Partner Burton Sweet
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iPad anyone?

1st Jun 2010
Partner Burton Sweet
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Has anyone got themselves an iPad yet, and if so why?

I can't help thinking that there must be a good business use for one, but I just can't think of £500-worth of good idea to justify getting my credit card out!

And anyway, isn't it just a fat iPhone? I saw a US visitor the other day with his iPad and was disappointed to discover how much smaller it is than an A4 page, which is more I was expecting. At that size it would have made a brilliant device to carry all my sheet music around on, but at 9 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches it's just too small to read stuff from a distance or without needing to scroll up and down (difficult if you're playing a musical instrument).

So let's hear what you think - does it have a place in the mobile professional's briefcase or not?


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Replies (13)

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
02nd Jun 2010 13:18

I've touched one!

...and that's about as close as I got. I've encountered three users, including Xero CEO Rod Drury, who let me play with his for a few minutes. The "oversized iPhone" just about sums it up - the screen is very nice and the interface works just as you'd expect if you've handled an iPhone.

The people who I've talked to - including our editor-in-chief Stuart Lauchlan - have generally had warm things to say about using the iPad, for example to watch films and videos. But I too would struggle to find a business justification.

Oddly enough, one friend brought her iPad to our ukulele jam session in Brighton and stuck it on her music stand: a lot more efficient that scrabbling around with loose-leaf ring binders like me (especially when you end up playing 'I'm A Believer' in the wrong key). Even if you're disappointed with the page size, couldn't you just shrink the page view a little to fit what you needed to see on to the screen?

Are there any proper iPad users out there who can enlighten us more?



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By gg
02nd Jun 2010 14:09

I have one

I have one, and it was bought with the intention of using it for business as well as pleasure.

I attend a lot of meetings, nearly all require some form of documentation, and I always come out with a lot of notes. I'm trialing the iPad to see if I can replace all of the paper and have everything in an electronic format. So far (only 3 days, but hey...) everything seems to be going to plan.

I have Pages, Numbers and Keynote installed, these handle MS Office documents quite nicely, and I'm currently using PDF Reader Pro for PDF usage. An app called 'Notepad' seems to be my preferred notes app at the moment, although 'Penultimate' is also being used. Omnigraffle is being used for diagrams/schematics etc.

It's not perfect, MS Office conversion isn't 100%, but it hasn't adversley affected my productivity.

What I will say though, is that I accepted up front that this device is not going to replace my laptop but it will work alongside it - as long as you can do that then you shouldn't be disappointed. It's certainly replaced my netbook and I'm surprised how little I've used my iPhone for anything other than talking to and texting people.

Web browsing is a revelation (even without flash...). If you use any online applications then this is a perfect mobile device for them.

I realise this is a v1.0 device and v2.0 will arrive next year - I'll upgrade anyway - but it really is in a class of it's own at the moment and I'm looking forward to see what other, if any, devices come out to try and take the market.

I'll be happy to admit I'm a gadget geek although I'm not an Apple fanboy, but I do appreciate good technology when I see it, and the iPad is definately that.

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By cverrier
02nd Jun 2010 15:04

On its way

I've ordered one, and again intend to use it for note-taking, reference materials, light email and browing - all the sort of things that lugging a laptop around is overkill.  The 10 hour battery life means not even a power-brick needs to go in the bag.

The key will be the quality of the software (the build quality of the hardware is a given from Apple).   Apple has clearly demonstrated what can be done with a focussed development community and well-organised marketplace, so I have no doubt that a whole raft of business oriented applications will appear for all sorts of things.

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By Paul Roscoe
03rd Jun 2010 10:04


 Yep. Had one since beginning of May. I use MAC for all my work, only reverting to a Windows machine for Payroll. 

Now I had decided not to buy one; I have an iPhone, I have a laptop. However, a client decided he was so happy with the work we'd done over the past year on his accounts and tax, he imported one from USA and gave it to me.

Now after a month of using it I am seriously impressed. Over the last 2 weeks I have only taken out my laptop twice, instead taking the iPad. When I visit clients, I used to print out all the accounts and tax returns to show them, but I've been trying it on the iPad as PDF's and it works fabulous and saves trees. It's ultra easy to zoom in an parts of the accounts and viewing them is clear. It might be novelty, but clients love it and a few really like that we are at the front of technology. Other clients won't so I'll still print those and take them on paper. But it's cutting down on my paper use. I tried once taking a laptop to show the client accounts as pdfs and it just doesn't work - too big and bulky.

Spreadsheets can easily be copied and "sync'd" either with dropbox or through iTunes. I can sync all my client database and update on the road. I keep notes from meetings which also sync to my laptop. Web-browsing is brilliant and the battery lasts round-about 10 hours.

I use it also for reading the FT and Times Online etc and of accountingweb.!

Like I say if you'd asked me 2 months ago - it looked like a nice toy but wouldn't buy. But now I have one, I would have been wrong not to buy!

Oh yes - and Angry Birds is just brilliant!

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By sarah douglas
03rd Jun 2010 10:26

Will be ordering soon to use for meetings and as a Marketing To

I converted to Apple as some of my clients have as well and I now use Mac and windows .   Apple is great  at presentation. Iworks is great, though I  prefer keynote and pages to numbers.  A lot of office Buildings in Glasgow have their Big Screens in their Boardroom or their meeting rooms, and most of them you can connect to using wireless , so no need to use wires, the same technology as your wireless printer.I appreciate not all offices do, but they will in the future.

 I saw someone using the IPad at a meeting and it was very impressive.  I think in the future it wll be a regular item in meetings ,especially as you will be able to hand it around to your clients at the meeting. You will feel like your in a espisode of  star trek. (Only Joking) but I do think it is the way of the future and  you will find the next generation of future accountants using the IPAD or another model as second nature.  They are already using IPOD touches in schools to help them with their maths.

One of my clients has it in their waiting room, where clients can go onto their website and view their products, the pinch and expand is great for viewing close up.  The Feedback has been great.   This could be set up for clients to view your website and all the services you provide, when you need it back fair enough. It could be put to good use when your not, and make your waiting room more interesting for your clients

Kind Regards [email protected] Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

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By Nigel Hughes
03rd Jun 2010 10:31

Synching with outlook

How's the synching with outlook - calendar, tasks, contacts and notes? - not got this cracked with my netbook, but works well with blackberry. ipod is OK except for tasks, so I'm assuming the ipad should be OK.

On second thoughts, perhaps I don't want to know this as the credit card is twitching in my wallet

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By c.szpak
03rd Jun 2010 11:00

iPad and RDP

I received mine on the 27th May and the first thing I tried was to connect with my hosting company where all my programs and data are held.  I downloaded the iTap RDP client,  costing £6.99, and with 5 minutes help from the support team I had full access to my data.  So now I am running MS Office, QuickBooks, VT software, TaxCalc, etc, direct from my Ipad.  Okay I won't use it for long periods, but as my office is at home I'm no longer tied to my desktop!

However, presently I can only use this from home as there is an "approved" link (you can tell I'm not a techie) between here and the hosting company.  Anywhere else requires an SSL link and Java which the iPad does not support.  I'm talking to the hosting company to see if there is a way around this.

There is a work around if I'm out of the office: leave my pc on; connect the iPad (I have a 3G MiFi) to the pc; and connect to the hosting company from there.  However, if I'm out of the office I already have access to mail, calendar and contacts on the iPad through MS exchange so logging on through my pc would be a last resort.

Like other contributors I have also downloaded iWorks but am still at the learning stage. 

Laptop replacement, no not really, but for me, who has all his data, in one cloud it's nearly there, as long as I can connect to the hosted server with my iPad I won't be carrying my laptop around.



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By gg
04th Jun 2010 08:45

re: Syncing with Outlook

You use iTunes to sync your data with Outlook, although it doesn't support your Outlook tasks.

There is an Apple subscription service called 'MobileMe' that allows you to sync your data via the cloud, although I don't use this so I don't know if tasks are supported with this. I don't think it will be though as there isn't a native tasks app on the device.

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By Nigel Hughes
04th Jun 2010 10:22

It's not just me then!

Many thanks

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By sarah douglas
04th Jun 2010 12:41

mobile Me (Because life is too short)


I use mobile Me for my PCs and Mac we have had no problems,  I think it was £59 for the year.  It is really good and everything just works , it works fine with Outlook and thunderbird and all my diaries and tasks which we keep for every client.  The feedback from my staff is they really like it and work has become easier.  I know you could argue that you can do this free, but I think it is worth every penny, as  I am more interested in getting on with work and enjoying my family then spending hours tinkering about .  They are also improving their Internet, which would also appear to be a lot better but it is at a beta stage.

The feed back from my clients has been great.

-- Kind Regards [email protected] Douglas Accountancy & Bookkeeping Services, Glasgow

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By cverrier
07th Jun 2010 17:28

iPad - Further reflections

I've worked out why the iPad feels so special to use (beyond the 'carved out of solid aluminium' feel).

More often that not, when working with Windows, you have this nagging sense that you need a slightly more powerful computer than the one you are actually using.    Things just don't 'flow' or respond instantly. so you can never quite work as fast as your thought-processes. so breaking your train of thought and throwing you 'out of the moment'.

This was also true of Windows Mobile (over many years of persisting with it).  Whatever Windows mobile device you had, it always seemed to suffer from 'stuttering' and lag just when you really needed it to respond instantly.

With Apple, the software and hardware are matched to each other. On the whole, Apple don't add a software feature until they can deliver the hardware capable of delivering that feature completely smoothly.  A part of that is good user--interface design as well, but it's the sheer responsiveness that is so impressive.  Sometimes that means that Apple products don't have all the bells and whistles compared to other suppliers, but what they do deliver actually works and nothing feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought.

Microsoft, in Windows 7, have produced their best ever OS, and they do a thousand things that Apple would never get involved with, but theiir business model, which relies on third-party manufacturers, inevitably means they lose control over how their products get delivered to customers.

Apple, put simply, consistently meets your expectations, and sadly, that's enough to make them stand out. A lesson for more than just the IT world.







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By Richard Messik
11th Jun 2010 16:39

Outlook Sync

There is no problem with syncing to Outlook either from my Iphone or Ipad. Both of these items are setup to use Google Calendar - I then have Google Calendar Sync loaded on my office PC which runs in the background and syncs all my calendars without any problems at all.


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By Mike Truman
23rd Jul 2010 16:07

Multi-platform apps a must

Agree with many of the comments here; I bought it thinking that even though I wouldn't be able to justify it I really WANTED one... But it has become indispensable in the two months I've had it. When I am presenting, it is magic - plug it in using the (£25 - expensive...) connector, switch it on, go into the presentation in Keynote and there you are - about one minute from unpack to project.

However some of the things you take for granted on a laptop/desktop are more problematic. Cut and paste takes some getting used to, though I'm more adept at it now. The biggest issue is transferring files between applications, because there is no file system that allows you to store anything independently of the app.

The answer is apps like GoodReader and, in particular, Dropbox. That led me to learn a lot more about the practical side of cloud computing in general, and I now have Evernote, Dropbox and Nozbe on my iPad, laptop and iGoogle page. I'm in serious danger of getting organised, which would be a massive shock to the system...

Don't bother getting the 3G version - it's cheaper to by a MiFi, which can also act as the WiFi point for your laptop etc. 3 are currently offering a rolling one month 2Gb contract for £5 provided you buy the unit, and the price seems to have gone down now to £40.

Mike Truman

Editor, Taxation magazine

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