The right office apps for the iPad at work
If you provide or allow employees an iPad, here are the productivity apps that you should install on themFollow @MobileGalen
UPDATED JUNE 8, 2011: Read the June 2011 updated review of iPad office apps, including the Soonr suite and updated versions of iWork, Quickoffice, and DocsToGo.
Users and business managers alike are loving the iPad as a potential laptop replacement, for at least part of the time. And more and more companies are providing employees iPads or letting employees use their own. So, just as companies typically install a suite of desktop productivity apps (nearly always Microsoft Office), what should the iPad equivalent be?
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InfoWorld.com investigated the available programs and put together a recommended business apps suite that should be the standard install on corporate iPads. I was surprised to find that none of the iPad productivity suites is ideal, though one comes close. (I've added U.S. iTunes links for each app covered.)
Of course, beyond the productivity apps that nearly everyone uses, iPadders have further needs, so I've also put together a collection of additional business apps that you might make available to employees or point them to for more specialized work.
The office suite candidates are Apple's iWork suite -- Pages ($10), Numbers ($10), and Keynote ($10) -- plus Quickoffice's Quickoffice Mobile Connect Suite ($20, but its price changes frequently) and DavaViz's Documents to Go Premium ($17). Quickoffice has a word processor and spreadsheet editor; DocsToGo (as it's labeled on the iPad) has a word processor, a spreadsheet editor, and a tool to edit text and add notes to a presentation. All the programs read and write to the Microsoft Office file formats.
I first pick out the best individual productivity apps, then pull together a recommended suite that includes utilities that should be in your standard installation as well. (Note that my iPad choices aren't the same as my recommendations for the best iPhone office apps, due to app differences across the two devices.) Here are the winners: