If I was buying my first tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Microsoft Surface Pro, Google Nexus and several others would all get consideration and no doubt would help me be productive, but I'd still pick iPad for the range of apps and the ecosystem that supports it.
Of the many iPad apps I use, here are the four I find really make using the iPad worthwhile.
Tweetbot: Get more more out of Twitter
I'm an information hog. Twitter for me is an invaluable tool for information gathering. I follow some very insightful people and have lists created for industry news sites I follow. For me I use Twitter like others use RSS feeds. I find it easier to consume key information and insights from those I follow related to all the key markets I am interested in.
There are several third party Twitter applications that use a service called 'Tweet Marker' which keeps your timeline in sync across devices. This means I can get caught up on Twitter using Tweetbot on my iPhone and then move to my iPad and pick up my timeline right where I left off. This is more than just convenient, it is also a time saver.
Tweetbot is by far the best third party Twitter client out there and it is my default application.
Perspective: Visualize data & tell a compelling story
My default presentation and data visualization tool is Perspective by Pixxa. This app is loaded with useful features and the team continually adds unique and innovative features for those of us who constantly give presentations.
Perspective allows people like myself to visualize data in ways that let me tell a more compelling story. Key animations for data and other visuals assist greatly in the data story telling process. But it doesn't stop there. Pixxa also has a number of unique services that let you record presentations and broadcast them publicly or privately.
Perspective adds another feature for Pro accounts called Airshow. This allows a single iPad to act as a master presentation tool connecting and displaying the same data and experience on all other iPads in the room or around the world.
I've used this several times in business meetings to broadcast my iPad and the presentation to all the execs in the room also using iPads.
Useful and a powerful demo of the power of the iPad in business.
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Pages: Keeping all my docs in sync
I'm a fan of Apple's Pages application. Our company standardized on using Pages for our word processing. We have chosen these tools for our templates and documentation over Microsoft Office for a variety of reasons.
The most valuable thing to me with Pages is how it syncs with Apple's iCloud service and keeps all my documents in the cloud. I personally just go back and forth between my iPad and my MacBook Pro frequently.
Pages allows me to start a document on my iPad or MacBook Pro and keeps that document in sync in real time across all my screens. So no matter what device, iPad, iPhone or Mac, I am using at the time I can always pick up my documents and keep working on them at the exact place I left off.
I choose Pages for this but there are many good iPad and Mac word processors that do documentation sync though iCloud. ByWord and iAWriter and honorable mentions as great word processors that will keep your content in sync.
(One thing to be aware of is when sending Pages docs as attachments is to save them as Word files since Pages files can't be read by those without the program).
Catan HD: Strategic fun
Now as great as the iPad is for business and productivity, it is also great for games. I'm a big fan of strategy board games and The Settlers of Catan burst onto the scene and gained massive fanfare and a loyal fan base. Catan HD is the iOS version of the Settlers of Catan and it does not disappoint.
Another honorable mention with respect to games that I use frequently is Ticket to Ride.
If you look at the common theme I mentioned with many of my must have apps you will notice it is synchronization. The iPad is not used in isolation to other devices.
I call this sequential workflow and over 60% of executives we talked to employing multi-screen devices do it.
Software, and applications, that take advantage of all the screens being used by workers is the next frontier in software.
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