files, pictures and of course text notes and then access them from Evernote on any device including my iPhone and Laptop. And for iPad 2 it even allows me to take picture notes with the iPad. Flipboard application takes the activity from social networks like Twitter,Facebook and presents them in an attractive glossy magazine-style layout. Kindle?is Amazon’s Kindle application that gives you access to more titles than Apple’s iBookstore and at better prices as well. The reading experience is a matter of taste. 1Password works like a magic when especially when you move between computers a lot it can be difficult to remember the logins for all the websites you use. 1Password keeps them all in one place and syncs with your other devices .That means that you can use more complicated passwords for added security. Dropbox has made my work easier when it comes to move files between my various devices.I do Upload my files to Dropbox from any device and you’ll be able to get them on my iPad thanks to this application.
Michael Bethuy(CEO, Avant Garde Information Solutions, LLC)
If you want a desktop experience from a software perspective you will need a thin client. Citrix Receiver is my preference. Rob Enderle above referenced another. The next issue, then, is the hardware. Samuel Yates and Michael Dortch gave specific answers in this regard. But this begs the question... why not just get a laptop?
I see a lot of good answers here. I have been using my iPad since day one. I train others on how to do just what you are asking, for the company I work for.
Here are my thoughts:
1. The iPad is an opportunity to do things a different way, a better way than we did with the laptops. The first step might be to emulate the laptop experience but you are really making pregress when you break the chain of tradition and enter into pure tablet computing.
2. I would be lost without my Verizon Wirelss 4G LTE MiFi for connectivity anywhere.
3. Goodreader is the most useful app I have. It can read over 30 different document formats including audio and video formats, it offers a easy to use yet sophisticated file structure for managing the documents AND it can project the file through an overhead projector (really important for us iPad 1 users. It does a lot more but you must have this app. 4. I agree Citrix Receiver, Numbers, Keynote, Pages and Evernote are good tools to have.
5. Max Journal is a good diary app.
6. Notepad Pro is a good note taking app that lets you scribble, type,or record voice.
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