iPad apps for business / by Josh Li

What apps do you have?

I get asked this question very often at work, because a lot of people struggle with productivity on iOS devices in a Windows-centric office. In fact, when the iPad was introduced in 2010, I bought it without really understanding how it would fit into my life.

If there’s going to be third-category device, it’ll have to be better at these tasks or else it has no reason for being -- Steve Jobs
Two years later, I cannot imagine being productive without my iPad. There are some things that are still better done on a desktop or with pen and paper, but the iPad excels at a couple of things:
  • Reading, editing, and storing PDFs
  • Keeping track of tasks
  • Taking and keeping notes
  • Providing real-time news and market data

Below are apps that I use for the above:

PDF Expert: The most user-friendly PDF reader I have tried. Two things that I love about this app: 1) you can move pages from one document to another; 2) you can add blank pages that can then be annotated.

SecureZIP Reader: Need this to decrypt secured zip files.

OmniFocus: Forecast mode is killer. Syncs across all Apple devices.

iA Writer: The clean interface is great, and the custom keyboard makes the app a lot easier to use in meetings. (Two things make taking notes on an iPad in a meeting acceptable: 1) the iPad lays flat on the table and does not create a barrier between you and other meeting participants; 2) there is no sound when you type on glass.)

Noteshelf: I use this to take quick notes or draft out pages using my Wacom stylus (yes, I use a stylus. Trust me. It makes the iPad a lot more productive for work.)

Evernote: Makes notes searchable, and synchronized across all Apple devices. Offline mode for selected notebooks ensures access even when there is no internet.

Market data apps are self-explanatory, so I won't waste time here.