IPads and tablets have rocketed up in popularity in the last few months. According to Best Buy CEO, laptop sales have dropped by as much as 50% in some stores with the iPad flying off the shelves.
But does it have a business application? Can it actually make a significant impact on your bottom line, or is it just a nice tech toy?
Let’s explore the issue.
=> A Laptop with Constant Connectivity
There are many things a business owner can do with an iPad that she couldn’t do with just a laptop — or just an iPhone, for that matter.
For one, you can check your email, bank accounts or business documents from anywhere with the 3G network. You don’t need Wi-Fi. This is often very useful in spare moments on buses, on a walk, during lunch, etc.
While the iPhone has the same capability, writing long emails or doing complex functions on the iPhone just isn’t practical. The touch type screen is just too small to write long emails. The iPad solves that issue.
=> A Powerhorse for Sales People
According to a ChangeWave survey, published in PC World Magazine, 46% of business people who bought the iPad did so with the intention of using it for “sales support,” and 45% use it for “customer presentations.”
Imagine sitting across from a customer. Instead of pulling out an old-fashioned binder for a presentation, you instead whip out your sleek iPad.
You go through each slide, complete with full color graphics and possibly even audio/video. You scroll through slides quickly and easily with the flick of a finger.
While not every customer will be impressed by this kind of sleek technology, many will be. Especially in more technology-oriented fields, it shows clients that you’re at the cutting edge and know what you’re doing technically.
Finally, after the meeting you can instantly log onto your Customer Management System (i.e. Salesforce.com, etc.) and log how the meeting went. Unlike a laptop which requires Wi-Fi or an iPhone which can’t display everything on its screen, the iPad allows you to have full screen access and a large touch-type screen to instantly enter in how the meeting went.
=> Does Your Business Need It?
It depends. If a small increase in performance can mean big increases in profits for your business, then the answer may very well be “Yes!” For example, a real estate agent whose average commission is $20,000 is probably making a wise investment to spend the $500 to get an iPad that’ll impress certain clients.
People in tech-savvy fields can also really benefit from having an iPad. Again, it shows that you’re staying competitive both technologically and in your business.
If on the other hand you’re in a field where a small increase in volume won’t impact business much and tech-savvyness isn’t valued, then the iPad may not be a great business investment. It depends entirely on who your clients are and what field you’re in.