Productivity on iPad

Truth be told, getting an iPad seemed extravagant. I got a mini for my husband for his travels, and after trying it, I could not live without one myself. At first, I started using the iPad to play games, read books and browse social media. Then, I began doing all my banking and checking my emails, and even reading the news, which led to me canceling my daily newspaper subscription. Slowly but surely, I started to use the iPad all the time for my personal life and my home computer less and less. But work-wise, I still had not found its niche. After doing some research, I found some tips and tricks that make the iPad really useful for both work and play. 

There are many navigation tricks built into the iPad that eliminate the need to press the home button. If you enable the “Multitasking Gestures” slider in the General Settings tab, you are able to use your hand to quickly change the app you using. Here is a useful video from that shows how to quickly close any app with your fingers.

On the keyboard, there are hidden characters that appear when you press and hold a key. For example, when I type in Spanish, I need the “ñ” all the time and I could not find it. Finally, I found that by holding the N key there is a pop up window that allows you to select other characters hidden behind the key. Apostrophe for example is under the “!” key and quotes are under the “?” key. Even under the .com key there other url endings like .org, .net, .edu, etc.

The tablet comes in handy for watching regular tv in places I do not have a tv, like my kitchen. I always complained that I couldn’t see the news while cooking dinner. Now, I can hook up to the Time Warner Cable App (TWC TV) and watch regular cable channels on the iPad. Same goes with HBO Go to watch HBO programming, but you have to be subscribed to HBO to use it.

Uploading things in and out of the iPad, like personal documents, photos or videos, can be tricky if you are not linking directly to a computer. Problem solved by getting the Dropbox app on your computer at home, at work and on the iPad. Now as long as there is a WiFi connection for the iPad, transferring files is easy with just a quick visit to Dropbox. Dropbox allows a free basic account with 250 MB and it can be upgraded for more space. It also allows you to set up a public file where you can store shareable files and send links to friends so they can go directly to that file and download it. It is a great tool for business especially sharing documents you worked on using your iPad while sitting on the couch.

In the marketing business, we need to show a lot of artwork to clients. Sometimes they are gifs or videos. These are not as easy to show on the iPad because of the restricted upload and download using iTunes and iPhoto. For viewing gifs, there is an app called GifPlayer, which allows you to download any gif from the web, or if you use Dropbox, you can link to a gif you made and upload it through this app and preview it on the iPad. No WiFi required after you upload it because it is saved on the iPad memory.

To upload professional videos to your iPad, and by this I mean videos not made with Apple’s proprietary program iMovie, it gets a little trickier—the IPad won’t let you upload any video (MP3, or MP4) through the synching application, it has to have the right encoding for it to work. For iPad, the video encoding needed is MP4 H.264. To do this, you can download the free Handbrake program and rip the video to the correct format. Using Handbrake, ripping the video was a very easy and painless process. Only then, you can open iTunes and import the new file into the “Movie” partition of iTunes. Once the video is imported to iTunes you are able to select which movie you want to download to the iPad and synch!

I watched a presentation once where the presenter was able to show on the large screen a picture of what they were doing on their iPad live. It was a great tool if presenting something to a client. Here are a few iPad presentation apps that you can use.

I did not get the G4 enabled iPad, because with my mobile account I can create a personal WiFi hotspot and share it with my iPad. This means I can save myself the $10.00 monthly fee to add my tablet to my wireless network. Not necessary!

Overall, I’m happy with my iPad and its functionality in several different settings. It’s portability and user-friendly interface make it the one tool I can’t give up—for work or for play.