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December 14 2013

Fisher-Price's Apptivity Seat Is Bad for Babies

As a technology reporter and mommy blogger, you’d think the Fisher-Price Apptivity Seat for newborns — an infant seat with a holder for an iPad — would be something I appreciate. But I do not. Nor, it seems, do a number of advocacy groups that want it pulled off the market because they think iPads and babies are a dangerous combination

Fisher-Price insists its seat is a sign of the times and age appropriate. I have done enough homework on early childhood development to tell you that not only is this seat a symptom of lazy parenting, it is guaranteed to make your baby more stupid.

It Takes Effort

More about Children, Infants, Apple Ipad, Lifestyle, and Family Parenting

November 23 2013

The 13-Inch iPad Rumor Makes Absolutely No Sense

The Apple rumor-mill went into overdrive this week, with renewed reports that the company has started production of a 12.9-inch iPad, the so-called iPad Pro

We've been hearing reports of a larger iPad almost as long as we've heard rumors of a larger iPhone, which is to say, years

The latest rumor comes from The Korea Times, citing a so-called "official at a local Apple supplier in Korea," the paper says Apple is going to reveal a 12.9-inch iPad in early 2014. The rationale for the bigger tablet? Apparently Apple is going to have to play catch-up with LG and Samsung, who are selling larger tablets. Read more...

More about Apple, Ipad, Apple Ipad, Tech, and Gadgets

November 09 2013

iPad Air Explodes in an Australian Phone Store

An iPad Air has exploded at one Australian phone store. As a result, the local fire department was called and the scene had to be evacuated, according to Mail Online.

The incident occurred in an Vodafone store in Canberra. A Vodafone spokesperson said a “burst of flames” appeared near the charging port of the device. This suggests the tablet “suffered from extreme heat.”

No one was injured.

An Apple representative is said to have visited the store to collect the iPad Air for testing. Officially, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company provided no comment on the incident.

This isn’t the first time an iOS device exploded. In previous instances, however, it was an iPhone that caught fire. Incidentally, one of those cases had to do with an iPhone 4 exploding on a Australian flight. Read more...

More about Apple, Tech, Australia, Ipad, and Apple Ipad
How Does iPad Air Hold Up Against 5-Foot Drop? Not Well

"Takes a licking and keeps on ticking" does not seem to be a slogan suited to Apple's new iPad Air — at least based on some recent tests performed on the new lightweight tablet.

A video shows the iPad Air dropped from about 5 feet, face down into a mound of dirt that, admittedly, seems to have some little rocks in it. The results, though, are disastrous, with the iPad Air's screen coming out completely destroyed.

The iPad Air is also dropped onto concrete, immersed in water and, in a danger few are likely to face, blown apart by an AirSoft M7 air gun. If you bought an iPad Air without insurance or Apple's AppleCare+, you may now want to reconsider Read more...

More about Apple, Ipad, Apple Ipad, Tech, and Apps Software

October 31 2013

iPad Air Takes On Every iPad Ever Made

In the battle for speediest tablet, there can be only one victor. In our side-by-side tests of every single full-sized iPad generation ever made, not surprisingly, the Apple iPad Air makes a strong case for supremacy.

Since Apple introduced the iPad in 2010, it's been continually upping the ante on its processor. The very first iPad featured a custom-built A4 mobile CPU, which ran at 1 GHz. The iPad 2 got an upgrade to the more powerful A5 chip. It, too, was clocked at 1 GHz

But, as with all Apple's ARM-based chips, the performance was more than the sum of its Hertz.

More about Apple, Tablet, Ipad, Tablets, and Apple Ipad

October 30 2013

iPads Hold a Staggering 94% of the Education Market for Tablets

Apple says it had its best quarter ever in education sales, selling more than $1 billion worth of products.

A huge chunk of that revenue can be credited to iPads. Apple said iPads accounted for 90% of tablet activations last quarter, with the iPad overall holding a 94% share of the education market for tablets

"We see Chromebooks in some places," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "But the vast majority of people are buying PC/Mac or an iPad. "It's sort of unheard of," Cook added. "I've never seen a market share that high before. So we feel like we're doing really well here, and feel great to be making a contribution to education." Read more...

More about Apple, Education, Ipad, Tablets, and Apple Ipad

October 23 2013

Ask a Dev: What's the Big Deal with the New iPads?

Tuesday's Apple event welcomed several new gadgets to the iPad family, including a new iPad Air and an updated iPad Mini with Retina display.

In our latest Ask A Dev video, iOS Architect Rene Cacheaux explains what the new iPads mean for users and for the company's future

Apple's event revealed a smoother transition between users' mobile devices and their desktops, Cacheaux said. For example, in the new iWork, anything created on a desktop displays identically on an iPad.

"We're starting to see Apple converge mobile and desktop, allowing users to do more with their devices," he said. Read more...

More about Apple, Ipad, Apple Ipad, Tech, and Gadgets

October 22 2013

Stop Whining About What Apple Didn’t Deliver

Here’s what we learned today at Apple’s iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina introduction: Apple doesn’t care about your expectations, your demand for something new. It’s still in the business of satisfying users who love their elegant designs and that certain extra-special Apple something.

We also learned that Apple is still a software company –- a software company that does not have to make money selling software. They’ll make their money on hardware like the iPad, iPad Mini, a variety of MacBooks and the new Mac Pro, thank you very much

More about Apple, Apple Ipad, Tech, Gadgets, and Ipad Air

October 03 2013

Report: iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 Will Have Improved Cameras

The iPad 5 and second-generation iPad mini, which could both be unveiled as early as this month, may have significantly better cameras. That’s according to sometimes-accurate KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo states that both tablets will launch in the fourth quarter of this year and that Apple will upgrade the cameras as a selling point. The analyst expects the rear cameras to sport an eight megapixel sensor, up from the five-megapixel version on the current models.

Much like the iPhone 5s, the aperture will also be increased to allow for better pictures.

Apple may choose to also add some of the new software-based camera features introduced with the iPhone 5s, like the slow-motion shooting capability that captures high-definition video at 120 frames per second. Read more...

More about Apple, Camera, Ipad, Apple Ipad, and Tech

August 31 2012

Can You Read Faster With ‘ReadQuick’?

ReadQuick Featured Content

Click here to view this gallery.

It’s rare that any modern-day app can take me back to my childhood, but the brand new and rather intriguing ReadQuick speed-reading app for the Apple iPad did just that — and in a good way.

Back in the 70’s when there were no personal computers or giant LCD screens, I sat in my elementary classroom staring at a projector screen, rapt by the image streaming before my eyes. It was a single line of text, whizzing by as fast as my eyes and brain could take them in. In other words, it was a very early speed-reading device for grade school kids. I have no idea how it worked. All I do know is that competitive, little 9-year-old Lance wanted to read faster than any of his classmates.

Continue reading...

More About: Apple iPad, apple, apps, iOS, readquick, speed reading

August 15 2012

10 Essential Tablet Apps for Business

It's not just customers who are drifting away from their laptops and desktops to do everything on mobile devices. More and more, entrepreneurs are cutting the bulky power cord and conducting business on the go. Thanks to tablets and the ever-growing selection of mobile apps that's easy to do.

We asked 10 successful entrepreneurs to share the apps that boost their business productivity. Here are their top picks.

1. Sign With RightSignature
I absolutely love the RightSignature iPad app. It's imperative to my business operations and easy to use. RightSignature enables a business owner to easily customize and send out legal documents, and then have the executed contracts in one place…
Continue reading...

More About: Apple iPad, applet tablet, contributor, features, mobile apps

January 01 2012

December 18 2011

Steve Jobs: 20 Life Lessons

My feelings about Steve Jobs have always been a little mixed. I long admired his entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen and was in sheer awe of his natural instincts for what appeals to consumers. On the other hand I bristled at what I saw as his — and by extension Apple’s — occasionally capricious and even contradictory actions (App store products in or out, inability to get in front of product issues, antennaegate) and super-secretive nature.

Now, having finished the 600-plus page Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, I think I finally understand Steve Jobs. Like most of us, his personality had many sides. He could be aloof, super-intense, odd, gross, passionate, creative, driven, unfair, conciliatory and deeply introspective. He lived a rich and unique life.

As I read the tome on my Kindle, I highlighted interesting, surprising and relevant passages. Now, as I look back at them I realize that many help illustrate some of the larger lessons we can all glean from Steve Jobs’ remarkable life.

Don’t Wait

When the young Steve Jobs wanted to build something and needed a piece of equipment, he went straight to the source.

“He began by recalling that he had wanted to build a frequency counter when he was twelve, and he was able to look up Bill Hewlett, the founder of HP, in the phone book and call him to get parts.”

Make Your Own Reality

Steve Jobs learned early that when you don’t like how things are in your life or in your world, change them, either through action or sheer force of will.

“As Hoffman later lamented, “The reality distortion field can serve as a spur, but then reality itself hits.” – Joanna Hoffman, part of Apple’s early Macintosh team.

“I didn’t want to be a father, so I wasn’t,” Jobs later said, with only a touch of remorse in his voice.

Control Everything You Can

Steve Jobs was, to a certain degree, a hippie. However, unlike most free spirits of the 1960s-to-1970s love-in era, Jobs was a detail-oriented control freak.

“He wants to control his environment, and he sees the product as an extension of himself.”

Own Your Mistakes

Jobs could be harsh and even thoughtless. Perhaps nowhere was that more in evidence than with his first daughter. Still, as Jobs grew older and began to face mortality, he more readily admitted his mistakes.

“I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was twenty-three and the way I handled that,” Jobs said.”

Know Yourself

While not always aware of how those around him were reacting to his appearance or demeanor, Jobs had no illusions about his own formidable intellectual skills.

“Then a more disconcerting discovery began to dawn on him: He was smarter than his parents.”

Leave the Door Open for the Fantastic

Jobs was a seeker, pursuing spiritual enlightenment and body purification throughout his life. He wasn’t a particularly religious person, but did not dismiss the existence or something beyond our earth-bound realm.

“I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.” — Steve Jobs

Don’t Hold Back

Apple’s founder was famous for his outbursts and sometimes over-emotional responses. In product development, things were often amazing or sh_t.

“He was an enlightened being who was cruel,” she recalled. “That’s a strange combination.”– former girlfriend and mother of Jobs’ first daughter, Chrisann Brennan

Surround Yourself with Brilliance

Whether he was willing to admit it or not, Steve Jobs could not do everything. Yes, he could have a huge impact on every product and marketing campaign, but he also knew that there were others in the world with skills he did not possess. Jobs’ early partnership with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak perfectly illustrated this fact. His early success with Wozniak provided the template for future collaborations.

“After a couple of months he was ready to test it. ‘I typed a few keys on the keyboard and I was shocked! The letters were displayed on the screen.’ It was Sunday, June 29, 1975, a milestone for the personal computer. “It was the first time in history,” Wozniak later said, “anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front of them.”

Build a Team of A Players

Far too often, companies and managers settle for average employees. Steve Jobs recognized talent and decided that any conflict that might arise from a company full of “A”-level players would be counterbalanced by awesome output. He may have been right.

“For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. What I saw with Woz was somebody who was fifty times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players. People said they wouldn’t get along, they’d hate working with each other. But I realized that A players like to work with A players, they just didn’t like working with C players.”– Steve Jobs

“I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them,” Jobs later explained. “By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things.”

Be Yourself

Steve Jobs was often so busy being himself that he had no idea how people saw him, especially in his early, dirty-hippie days.

“At meetings we had to look at his dirty feet.” Sometimes, to relieve stress, he would soak his feet in the toilet, a practice that was not as soothing for his colleagues.”—Mike Markkula, Apple’s first chairman.

Be Persuasive

While it’s true that early Steve Jobs was a somewhat smelly and unpleasant person to be around, this same Steve Jobs also trained himself to stare without blinking for long periods of time and found that he could persuade people to do the seemingly impossible.

“If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to shave ten seconds off the boot time?” he asked. Kenyon allowed that he probably could. Jobs went to a whiteboard and showed that if there were five million people using the Mac, and it took ten seconds extra to turn it on every day, that added up to three hundred million or so hours per year that people would save, which was the equivalent of at least one hundred lifetimes saved per year.”

Show Others the Way

Jobs wasn’t truly a programmer or technologist, certainly not in the way that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is, yet he had an intuitive understanding for technology and design that ended up altering the world’s expectations for computers and, more importantly, consumer electronics.

“To be honest, we didn’t know what it meant for a computer to be ‘friendly’ until Steve told us.” — Terry Oyama, part of the early Macintosh design team.

Trust Your Instincts

I have, in my own career, navigated by gut on more than one occasion. Steve Jobs, though, had a deep and abiding belief in his own tastes and believed with utter certainty that if he liked something, the public would as well. He was almost invariably right.

“Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?” — Steve Jobs

Take Risks

Throughout his career, Steve Jobs took chances, first with the launch of Apple, then in walking away from it and then returning in 1997. In an era when most companies were figuring out ways to diversify, Apple — under Job’s leadership — shed businesses and products, and focused on relatively few areas. He was also willing to steer the entire Apple ship (or at least some aspects of it) in a single direction if he thought it would generate future success.

“One of Jobs’ management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to roll the dice and ‘bet the company’ on some new idea or technology.”

“I had this crazy idea that we could sell just as many Macs by advertising the iPod. In addition, the iPod would position Apple as evoking innovation and youth. So I moved $75 million of advertising money to the iPod, even though the category didn’t justify one hundredth of that. That meant that we completely dominated the market for music players. We outspent everybody by a factor of about a hundred.” — Steve Jobs.

Follow Great with Great

In everything from products to movies (under Pixar), Steve Jobs sought to create great follow-ups. He wasn’t so successful in the early part of his career (see Lisa), but his third acts to Pixar and Apple proved he had the sequel touch.

“There’s a classic thing in business, which is the second-product syndrome,” Jobs later said. It comes from not understanding what made your first product so successful. “I lived through that at Apple. My feeling was, if we got through our second film, we’d make it.”

Make Tough Decisions

Good managers and leaders are willing to do hard work and, often, make unpopular decisions. Jobs apparently had little concern about being liked and therefore was well-equipped to make tough choices.

“The most visible decision he made was to kill, once and for all, the Newton, the personal digital assistant with the almost-good handwriting-recognition system.”

Presentation Can Make a World of Difference

The Apple founder hated PowerPoint presentations, but perhaps somewhat uncharacteristically, believed elegant product presentation was critical.

“Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.” — Jony Ive, Apple designer.

Find a Way to Balance Your Intensity

It’s unclear if Steve Jobs ever truly mellowed, but he did learn that a buffer between him and the rest of Apple could be useful.

“In a company that was led by a CEO prone to tantrums and withering blasts, Cook commanded situations with a calm demeanor, a soothing Alabama accent, and silent stares.”

Live for Today

Even as Steve Jobs struggled with cancer, he rarely slowed down. If anything, the disease helped him focus his efforts and pursue some of his grandest dreams.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” — Steve Jobs

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” — Steve Jobs

Share Your Wisdom

Steve Jobs was not a philanthropic soul. He had a passion for products and success, but it wasn’t until he became quite ill that he started reaching out and offering his wisdom to others in the tech community.

“I will continue to do that with people like Mark Zuckerberg too. That’s how I’m going to spend part of the time I have left. I can help the next generation remember the lineage of great companies here and how to continue the tradition. The Valley has been very supportive of me. I should do my best to repay.” — Steve Jobs

More About: Apple iPad, iOS 5, iphone, iPod Touch, steve jobs

November 30 2011

Aussie Court Gives Samsung Galaxy Tab the All-Clear, But Is It Too Late?

A reversal of fortunes, of sorts, for Samsung in its ongoing case against Apple in Australia: an appeals court unanimously decided Wednesday that Samsung can go ahead with sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, possibly as soon as Friday. But even with sales getting the all-clear, some analysts seem to have already written off the device as an also-ran.

The vote, from an appeals court in Sydney, should not come as too much of a surprise: during hearings last week, the three judges on the appeals bench indicated a strong leaning in the direction of Samsung in the case, with one judge questioning initial rulings by Justice Annabelle Bennett as unfair to Samsung and too in favor of Apple.

Apple had originally succeeded in getting an injunction on the device, and now has until Friday afternoon to try to get a stay on the order, which would over-ride the appeal.

But even if Apple does not succeed in getting that stay–there are already questions over whether Samsung’s Android-based device may have missed its window of opportunity in the wider market.

Despite injunctions in two countries — Germany and Australia — the device has not exactly been the killer best-seller, or even marketing juggernaut, that Samsung had hoped would dent the stronghold that Apple has over the tablet market at the moment.

Forrester research from Tuesday on the tablet market pointed out that at the moment consumers in the U.S., currently the biggest tablet market, are most interested in the iPad (61%); followed by Amazon’s tablet (24%); with Samsung’s tablets coming in third (21%). That put Samsung just five percentage points ahead a tablet that is no longer being made (the TouchPad from HP at 16%).

Song Myung-sub, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities in Seoul, speaking to Reuters, thinks that accolade should be reserved for the Kindle Fire from Amazon, a low-cost Android-based tablet that has yet to launch anywhere but the U.S.:

“Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market as Amazon appears to be the only viable threat at the moment and other vendors, including Samsung, continue to struggle.”

Apple has been suing Samsung in Australia over patent and design violations, claiming that its larger Galaxy Tab tablet, which was due to debut in Australia months ago, was a ripoff of its iPad. Samsung is also lodging claims against Apple for patent violations of its own. In all there are 10 countries now where the two are sparring, including Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Japan, Korea and the U.S.

Today’s news in Australia, at the very least, should serve to bolster Samsung’s public image, however, as it continues to fight its legal battles against Apple elsewhere.

Just yesterday, Apple returned to the German courts to try to extend its tablet injunction on Samsung’s newest Galaxy Tab, the 10.1N, which Samsung claims circumvents the patents in question in the existing case. That case will get heard next month, extending the lag for selling the Galaxy Tab even further in a key market for Samsung.

More About: apple, Apple iPad, samsung, Samsung Galaxy Tab

For more Business coverage:

June 23 2011

iPads Consume 400% More Wi-Fi Data Than Other Mobile Devices [STUDY]

Apple’s iPad accounts for an ever-expanding percentage of the browser market. It’s also becoming a huge Wi-Fi data hog, consuming 400% more Wi-Fi data on a monthly basis than the average iPhone, iPod or Android device, according to a new report.

Meraki, a cloud services provider, anonymously surveyed more than 100,000 devices accessing public, educational and general use Wi-Fi networks in the U.S. It analyzed bandwidth usage and operating system popularity between 2010 and 2011 to uncover the massive gap between the Wi-Fi data usage of iPads and other mobile devices.

Mobile devices on the whole, according to the study, have usurped desktop platforms as the most ubiquitous Wi-Fi devices. In 2010, iOS and Android devices accounted for a combined 33% of Wi-Fi devices. Now they represent 58%. By comparison, Windows and Mac OS X devices together declined from 63% to 36% during the same time span.

Meanwhile, the iPhone has become the single most popular Wi-Fi device, with an impressive 32% share of the market.

The next time the Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop slows to a halt, look around you. The slew of iPads, iPhones and Androids in the room may be the culprits.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Alexander Smolianitski

More About: android, Apple iPad, iOS, ipad, meraki, Mobile 2.0, wifi

For more Mobile coverage:

June 06 2011

iOS by the Numbers: 200M Devices, 25M iPads & 14B App Downloads

Apple has sold 25 million iPads in the first 14 months after its release, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS software for Apple, revealed at the WWDC keynote.

Forstall revealed a slew of additional metrics to highlight the success of Apple devices, iOS, iBooks and iTunes. Altogether, Apple has sold more than 200 million iOS devices, which Forstall said makes the company’s mobile operating system number one ahead of Android and RIM with more than 44% of the market.

Here are some additional stats Forstall discussed:

  • Users have downloaded more than 15 billion songs from iTunes.
  • Users have downloaded/purchased more than 130 million books from iBooks.
  • There are now more than 425,000 iOS apps; 90,000 of them are specifically for the iPad.
  • Users have downloaded more than 14 billion iOS apps.
  • Apple has paid out more than $2.5 billion to iOS developers.
  • There are now 225 million people with iTunes accounts.
  • There are 50 million Game Center users.

Image courtesy of This is my next

More About: apple, Apple iPad, apps, iOS, ipad, WWDC 2011

For more Mobile coverage:

May 21 2011

April 20 2011

Apple: iPad 2 Demand Has Been Staggering

Apple has revealed it sold 4.7 million iPad units in the company’s highest grossing March quarter ever. The iPad sales figure represents 2.6 million fewer units sold in the previous quarter, but not for lack of demand.

“We sold every iPad 2 that we could make in the quarter,” Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer said on the company’s earnings call Wednesday.

During the question-and-answer portion of the call, Apple COO Tim Cook delved a bit deeper into the situation. The company is facing staggering demand from consumers for the iPad 2 and is heavily backlogged, he said.

The company is below its channel inventory target range, but Cook does not attribute iPad supply issues to the Japan tsunami, and is not predicting any material supply or cost impact during fiscal quarter three. However, he did say that the situation is uncertain.

So, why was Apple unable to meet demand for iPads during the quarter? The company said complications with planning and product transitions had something to do with the matter, but did not disclose specific reasons.

The company is, however, asserting its ability to produce large quantities of iPads for the quarter ahead, although it cannot promise to meet demand. “I’m confident that we’re going to produce a very large amount for the quarter,” Cook said.

Apple rolled out iPads to 25 more countries at the end of March, and will be placing them in 13 additional countries in the week ahead.

More About: apple, apple earnings call, Apple iPad, iPad 2

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April 19 2011

11 Excellent iPad Apps for Meetings & Presentations

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Meetings and presentations are a way of life in the business world. That said, there’s nothing worse than dragging around a bunch of files and equipment to meetings. It would be so nice to have everything that’s necessary for a presentation or meeting stores in one place. And if that one place was a thin and lightweight piece of technology — like an iPad — it would be even better.

Every organization has its own definition of formal and informal meetings and presentations, depending upon its corporate culture, clients and individual responsibilities. Whether it’s a structured sales presentation or a casual brainstorming session, here are some iPad apps that help you do everything for a presentation, from creating slides to taking minutes.

Keep in mind that many of these apps allow you to transmit what is displayed on the iPad screen to a TV or projector — all you need are the appropriate cables, which are available in the Apple Store. And, pairing these apps up with your favorite file storage app such as Box.net or Dropbox will only add to your productivity.

What iPad apps are you currently using during meetings? Leave us your suggestions in the comments.

1. Keynote

Keynote is part of the Apple iWork suite. The app offers a tutorial to explain how to create a presentation file, but Keynote is very intuitive and user-friendly. There are only a handful of themes to choose from, but they are all classic and aesthetically pleasing. Keynote offers standard editing capabilities, including animation. It is also compatible with PowerPoint, so you can open and edit PowerPoint files -- and the presentation can be emailed in Keynote, PDF or PowerPoint formats.If you need to include charts or tables, you can purchase Numbers and Pages, the other productivity apps in the iWork suite.Cost: $9.99

2. Power Presenter

Power Presenter lets you display a presentation (Keynote and PowerPoint included) that's been converted to a PDF file. There are two ways to open the PDF file on your iPad -- you can upload it via the file sharing function in iTunes or you can upload it from an email by holding down the attachment icon. Once the file is uploaded, you can present it, mark on slides using the pen and erase markings, and email the marked-up slides to your audience. The app also has a whiteboard feature and provides access to the web with one tap. Having these functions in one application can be very useful when the spotlight's on you.Cost: $1.99

3. 2Screens Presentation Expert

2Screens Presentation Expert is similar to other apps when it comes to presentations, web browsing and whiteboard capabilities. It provides the ability to make notations, save the file to your iPad and email the presentation to others. This video tutorial is a great overview of the full features of this app.One thing that sets 2Screens apart is its companion app, 2Screens Remote, which costs $2.99. If you have both apps, you can use your iPhone as the remote for your iPad to move through the presentation.Cost: $4.99

4. mbPointerHD

If the idea of having a remote appeals to you, but you don’t have an iPhone to run a second app, you can turn your iPad into the remote using mbPointerHD. All you have to do is connect your iPad on a network computer with the presentation.The app is very straightforward and allows you to move through the slide presentation using your iPad as the remote -- one button takes you to the first and last slides. You can also white or black the screen, use a pen and erase.Cost: $2.99

5. Quickoffice

Quickoffice is compatible with the Microsoft Office suite, and it has a tutorial for each product: Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Quickoffice enables you to create a presentation in which you can add shapes, change colors and rearrange the order of slides. The finished file can be printed and saved as a PDF.It is important to remember whenever using any kind of app to transfer and store files, you should check the file and make sure it works. When I initially saved a test file directly to my iPad, I lost the graphics embedded in the PowerPoint. It’s also key to note the compatibility of files -- in my test, I wasn’t able to open .pptx (MS Office 2007 and older) files. Cost: $14.99

6. GoDocs

GoDocs grants access to Google Docs, which many people use as repositories for group project files and to share Word and Excel files. In my own experience, I’ve been on many a conference call during which we were all viewing the same Google Doc file.Using this app, I was able to access my Google Docs without any trouble, but I did have some challenges uploading a PowerPoint presentation. It's a good lesson for any time you’re in charge of a meeting or presentation -- always have a Plan B in case you can’t access a file.Cost: $4.99

7. Sadun’s Whiteboard

Sadun’s Whiteboard is simply that -- an electronic whiteboard -- and it can be projected to an external TV or projection screen with the right hardware. This whiteboard app offers many pen colors, marker widths and the ability to add text as well as photos. Editing functions include undo and erase. After the whiteboard is created, it can be saved directly to the iPad and sent via email to others.Cost: $2.99

8. Idea Boards

Idea Boards offers a whiteboard along with a chalkboard, graph paper and legal pad. This app has more backgrounds than Sadun’s Whiteboard, but not as much functionality -- you can't move or erase objects on the board. According to their website, the makers of this app promise more board designs and functionality (including the ability to export as a PDF) in the future.If you’re not sure how much you would use a whiteboard app, this app could be a good way to test the waters without incurring a big expense. You can check out a demo here. Cost: $1.99

9. Corkulous

Ever had those moments where you need to visualize something? Corkulous can give you an electronic corkboard, on which you can place photos, post-it notes, contact info and to-dos. The app allows you to store multiple cork boards, and it also has the ability to nest them. Corkulous understands its role as an idea board, and so it provides the flexibility to email cork boards to others and to lock them so no one else has access, just in case you’re conjuring up some secret plans.In addition, Corkulous has a companion app called Todo that allows you to export your cork board into a to-do list if you need a way to put those ideas into action.Cost: $4.99

10. Penultimate

Someone always ends up being the scribe at meetings, and the scribe usually has to carry note-filled pieces of paper back to the office and transcribe them. Enter Penultimate, which allows for note-taking directly on the iPad -- you can write and draw using your finger as the pen. Once you're done taking notes, you can email the file to everyone right then and there. Writing with your finger takes some getting used to, but once you're used to it, the feature is very convenient.Cost: $1.99

11. Instaviz

Instaviz is great for those times when you need a beautiful flow chart but can’t seem to draw a nice-looking circle. Using shape recognition software, Instaviz takes your rough sketches and turns them into perfect shapes and straight lines. Its editing feature allows you to include text, change fonts and add color to enhance the look of the diagram. The app also lets you select and delete shapes in a diagram.Once the diagram is completed, you can save it to your iPad or send it to others. The app also allows you to duplicate the diagram, in case you want to use the foundation of one graphic to start another. Cost: $9.99

BONUS: Office2 HD

In addition to the 11 apps in the gallery, here’s an app to watch: Office2 HD. This is a Microsoft-compatible app that currently allows you to create and edit Word and Excel files on your iPad -- and the developers have an update in the works that will add PowerPoint. I got a sneak peek of the PowerPoint features, which allow you to create a slide presentation, including editing features like colors, shapes and photos. So, if you’re looking for one app that will allow you to create, view and edit your Office docs, this could be it.

More About: Apple iPad, ipad, keynote, presentations

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February 17 2011

How The iPad Is Helping Businesses Go Green

The iPad for Business Series is supported by LogMeIn Ignition, the #1 third-party Productivity app for iPad and iPhones in 2010. Get one-touch access to all your applications and files, on all your remote computers with LogMeIn Ignition for iPad/iPhone.

Apple’s iPad tablet device is helping businesses take on more environmentally friendly habits, enabling them to cut costs and save resources.

Energy usage, environmental auditing and paper reduction are all areas where businesses are seeing improvements as a result of adopting the iPad. Read on for a closer look at each, and let us know in the comments how else businesses can go green with the iPad.

Managing Energy Usage

Lutron’s energy management iPad app

One of the best ways to save energy is to arm yourself with the proper tools for managing it. There are many types of energy management solutions — in the beginning, it was all about buying eco-friendly gadgets and appliances, coupled with energy-saving power sources. But more and more, the focus is on tackling the underlying problem — the overuse of energy — from the get-go.

Lutron is one of the top lighting control design and manufacturing companies, having created energy-saving solutions for homes and businesses of all types, including those that power The New York Times Building. Lutron is now leading the way in how people manage energy control systems from tablet devices.

With the Lutron Home Control+ iPad app ($19.99), home or business users with Lutron’s RadioRA 2 or HomeWorks QS control systems installed can monitor their systems while away from home, control multiple systems, adjust energy-saving preferences, modify time clock functionalities and edit presets. The app is basically a remote control for a user’s lights, window shades, temperature thermostats and appliances.

While the iPad app runs with Lutron’s RadioRA 2 and HomeWorks QS systems, which are specifically designed for home use cases, a Lutron technician explained that the systems (and app) are currently being used by smaller scale businesses, including offices and restaurants.

Simplifying Environmental Auditing

A demonstration of Elm Consulting Group’s use of the smartNote’s iPad app for HSE auditing

An important part of environmental goal setting for many businesses, especially manufacturing and industrial companies, is how they stack up on their Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) audits, in which they are rated on compliance with environmental laws, permits and company standards. The iPad is making this process more streamlined and less document intensive.

The Elm Consulting Group International, an HSE auditing firm, uses the smartNotes iPad app to create paperless iPad-based audits while also increasing efficiency, reducing errors and improving data management.

SmartNotes enables the company to import and notate scanned documents; capture data (over 50 pages of handwritten notes for an average audit); create charts, tables and diagrams; highlight important notes with the highlighter feature; tag data needing further clarification and export notes for e-mailing to clients as one handy file.

It is important to note that it wasn’t at all necessary for Elm to create its own iPad app for auditing — instead, Director Lawrence Heim, CPEA reviewed a number of apps to find the one that filled the company’s needs.

Heim says that more clients have come to the company as a result of using the iPad. “We have been using it for audits for 6-8 months now and have shown a 15-20% time efficiency and labor savings in the dozen or so audits we have done with the iPad,” he said. “Our use also reduces errors and omissions in audits, ensuring a more thorough process and end result.”

With more accurate and timelier documents, it’s no wonder why businesses are interested in giving the firm’s method a try. With Elm’s iPad auditing, businesses are not only on their way to being greener by improving upon HSE compliance laws, but they’re also employing a more environmentally friendly firm.

Elm claims to be the only consulting firm using the iPad for HSE audits. While the firm currently holds an advantage over other paper-heavy auditors, it is offering up its advice in upcoming webinars on how to use the iPad for HSE auditing.

Reducing Paper Usage

A marketing brochure by architectural design firm BCRA Design, housed on an iPad

Paper usage reductions is one of the more obvious ways that the iPad has helped businesses get in touch with their environmentally friendly sides. For starters, the iPad is suitable for cutting down on all kinds of paper when it comes to note taking, reading documents and filling out forms and reports.

Architectural design firm BCRA, for example, turned to the iPad to lessen its impact on the environment and decrease printing costs.

Design firms are traditionally very heavy on paper use, as brochures are a means of marketing their portfolios. Prior to adopting iPads, BCRA’s 150-person staff relied solely on about 200 unique printed pieces to tell its story. The first step for BCRA was to decrease printing impact by opting for more environmentally friendly printing products, such as soy-based inks and FSC-certified paper.

But to truly make an impact, the firm decided to decrease its dependency on printing altogether. Instead, the company uses iPads to showcase presentations, designs and maps to clients. BCRA estimates that the use of iPads has lead to a reduction of about 41 pounds of paper per month, representing about $1,507 per month in savings associated with printing costs alone.

By the end of 2011, BCRA plans on outfitting each of its departments that interact with clients with iPads, loaded with up-to-date brochures and other marketing and productivity materials that aid in client presentations and working meetings. Furthermore, the firm estimates that by year’s end, new orders of printed brochures will be reduced by 80%, as those brochures will be found on employee iPads instead. This amounts to roughly 1,000 new brochures and 6,000 individual high quality single sheet handouts that do not need to be produced, saving the company $15,000+ annually on printing cost, according to BCRA.

Your Findings

There are a lot of apps out there to help home owners and businesses in their efforts to be more environmentally friendly, and here, we’ve noted a few interesting case studies. Let us know in the comments about how you’ve seen businesses using the iPad to go green.

Series Supported by LogMeIn Ignition

The iPad for Business Series is supported by LogMeIn Ignition. Contrary to popular opinion, iPads aren’t just for games any more. Unleash it’s full potential and make your iPad work for work, download LogMeIn Ignition and get one-touch access to all your applications and files on your remote computers from your iPad/iPhone. You’ll be more productive anywhere, anytime thanks to the App Store’s #1 third-party Productivity App of 2010.

More Business Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Jump-Start Your Career by Becoming an Online Influencer
- How Facebook Deals Are Helping One NBA Team Connect With Fans
- 4 Small Business Mobile Predictions for 2011
- How Brands Can Make the Most of Facebook’s New Pages
- HOW TO: Optimize Your Social Media Budget

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ArtisticCaptures

More About: apple, Apple iPad, BCRA, business, electricity, Elm Consulting Group, Energy Conservation, energy efficient, ipad, iPad for Business Series, Lutron, small business

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