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This chapter is from the book

Apps for Other Business Needs

Aside from apps designed specifically for business professionals, there are thousands of apps that can help you become more efficient in handling a range of tasks associated with your personal life. Using your iPad to stay organized, save money, and better utilize your time, for example, helps you enjoy all that your life has to offer.

The following are additional apps that can be useful in either your personal or professional life.

Accessing Computers Remotely

In addition to the apps described thus far, many business professionals have discovered the benefit of being able to access the files and content on their primary computer remotely, via the Internet, using their iPad.

You can do this using a handful of different remote desktop apps, such as Splashtop Remote Desktop for iPad, Jump Desktop, Remoter: Remote Desktop RDP, and GoToMyPC. To find a handful of apps that offer this functionality, visit the App Store. In the Search field enter the keywords “Remote Desktop.”

Participating in Virtual Meetings

You can also participate in virtual (online) meetings from anywhere using the GoToMeeting, WebEx for iPad, or Skype apps, for example. More information about these apps, and others that are useful for video conferencing, are featured in Chapter 13, “Conducting Videoconferences and Virtual Meetings.”

Reading PDF Files

Another type of app that’s helpful to many business professionals is a dedicated PDF file reader. These apps enable you to import PDF files and view them on your tablet’s screen.

Although the free iBooks app (featured in Chapter 17, “Using iBooks”) serves as a PDF file reader, several dozen other apps for accessing and reading PDF files, such as PDF Reader Pro Edition, FastPDF+, and iAnnotate PDF, are available. When visiting the App Store, enter the search phrase “PDF Reader” in the search field to find a selection of these apps.

PDF files are useful because they retain their exact formatting and appearance, even when transferred across multiple viewing platforms. A PDF file looks the same on a PC, Mac, iPad, or smartphone screen regardless of the software used to create it.

Saving Time in Your Everyday Life

Beyond apps that are strictly for business, you can find a plethora of apps within the App Store that can save you time in your personal life. For example, there’s the Walgreen’s app, which enables you to manage your prescription medications and order refills from anywhere.

Many of your favorite chain stores also have their own apps, enabling you to shop online or find the store’s nearest retail location. If you’re a business professional who’s constantly on the go, the FedEx Mobile app helps you ship and track packages, but it also helps you find the nearest FedEx location wherever you happen to be. To order office supplies or find the closest Staples location, the free Staples app can prove helpful.

Or, If you’re in need of a jolt of caffeine, the MyStarbucks app helps you find the nearest Starbucks location and decide what you want to order. You can use the Starbucks Mobile Card app to actually pay for your in-store purchases.

Online Banking Made Easy on Your iPad

Many major banks, such as Bank of America, Capital One, PNC, Citizens Bank, and TD Bank, now offer specialized apps for handling your online banking from the iPad. You can easily check your balances, transfer money between accounts, pay bills online, and more using these free, bank-specific iPad apps.

Staying Active with Online Social Networking Services

If you’re active on any of the online social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or LinkedIn, you can find specialized apps that greatly expand the capabilities of these services when you access them using your tablet.

You can use an app such as Pingle to keep multiple online account statuses up to date simultaneously. Meanwhile, in addition to the official Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn apps, all of which are free and available from the App Store, dozens of other apps offer added features and functionality for using these online social networking services. For example, there’s Twitterific, which is ideal for managing multiple Twitter accounts.

The official Twitter app, which can be downloaded for free from within the Settings app (as opposed to the App Store), also enables you to manage multiple Twitter accounts from your iPad 2.

If you use AIM or another instant messaging service to stay in contact with people, many apps are fully compatible with these services, so you can communicate via instant messaging from your iPad. In terms of using AIM, the AIM for iPad app is available.

Tracking Your Customer Loyalty Rewards

If you’re a member of a frequent buyer or customer loyalty program at a handful of different stores that you shop at regularly, including supermarkets, pharmacies, pet stores, and restaurants, there are a handful of apps, such as AwardWallet, that help you manage these memberships without carrying around a stack of membership cards.

Finding Businesses or Services You Need

Thanks to the GPS capabilities built in to your iPad, the free AroundMe app can pinpoint your exact location and then help you find whatever type of business or service you’re looking for, such as the closest gas station, ATM, supermarket, restaurant, hospital, dry cleaner, or hotel. Apps such as AroundMe work with your tablet’s preinstalled Maps app.

Similar to the AroundMe app is the free Yelp app. It too ties in to your tablet’s GPS capabilities and can be used to find nearby businesses, services, and restaurants. Speaking of finding nearby restaurants, if you need a recommendation and directions, check out the free Urbanspoon for iPad app. It offers a nationwide database of restaurants and enables you to find selections based on location, food type, or menu prices.

There are also apps to help you obtain the latest weather forecasts and plan your travel (see Chapter 11, “Using Travel-Related Apps”). Using an app such as Moviefone, Fandango, or OneTap Movies, with a few taps on the screen, you can find the closest movie theaters to where you are, determine what movies are playing, view a list of show times, and even preorder tickets.

If you prefer to watch TV at home, while you’re on the go you can program your TiVo DVR to record shows using the free TiVo app. (Similar apps are also available from DirecTV and many cable TV operators, such as Xfinity.)

Sometimes people get busy and forget important dates or events, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Even on a last-minute basis, the free 1800Flowers app, for example, enables you to shop online from your iPad and arrange for a flower arrangement, plant, or gift to be delivered anywhere in the country. Same-day or next-day delivery service is often available.

Saving Money

As you look at newspaper and magazine ads, or even billboards at airports, you might have noticed those new square barcodes within ads. Using a free app such as ScanLife, you can use your iPad to quickly scan those codes and access the additional information or content available from advertisers. In many cases, this includes a special discount.

While we’re on the subject of saving money, there are many apps that can help you with this as well. For example, the free AAA Discounts app is available to all AAA members. It includes a nationwide database listing thousands of local merchants, restaurants, and attractions that offer discounts to card holders. (If you happen to break down, the free AAA Roadside app requests help for you, such as pinpointing your exact location and sending a tow truck.)

The free GroupOn app supplies you with a daily list of local merchants that are offering special discounts, and the Barcode Scanner: Scan Shop and Save app ($.99 USD) enables you to use your iPad to scan the barcode of any product, determine where in your immediate area it’s sold, and then see which local merchant has the lowest price for that item.

For higher-priced items or products you can shop for online, such as consumer electronics or even replacement toner or ink cartridges for a printer, you can find the lowest prices offered for almost any product from online merchants using the free Nextag Mobile app. Online shopping and finding the best deals have never been easier using this well-respected price-comparison service.

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