Our workplaces are becoming increasing mobile as technology advances in ways many of us never even imagined. Tablets can now take the place of laptops and be used to get real work accomplished without having to carry around a potentially bulky and heavy laptop.
The iPad is really what started this revolution. But in a twist of fate, the device that started this march to a mobile workplace really isn’t used all that much for real work. When you ask someone what tablet is great for work, chances are they may mention a Microsoft Surface or an Android laptop, but I doubt anyone will mention an iPad.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great devices for work. In fact, it can be one of the most productive devices you have. Sure, they excel in entertainment and media consumption, with hundreds of apps and games designed to keep you busy. But did you know that this device can double as a mobile computer? With the right accessories and apps, you can transform your iPad into a true workhorse that will help you get things done no matter where you may be.
Grab an iPad Pro
First and foremost, I must say that you should buy an iPad Pro if you plan on doing some serious work on your iPad. While you can get away with using a regular iPad, you have so many more options if you go with a Pro. First, you can get the Apple Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, which give you some of the best control of an iPad that I have ever seen.
Second, these devices are more powerful and often have more storage space. This is a must if you want to use your iPad to store files that you need for work. When you are running productivity apps, you will need a device that’s fast, and the iPad Pro more than delivers on this front. These are some of the fastest iPads on the market, and they have the very best screens. These are all a must if you are going to stare at them and use them for hours on end. Remember, while a regular iPad will work, I believe you will have a much better work experience if you stick with an iPad Pro.
Third Party Accessories a Must
Even if you use an iPad Pro, you are going to need a few other third party accessories, and this is even more important if you use a regular iPad. For a Pro, you may want to invest in a nice case to complement your accessories, for example. If you have a regular iPad, you will have to invest a little more in order to turn it into a workplace tablet.
You will need more than just a case. You will also need a keyboard and maybe a stylus to make navigation a little easier on your fingers and hands during periods of long use. Personally, I recommend a case that can hold your stylus while also being a keyboard. There are many options out there for you to choose from, and I recommend giving these a serious look so you can create a work experience that is pleasurable. If you don’t, you could find using your iPad tedious and maybe even a bit painful if you use it for long periods of time.
Apps, Apps, and More Apps
Now what is really key to transforming your iPad into a true mobile workstation is the apps. Now, you won’t find every desktop app available for an iPad. That’s just the way it is. Not every desktop app has a mobile version. In some cases, mobile apps are handicapped compared to the full desktop versions of the applications, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be useful.
In other cases, there are amazing apps out there that give you a full desktop experience right on your tablet. Microsoft Office is one of those, and could be one of the apps you use the most on your tablet. While your needs will be different from others, the App Store probably has the solution that’s right for you. Take your time and find the apps that fit your work needs, and you will be able to truly use your iPad as a mobile workstation.
Make Better Use of the Cloud
The most recent update of iOS has definitely improved this situation, but I still think the iPad lags behind the Surface and Android tablets in the arena of file management. First, the interface for managing your files is clunky at best, and you are limited on your storage, as Apple doesn’t give you the expansion options of microSD cards found on most Android tablets.
To solve this problem, I recommend making better use of the Cloud. It doesn’t really matter which one you use, as long as you have enough room to store and access all your files. Services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and OneDrive give you more than enough storage for your files, so use the one you are most comfortable with. By putting your files on the cloud, you can access them from anywhere and you can be sure you have the latest version of the file you need whenever you need it.
Extra Cables and Chargers
While the battery life on an iPad and iPad Pro is very good, especially when using apps designed for productivity, you still don’t want to be left without a charger wherever you may be. That means investing in a few extra cables and maybe an extra charger or two just so you have one for home, the office and maybe one when you travel.
You may also want to consider getting a battery pack that you can use to charge your iPad when there isn’t an outlet close by. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is nothing more frustrating than running low on battery when you are trying to bang out a little work. So keep those chargers handy and that battery pack so if you are stuck in the airport or on a long flight, you can keep your battery charged and your iPad ready to go.
While the iPad may not be as good as a Surface for work, with the addition of the right accessories and some great apps, you should be able to turn your iPad into a serious contender for a mobile workstation. While it won’t work for everyone, especially those that need desktop apps, for many workers it can be the perfect for tool for getting work done while on the go.
Do you use your iPad for work? If so, I want to hear from you. Tell me about your experiences using your iPad for work in the comments below.