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Jan
28

Apple's iPad: An Amazing Tool for Business

Yesterday’s announcement by Steve Jobs and Apple about the new iPad was met with laughter and let down by many.  Apple has raised the bar so many times when it comes to product innovation that fans expect (demand) to be blown away by anything new coming out of Cupertino.  Whereas the iPad may not be a mind-blowing device (as the iPhone was three years ago), it does expands on Apple’s existing technology making it even more useable….especially for business.

Christopher Penn’s post on the business applications of the iPad really got me thinking:  Games aside, this really is a powerful tool for sales and marketing professionals who spend a lot of time out in the field.

If you’ve ever had to lug around a laptop to make multiple presentations throughout the day you know what I’m talking about.  Meeting with small business owners who are multi-tasking during your presentation can be a tricky thing.

What salesperson hasn’t had to pick up all their wares and follow the owner around their plant as they make rounds, put out fires or check on their employees.  Making a presentation via laptop can be very difficult in those types of situations.  Worse is when the prospective client has no room on his or her desk for you to even place your computer.  Having to always ask to sit close to an electrical outlet is bothersome to say the least.

Enter the iPad.  It’s sleek design is impressive yet trumped by it’s compact size.  Easy to maneuver and flip around to show off information since the screen reorientates itself whenever moved around.  You say your prospective client has five minutes to give you?  No problem.  That’s plenty of time to fire up the iPad (one month of standby battery life!), pull up the appropriate app and launch into your presentation.  Before it would take five minutes just to pull out your laptop and boot up.  This alone makes it a valuable tool for sales warriors constantly on the road.

But wait, there’s more.  Access to video, pictures and a plethora of media that you’ve pre-selected to show a prospective client is all at  your fingertips.  All accessible with a few touches of the screen.  Need to schedule a follow up appointment?  No more fumbling for your contact manager – it’s all right there.  The possibilities are endless.

  • Matthew Bane

    I’m not so sure I agree. Consider:

    If you are a road warrior, then chances are you need to do work as well as give presentations. The iPad doesn’t have a physical keyboard and is not intended to be used as a workhorse laptop. This means that you just added another thing you have to lug around.

    My laptop goes into sleep mode when I close the lid, and can remain in that state for quite a long time (not sure its a month, but a day or two for sure). It reboots in seconds from sleep. My laptop also has a 5 runtime, eliminating the need to plug in at an off-site location. So if you are shutting down your laptop from visit to visit and think you need to plug in all the time, that’s more of a user issue than a technical one.

    Most people who are on the road already have smart phones — be it BlackBerry or something else. Why would you also need your contact list on the thing? You can’t make a call with it, you can’t print with it, and your phone already synchs with you laptop. Why add more work for yourself?

    And as far as presentations go — your presentation, website demo or other integrated presentation better not include Flash, because this device will not play any flash content whatsoever. So your snazzy company website that you are hoping to sell someone on might just look pretty lame on this thing.

    Finally, if you have a Blackberry you can use this device to connect to the internet by hooking it up to your laptop. Not so with the ipad. With that you can get used to paying another $30 a month (on top of you phone or other devices) — for eternity.

    Tablet computers have been released before, and all have fallen flat. Perhaps the time is right here, but I don’t believe the primary buyer will be a business user. It will be someone who wants a snazzier e-reader, wants to play casual games, or browse the internet. This isn’t really a work device, it’s an entertainment device, much like comparing a iphone to a Blackberry. Most businesses use Blackberry, because it is designed to be a business tool.

  • http://www.ipadcompetition.net fred limption

    Very super information about the apple ipad.

  • http://www.mossbenefits.com Jon Moss

    @Matthew – thanks for sharing your thoughts. You bring up some good points that I’m certain will be addressed in future iPad releases. Apple’s way of doing things, as everyone is probably aware, is to release future updated versions of a product that do more things, have more memory or include features (some of which you mentioned) missing on earlier models.

    Time will tell, but I really do believe business will latch on to this new form computing tool.

    • Aran

      I wholeheartedly agree that the iPad will be a phenomenal sales tool. I am in media sales and have been anxiously waiting the arrival of the iPad since day one, specifically as a way to communicate my message to prospective clients. Not only does it have a “wow” factor that can’t be matched, it eliminates the need for paper one sheets, stapled presentations and clunky explanations of web products. Now everything can be streamlined into 1 tool. When I’m done with the presentation, I’ll simply email it to the client for their records (that is if I don’t digitally create the contract on the spot!)

      Looking forward to it and will definitely report back when I get mine.

  • http://www.ipaddaily.com Shane

    Jon,
    Indeed it is turning out to be a great business tool. There are limitations for sure, but if you are willing to overcome the fact that it’s not a true laptop replacement then it’s a perfectly viable business tool!

    Over on my iPad blog, I have a section for businesses that want to learn more how to use the iPad:

    http://www.ipaddaily.com/ipad-for-business

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  • jonfmoss

    @Shane
    Great resource – thanks for sharing!