Unleash the full potential of iPad

  • Business
  • Saturday, 26 May 2012

Title: iPad at Work

Author: David Sparks

Publisher: Wiley & Sons

LAST year, one of my more annoying Facebook friends posted the “news” that she had become so fed-up with her pre-teen daughter's demands for an iPad that she had simply bought her one. Nice humble-brag, lady.

But to keep up with the MKJs (Mont Kiara Joneses) and the Zeitgeist, I bought one too. Quite handy. Useful for work, I reckoned. And indeed it has turned out to have plenty of applications for my myriad means of making a buck. As I was figuring out the best iPad practices for my small business empire, it occurred to me that someone should write a book on this subject.

Well, someone finally has. And that someone is one David Sparks, a Californian lawyer and a self-confessed geek. According to his blog, he is also: “a podcaster, blogger, and author who writes about finding the best tools, hardware, and workflows for using Apple products to get work done.”

Evidently Sparks is the man for the job, and he has delivered such a profoundly useful manual here, that we can forgive the cover-art, which looks like it was designed by a senior-secondary fifth-former for a school project.

Let us not forget when it all began only 22 months ago. Others swiftly followed Apple's ground-breaking tablet-computing initiative. Nevertheless, Apple iPad still commands a large majority of the market share for this kind of product.

This book is obviously a great place to look if you are pondering purchasing this world-changing gizmo, or agonising about whether to go with an Android-based tablet or an iPad. If you are a Mac user of any kind, chances are you will surrender to the easy charms of the iPad. And in this connection, Mac fans would be well-advised to get one of the author's previous books, Mac at Work. As the author puts it, in regard to the way many use their iMac, if you don't know the full functionality of the machine, you'll end up “driving a Ferrari in the parking lot.” It's time to take it out on the highway with some of the mesmerising Omni software programs Sparks details.

Readers might consider reading iPad At Work on Kindle. And I recommend making this purchase from iTunes in the iBook format. They will look better, and the links to the Apple App Store will provide you with a seamless experience for getting acquainted with your iPad.

If you have an iPad, this book's for you. If you are considering buying an iPad, this book's for you. Even if you don't have or want an iPad, then this work is an riveting read, if only to see just where we are in 2012, just how far the digital revolution has advanced. The title of the book promises the iPad is a business tool and by the end of the book you will have no doubt that this is indeed the case.

The author takes care of newbies at the beginning of the book with the fundamentals. You'll also learn the difference between WiFi and 3G devices so you can decide which suits you best. All the basics, such as how to cut, copy and paste, on the iPad are covered. If these topics sound elementary to you, hang on because the Ferrari has barely warmed up.

The book then goes into a turbo-charged trip around all the different ways one can use an iPad for business. This includes everything from printing from you iPad, to text messaging and video conferencing. You'll also learn to how remotely control your home and work computer from your iPad, whether your computers are Windows-based PCs or Macs.

iPad At Work seems to have been penned with the relatively inexperienced, in mind. No bad thing at all. Sparks, with a clean, lucid style, reveals to readers both the context and the finicky nuts-and-bolts of how this revolutionary gadget can enhance one's business profitability. And it can do this, he posits, if one is sufficiently mindful of the “time = money” truism. Indeed, the most salient lesson of this book is that iPad is a time-saver of Wall Street proportions.

Many of us view iPads as a portable vector of infotainment and gaming. But Sparks demonstrates the new possibilities that the iPad presents for the way we handle our business habits, and he also shows us in ways we might not ever have imagined how the iPad is akin to a Star Wars-style light-sabre, for slicing through work.

The biggest favour he does for us is to guide us at warp-speed through the constellation of over 100,000 supernova apps, the ones that can best be utilized by interconnected professionals, over a wide range of industries.

Mind-mapping, file-handling, presentation-making, and cloud services such as iCloud, Dropbox or iBox, all get the stellar Sparks treatment. This means, lovely clear prose, minimum geekspeak, and a sense of unstoppable passion in whatever topic or app, Sparks is addressing. Even the simple stuff, Sparks dwells with infectious enthusiasm. Explaining how the frequent-flier “iPadder” in the departures lounge can manage IMAP and other e-mail and calendar protocols effortlessly from the device, the author shows how one can get away from that awkward airport laptop boot-up forever. Yes! Just turn on your iPad, and go.

Every now and then, one happens upon a gem. Something that makes the iPad-user think: “wish I'd read this book as soon as it was released.” One example of this describes how best to employ the PDF-and-document management software, GoodReeder, whose interface is somewhat unapproachable, but which belies a huge amount of practicality contained in the software itself. Sparks shows us around the GoodReeder maze on iPad with his customary lan.

A few lucky people absolutely love their work. Evidently professional supergeek Sparks is one of them.

Anyway, seeing as Sparks beat me to writing this book, I'm going to start work on its inevitable companion volume “iPad For Slackers”, for which this gizmo provides an infinite universe of low-stress pleasures. All work and no play, can hamper creativity. That said, a huge amount of creativity went into the iPad, and it is now yielding previously unfathomable benefits for its users. The late Steve Jobs truly earned his icon status, and perhaps the iPad was his greatest gift he lavished on us.

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