3 Stages of iPad Infatuation -OR- How To Justify Buying An iPad To Your Business Manager

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Stage 1: “the iPad is touching the future!”

Without a doubt, the iPad is a device straight out of Star Trek. Just watching someone sitting holding this thin tablet, flicking pages, pinching and zooming images is exhilarating. You say to yourself, “Wow! I really am living in the future!”

The iPad an amazing toy that feeds the inner geek: surf the web, watch videos, play games, check your facebook status.

But, they’ll never let you buy it it you say you want to play games. Which brings us to…

Stage 2: “the iPad will revolutionize how we work!”

The potential uses of the iPad are simply amazing.

  • Picture presenting a meeting using the iPad as a display controller: zoom in with a pinch, change the perspective with a swipe, draw, highlight, add notes and arrows.
  • Now imagine the collaborative possibilities of the audience using their own iPads: annotating the presentation on their own screens; or, taking control of the presentation to review a section, ask questions, and annotate slides. And with the built in connectivity, your audience could be be across town or across the world.
  • Use the iPad to show exhibits, call outs, photographs, or videos.
  • Bring your treatises with you.
  • Carry your entire case, and every one of your cases, everywhere you go.
  • Show a witness their contract on an iPad. Then, zoom in on critical clauses or a signature.
  • Look it up to check a case cited by the opposing party. Does it really stand for the proposition cited. If it doesn’t, show the Judge right then and there.
  • Access your office network from anywhere. View your desktop from any location with an internet connection. Check statuses, delegate tasks, review and annotate new documents.

By now, the business manager is jumping up and down, and you are both chanting, “i-Pad, i-Pad” in every louder tones. Then you realize that he expects you to bring these pie-in-the-sky claims to fruition!

While all of the use cases described in Stage 2 are very likely to be developed over time, not all of them are available today.

  • Shared white board and meeting apps are just not there as of late April 2010.
  • While you can annotate pdf’s and images (iAnnotate PDF), and you can create and display Keynote presentations, there is no app which allows easy, on-the-fly, selection of documents with call outs and annotation to be displayed on a second monitor or projector.
  • Fortunately, taking your legal library is possible today. You can store .doc, .ppt, .xls, and .pdf files on your iPad either by emailing them to yourself or via apps like Readdle or Good Reader. These apps even integrate with cloud based storage like DropBox, iDisk, GoogleDocs and others. However, the integration is basic at this time. I am waiting for developers to use these services APIs to create applications which can natively and automatically read, write and synchronize content with cloud based servcies. Once that happens, the iPad can become a true window to all your web based data.
  • Legal research can be done right now with an iPad so long as the data can be accessed via the web. You can then, copy, paste and email that information.
  • Cloud based case management systems have always let access your data via the web including calendars, to-dos, and notes. As well as letting you changes and delegating tasks.

Stage 3: “the iPad is a better way to access your data”

The iPad is an amazing data access device. It is a great way to keep track of your calendar, contacts and to-dos.  browse websites, check email, notes, documents, Evernote files, RSS feeds, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. And it is a great device to share data. Unlike a laptop, the iPad lends itself to being handed to another person.

The iPad is a terrific thin client. Whether you use Windows or an Apple computer It is quick and easy to set up remote access of your desktop, either using Window’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or a VNC server. You can access your systems either on the same network, or over the internet. This is great for administering computers, as well as checking pending jobs such as backup, anti-virus scans, rendering tasks, etc. It also provides a workaround to Apple’s limitations on multi-tasking. Since you are only using the iPad as a window onto another computer, you can do anything you could do if you were sitting at that computer. Desktop Connect is an iPad specific app supporting both RDP and VNC access. If you do not feel comfortable with the set up necessary, consider using the LogMeIn service along with their Ignition app.

The iPad is an all-day appliance. Unlike computers that need to be booted, or restored from sleep, the ipad is an instant-on device with battery lasts all day. You do not know how this changes your daily computing until you have it. Use it at the breakfast table. Use it on the sofa. Use it on the elliptical. Then, at the end of the day, plug it in. The iPad lets you take your office where it’s never gone before, and you don’t worry about plugging it in.

iPad protects your data:

  • As on an iPhone, you can select a pin code to deter unauthorized access.
  • You can also select the iPad to wipe all memory if an incorrect pin code is entered more than ten times.
  • If you use Apple’s Mobile Me service ($69 to $99/year) and your iPad is lost or stolen, you can get a map showing roughly where the device is.
  • If you misplace the iPad at home, you can have it play a tone to help you locate it.
  • You can send a message to the device (such as “please return to…”) which is displayed on the screen.
  • You can remotely lock the device.
  • If all else fails you can even remotely wipe the data on the iPad.

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