By Dean Whittaker

The iPad is becoming a constant companion for the mobile economic development professional.  It is providing the platform for a wide range of applications that allows us to respond to our clients needs faster and do our work more efficiently as well as distinguish ourselves.

During our webinar this month, we were asked by a participant if the iPad is replacing our laptop or desktop computer.  My sense is that if it hasn’t, it soon will replace the laptop and eventually the desktop except for the most processing intensive applications.

The iPad will do 95% of what my desktop does by 1) using a blue tooth keyboard, 2) connecting it to a flat-panel LED screen using the HDMI video output of the iPad 2 which mirrors the iPad 2 screen, and 3) printing to a wifi enabled printer. 

A desktop or laptop is still necessary to backup the iPad by syncing it with iTunes.  However, that may soon change with Cloud Computing (using the Internet for storage and backup).  Apple recently acquired the iCloud domain indicating their intent to move iTunes to the Internet.

The primary use of personal computer technology has not changed much in 40 years.  We still use them for word-processing (iPad Pages), Spreadsheets (iPad Numbers), and Communications (iPad Email, Safari web browser, and Keynote presentation software).  We still use them to collect, organize, and retrieve information.  However, our devices have become smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, and ubiquitous. It is predicted that 85% of all media will be consumed using a mobile computing device by 2015 or sooner. 

-Here are the Top Ten iPad applications (other than games) that might interest you:

1. Email – pre-installed; can sync with Outlook

2. Safari – pre-installed; web browser

3. Calendar – pre-installed; syncs with Outlook

4. Contact – pre-installed; connects with email and other apps

5. iBook – pre-installed book store and also bookshelf for PDF files

6. iMap – pre-installed maps with driving directions; links to contacts

7. DropBox – 2 gig free storage; share, retrieve, and synchronize files on the Internet

8. Pages – $9.99 word processing

9. Numbers – $9.99 spreadsheets and charts

10. Keynote – $9.99 presentations 

-Other iPad applications to note:

1. Flipboard – free; aggregates social media into readable magazine-style flip pages

2. Zite – free; a personal magazine that gets smarter as you use it

3. Motion Maps – $3.95; shows multiple weather maps changing over time

4. Business Analyst On Line – free trial; compare demographics between locations

5. Yelp – free; restaurant location and reviews by type, prices, and ratings

-Helpful Books and Periodicals:

“My Ipad 2” by Gary Rosenzweig – Que Books; $29.95

“Pages for iPad” by Nolan Hester – Peachpit Press; $19.99

“Numbers for iPad” by Chris Fehily – Peachpit Press; $19.99

“Ipad Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks” by

-Webinars on Demand

iPad for Economic Development: Fad or Fundamental? – $49

iPad, Cloud Computing and Economic Development – $49