Over the last year or so tablets have become a fairly commonplace gadget. As they improve on both the hardware and software they are becoming a realistic replacement for a laptop–at least in certain situations. I rarely take my laptop home from work (except on the weekends) instead taking the much smaller and lighter iPad. As I’ve started to make this switch I started to find more and more apps and accessories to help me in my transition and actually make it happen. As a disclaimer, I do have a spare laptop and a desktop at home if I really need to do something that the iPad can’t do–because hey–if I really need to get something done sometimes the iPad doesn’t cut it. But in most instances a tablet can replace my laptop for what I do at home. So what are some of the things that made my life easier?
Apps: Most of what has made my life easier is getting the right apps.
Dropbox: At Trafficado we use Dropbox a lot. So I need to be able to access files wherever I go. And that means I need to be able to view them at home on my iPad. So this app is a must have for me. The thing I don’t like about the app is that I can’t edit the files and sync them with Dropbox–but recently I came across CloudOn which lets you sync with your DropBox account and then edit and re-save files. I haven’t been using it for very long, but so far it’s worked well to edit Word and Excel files straight from the iPad from DropBox.
Social Media Manager (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc.): I use Hootsuite for managing my social media for work so having the app helps me easily view my streams and schedule tweets and Facebook status updates.
Raven: Need to check some rankings or traffic levels before you send off an email? Need to add a link or check your link manager? Do so from the handy dandy Raven app. It’s another necessity for an internet marketer working from the iPad. It takes a little getting used to at first to feel like you can get where you want, but once you do it’s a breeze.
RSS Reader (I use FeeddlerRSS): I catch my favorite marketing blogs via my reader, and the bulk of blog reading is done at home on the iPad. I use FeeddlerRSS to access my Google Reader feed and then either email or mark as starred anything that I want to pay attention to later.
WordPress: I use the WordPress app to check on sites, make quick edits and to write blog posts for sites. I don’t love certain things about it (mainly blog post formatting issues) but it’s great for getting posts in and saved as drafts where you only have to add an image or tweak some headers or something before you push it live. And if you have to send it live from the iPad, you can do it.
Google: I use G-Whizz and iMailG to access Google Docs, Google Talk, and some of the other Google services that they don’t have in their own Gmail app. G-Whiz is pretty comprehensive and it works just fine, but I have multiple Gmail accounts that I use and I don’t like switching between accounts in one app, so I use two different apps (really 3–but only occasionally) to stay on top of those items.
Go To Meeting: I don’t participate in tons of webinars, but it’s nice to have the app for when I need to on the go. And the app is a breeze to use.
Skype/Video Chat: For those times when you want to meet “face to face” the Skype app is handy to have and is simple to use.
The main accessory that I love is my Zaggfolio keyboard. It makes typing a breeze and almost as fast as a laptop. If you’re doing any significant amount of typing, this is a must.
I’ve also been eyeing the ASUS Transformer Prime which has a pretty slick tablet/keyboard combo that rivals the iPad/Zaggfolio combo–but I haven’t been able to play around with it much yet so I can’t make a recommendation either way yet. However, I’m pretty convinced that you should keep your phone/tablet on the same operating system, so unless I made the change to an Android phone I probably wouldn’t seriously consider switching to a non-iOS tablet.
Overall, I’m becoming more and more reliant on my iPad and use it for more and more in both my personal and work life. But the key is finding the right setup for you to make sure that you aren’t caught in a tough spot needing to get something done that your tablet can’t do. And that has been getting easier and easier recently–but let’s just say that I’m not replacing my laptop at work anytime soon with my iPad.