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Turning an iPad into more than a Toy

I recently upgraded from a iPad 1 to iPad 2. Two reasons: I’ve found the iPad app to be so useful that I wanted my wife/legal assistant/colleague to be able to use one as well. With the iPad’s Daylite Touch, she and I are able to update, add clients and prospects, and manage calendars on our Daylite database.

Second, while Verizon has customer service problems, AT&T’s coverage where I live is really awful. In certain courtrooms, I’d have to turn the iPad just so to get a signal. Verizon’s network is ubiquitous. While AT&T is purportedly faster, I’d prefer ubiquity and decent speed, to spotty coverage and top speeds.

The iPad 2 is noticeably faster than the iPad. It’s lighter, and since I use the iPad as basically a book at night in bed, the weight difference is nice. I thought the new cover would not stay on, especially in my bag. But once it closes, it doesn’t move.

The cameras on the iPad 2 are shockingly lousy. And Face Time is basically useless since no one I know has Face Time.

I posted a 10 App list on my Raleigh criminal blog and thought I’d share it here, taking out one application which is of use only to lawyers. That makes it a 9 app list. I’ve got no financial interest in any of these products. I use them in my daily law practice. All of these apps could be used in any number of professional settings.

  1. Daylite Touch – This app will only be useful if you use the MacOS Daylite as your database. This is not the place to review Daylite, which is mostly a great product, with a couple of significant flaws. But Daylite is the best solution I’ve found in a Mac environment to manage customer or client relationships. I remote host my Daylite database so that I can reach it anywhere in the world. Daylite Touch is simply awesome. It lets you add new clients (if I get a call when I’m not at the office), update court dates (while sitting in court), add notes, add tasks, and manage an awful lot. It rarely crashes, it seamlessly integrates with the desktop version of Daylite. Truly, Daylite Touch may be the best part of Daylite. There’s a yearly fee of $50 per device, but in my estimation it’s well worth it.
  2. EverNote – If you need to sync documents between devices and computers, EverNote is a great solution. In North Carolina, we have various sentencing guidelines, or updated court room calendars that show which judges have been assigned to which courtrooms. At the start of each week, I’ll refresh whichever documents I need to refresh from various sources in EverNote. During the week, I merely need to go to one spot on my iPad to find whatever reference document or calendar I need to view. EverNote, in short, allows me to keep all of these documents synced and in one place across multiple computers.
  3. LogMeIn – LogMeIn provides a secure way to access your desktop when you’re not in your office. This can be incredibly useful. Let’s say you forgot to load a document from your office into Evernote. LogMeIn will let you load it, so that the document will then be synced with your iPad. Of course, it’s always important to keep your password confidential, since if someone has access to your desktop, they can see everthing.
  4. iAnnotate PDF iPad – I liked iAnnotate last year, and I like it this year. It provides all you really need to view, edit, and share PDFs. There are multiple different PDF viewers, but from my perspective this is the best. Easy to use, not expensive, and very stable.
  5. WordPress for iPad – One of the things I do is maintain my own website and blog. Doing so can be a chore. But it’s also important to keep people up to date about the latest developments in the news and in the law. WordPress for iPad allows me to do this. Admittedly, writing very long posts on the iPad is not very convenient. But I’ve found that I can make quick posts or updates with ease.
  6. DocumentsToGo – I’m cheating here because I haven’t used this suite of software. I have used Apple Pages, which I don’t like. I find the formatting gets all messed up. Since I don’t write long documents on my iPad, I prefer a word processor that will not mess up formatting from documents received from a desktop, but will allow me to make small edits. DocumentsToGo syncs with the cloud (which Apple Pages does not).
  7. Air Sharing HD – There are a number of applications, including DropBox, that allow you to share documents with your iPad. DropBox syncs with the cloud, which then syncs with your iPad or computer (and vice versa). This application allows you to sync directly with your iPad, which means nothing will go to the cloud. In addition, this application will allow you to print directly from your iPad to a networked (Mac) printer. That can be very convenient.

    In the future, it would be nice to permit your iPad to print to any printer (if authorized) in any networked situation. But for now, Air Sharing HD will have to do.

  8. Skype – I put this on the list because I don’t have standard telephones. Instead, I use a combination of Skype and Google Voice and cell phones to direct calls. It works quite well in a small office, allows you the flexibility of appearing to run your office from where ever you may be located, and is very inexpensive. My gripe with Skype is that even after a year, they have not updated their app for the larger iPad screen. Certainly with the new cameras on the new iPad, video conferencing should be integrated into the new Skype iPad app. When it is, this application will be fantastic, much better than Apple’s Face Time which is nearly useless because virtually no one has it.
  9. 1Password – I’m pretty fanatical about managing passwords to maintain security. When you do this, it’s difficult to remember all the passwords you have for different accounts and so forth. 1Password is a secure way to maintain passwords, while not using duplicate passwords at different sites. 1Password is, as far as I know, only for the Mac. But the iPad version of it nicely integrates with the Mac environment. Highly recommended.

Hopefully these apps will help you use the iPad in your professional practice as more than a toy. I’ve found that these apps really help me deliver high quality criminal law defense to my clients.

Related posts:
  • iPad observation #3: If your baby — or a caveman — can figure out how to use the iPad, the user-interface works
  • Ten million iPads to be sold in 2010? It could happen…
  • iPad observation #6: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

  • 7 comments

    7 Comments so far

    1. Chris Johnson March 20th, 2011 11:14 am

      I just started using ever-note. It was terrible and slow when I used it last in 2008.

      Way faster. Finally useful.

    2. Steven Kenway March 20th, 2011 3:06 pm

      Damon:

      I don’t see any electronic signature technology on your list? That would seem to be the critical element missing when trying to achieve a paperless transaction.

      Thanks in advance for the thoughts.

      Steve

    3. Brian Sears March 21st, 2011 7:27 am

      For signing PDFs, I recommend PDF Expert – by far the best PDF app for allowing to fill in and sign PDFs.

    4. Cheryl Johnson March 23rd, 2011 7:17 am

      My partner Bob enjoys his original iPad plus he likes to Skype his grandkids. I was hoping the front facing camera on the iPad 2 would equate an easy-to-use Skype-Station.

      “The cameras on the iPad 2 are shockingly lousy” … Guess not yet. :-(

    5. Kim Gibbons March 23rd, 2011 5:19 pm

      The “1Password” concept is brilliant. I have never heard of it before but what a great way to manage passwords!

      Thanks

    6. Pete Deininger March 25th, 2011 7:29 am

      I’ve been considering the upgrade to ipad2 from my original. I love the portability of this device and I’ve modified my complete listing presentation to that I can sit before a home seller and present to them on the ipad. I think it’s a nice touch and good representation of how using new technologies can get their house sold.

    7. Bruce Lemieux March 27th, 2011 3:48 pm

      I find Noterize to be much more user friendly and useful than iAnnotate.