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Do you iPad? iPhone? Apps That Make My Business Easier

There are days I feel I may need a support group: My name is Mary and I am an Apple addict. But, truth be told I’m happy with my Apple products. The latest to amaze me is the iPad.

As a small business owner, the iPad has become my office away from the office. I no longer lug my laptop (five years ago considered light) to meetings, or on trips. Instead, I bring my iPad with everything on it I need for the day/week.

My iWorldSeveral people have asked what apps I use and like, so today’s post is the start of that conversation. Many of the apps sync through MobileMe (soon to be iCloud) and among several users. The same information is on my laptop, my iPad and my iPhone so no matter where I am I have access. All of these are available in iTunes. I’ve listed their company URL so you can read about them before downloading.

Calendar and Task Lists

BusyCal is a version of Apple’s iCal from BusyMac but I like to say it’s on steroids as it does so much. By syncing wirelessly to MobileMe, you can easily manage multiple calendars (I have 10) with several users. I also use BusyMac’s task list, BusyToDo, which syncs to the appropriate calendars as well.

Find my iPhone/iPad

This is not so much an app as a benefit from Apple with MobileMe. As a subscriber, you can turn on this feature on your computer and mobile devices so you can find your device if it’s stolen. You can also wipe it clean and sound an alarm on it.

Dragon Dictation

It’s illegal to text and drive in Alaska so when I want to remind myself of something while on the go, I dictate into Dragon Dictation and when I get to my destination, hit the email button. You can start and stop the message easily so if multiple items occur to you on the trip, it’s all in one email at your destination. It seems to recognize my dictated words fairly well. At least I can figure out what I meant anyway.

Productivity Apps

Oh Evernote, the things you can do that I haven’t even discovered yet! Evernote organizes items you need into notebook based on your own organization system. I use it a lot for trips and put my itinerary, hotel and car confirmations, schedules, airline confirmation, etc. I also use it for client notes. My friend Gini Dietrich has been blogging about Evernote so read more (and read Gini’s blog regularly – she’s brilliant).

Instapaper – Here’s where you can put those articles you didn’t have time to read, and want to read them on a plane/train trip. Download the browser app and mark them from your computer so they sync here. Once you’ve read them, tag them for bookmarking and archive.

Apple’s suite of office products, iWorks, is available for the iPad and helps my task list along when I’m on the road. And iWorks programs are compatible with Office so you can easily transfer to your computer. Pages, Keynote and Numbers are $10 each so you may find that too expensive but it depends on how you use the iPad. Having Pages has helped me get more work done and Keynote is a great way to bring presentations along without the laptop.

Through its various ways you can mark up a PDF file, iAnnotate PDF is another tool for creating that paperless office. I was on a webinar earlier this week and took notes in the handout the presenter had emailed everyone. Now my notes are with the presentation forever rather than having them in two separate locations.

The WordPress app means I can manage my blog from off site and, depending on your comment system, manage the conversation as well. I use LiveFyre for comments so am patiently waiting their app release to manage comments (which I can do now through the Web browser (Web browser a topic for future iPad posts).

If you have files you need for an upcoming meeting, or items you want to edit on the road, put them into DropBox and they are synced to your devices. Note that you can also share selected files with others on your team.

Social Media Apps

Of course, there are apps for virtually any social medium including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, Yelp. The Facebook app is just a magnified version of the iPhone app so I sometimes use Friendly for iPad instead. In reality, I’m not thrilled with either and wish Facebook would just release their iPad app and we’d all be happy.

Travel Apps

GogoInflight is the program that connects you to the Internet while flying. Using their app, all your account information is stored so you don’t need to do anything except start the app and log-in. When you arrive, use GateGuru to find what you need in the unfamiliar airport. User reviews help you choose the best place for airport food. And, you can even check wait times at the security checkpoints. OpenTable’s massive restaurant search and reservation system are helpful for trip plans, and changes.


This list ought to get your started on your journey with the iPad. Are there apps you use that I didn’t mention? I’m likely going to make this a regular feature on my blog so let me know what you’d like to hear about. Future topics might include web browsers, printers and remote desktop programs. What do you want to hear about?


By |2018-03-18T22:53:52+00:00August 23rd, 2011|Trends & Tools|16 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


  1. graybillcom August 23, 2011 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Love it! Some of these apps will make my life easier!!!! I’m sending this blog to other friends who have iPhones and iPads!!!

  2. mdbarber August 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    @graybillcom thanks Mary. I hope it helps others as well, and plan to update with other tips too. I hope folks will let me know what they want to know about.

  3. ginidietrich August 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I have two to add! I LOVE Reeder for my Google Reader. I like reading blogs from there better than anywhere else now. I also have Boingo for connecting to the WiFi in airports.

    But I still can’t leave my laptop at home. I need to take some time to figure out how to present from my iPad.

  4. mdbarber August 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    @ginidietrich I forgot about Reeder which you had told me about previously. I need to get more used to using it.

    Have you tried to present using Keynote? I thought it was supposed to be seamless. That’s what I’m planning to do for PRSA in Orlando.

  5. JayDolan August 25, 2011 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Wunderlist is my favorite to do list app. It’s got versions for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and Windows, so as long as I have access to something, I can log into my account and see what the heck I need to be doing.

    • bestxmas October 20, 2011 at 12:55 am - Reply

      @JayDolan Love wunderlist – can’t live without it, especially like the email reminders when tasks need to be completed.

      • mdbarber October 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm - Reply

        @bestxmas@JayDolan I don’t know that one. I use BusyTo Dos because it’s tied to BusyCal but reminders in the new iOS might make it redundant. I’ll have to look into Wunderlist.

  6. blfarris August 25, 2011 at 4:24 am - Reply


    Two more that I use all the time:

    Genius Scan is great for getting handwritten notes or type written handouts into Evernote (or other electronic systems). I’m terrible with paper, i never have it when I need it, so Genius Scan puts it all into bits (where I don’t lose it).

    Pano is a terrific app for stitching together multiple photos. I use it to take pictures of flip-charts or butcher paper after I have facilitated a meeting with a client. So I can take the information back to my office and leave the original for the client.


  7. mdbarber August 25, 2011 at 6:32 am - Reply

    @JayDolan I haven’t heard of that Jay. However, I love the name. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  8. mdbarber August 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    @blfarris I really like the sounds of both those and can see how they would make life easier.

  9. 3HatsComm September 1, 2011 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Just did my own basic app list today, wish I’d have seen this last week. Will have to check out AnnotatePDF, Instapaper… see how I can use them.

  10. mdbarber September 1, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

    @3HatsComm I figure we all have to share what we know to make things easier. Anything on your list that isn’t here?

  11. 3HatsComm September 1, 2011 at 10:49 am - Reply

    @mdbarber Don’t think so. I mean I included Angry Birds under games, but really.. that’s sanity maintenance some days. 😉

  12. mdbarber September 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    @3HatsComm so true…and words with friends, and hanging with friends too.

  13. evelynonline80 November 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    I like Reeder for my Google Reader. Now I read blogs from there better than anywhere else now. I also have Boingo for connecting to the WiFi in airports.

  14. walkssophia October 21, 2014 at 4:11 am - Reply

    Cool apps. Basically when ever we talk about the apps, one thing I consider the most is the expense and ofcourse the tool that could manage the expense in a respective manner. The most happening tool which I prefer using for the sake of expense management and reporting both personally as well as professionally makes a great difference is the cloud based expense reporting software from Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/expense-reports.aspx ) which is hassle free in and reflects the effectiveness of the respective money management in a practical way.

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