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Monday, May 12, 2014

Office for iPad

Microsoft Office for the iPad

Microsoft Office is now available and developed specifically for the iPad. Released on March 27, 2014, Microsoft Word for iPad, Microsoft Excel for iPad, Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad, and Microsoft OneNote for iPad provide touch-optimized experiences for users of traditional Microsoft Office applications.
Office for iPad apps are free to all users. However, for you to have edit functionality within any of the apps, you must have an active, qualifying Office 365 subscription. Qualifying plans are listed below.
•          Office 365 Home
•          Office 365 Small Business Premium
•          Office 365 Midsize Business
•          Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government)
•          Office 365 Education A3 and A4
•          Office 365 ProPlus
•          Office 365 University
•          Office 365 trial subscriptions

Of course, each of the Office apps developed for the iPad possess the same look and feel as their desktop counterparts. Further, Office for iPad apps take full advantage of the ability to save data to OneDrive and to share documents with other collaborators.

 One of the limitations in the early releases of Office for iPad apps was the inability to print directly from the app. Various workarounds for this limitation existed, including simply opening a document from the desktop version of the app and printing from there. However, on April 29, 2014, Microsoft released and update to the Office for iPad apps that included support for in-app printing. Therefore, once you download the updated versions of these apps, you will no longer need to engage in workarounds to print documents associated with Office for iPad apps.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Multi Finger Gestures

There are some multi finger gestures that are very handy on the Apple iPad:

1. Swipe left or right on a running app with four fingers touching the iPad and it will switch to other apps that are running in memory.

2. Swipe up with four fingers on the home screen or app and you go into mult-task mode.

3. Touch five fingers on the screen and grasp the screen to close an app.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Air Server

Air Server is a nice product that will allow you to hook any i-Device to your laptop or desk system using Air Display technology.  For example, you can connect your iPad to your laptop via 802.11 using Air Server and show information via the laptop connected to a projector, screen, etc.  This is sure nice to not need cables anymore.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Using an iPad in Business

December 2, 2012

You already know the iPad and other mobile devices can be extremely helpful for personal use and just plain fun, but can an iPad really be productive in business?  Well, that depends on what business and job functions we are discussing.  Since the release of the iPad, business users have needed the ability to do more than just read documents.  As it stands now we can do a whole lot more than just read stuff.

For business use of an iPad I strongly recommend that you add a Bluetooth keyboard and stylus.  These two additional devices will expand your business use capabilities dramatically.  Also, there are apps such as Air Display that will allow you to use your iPad as a second monitor for your laptop.  The last recommendation on hardware is that you buy the iPad it’s own data plan and hopefully you have LTE available in your area.  LTE is significantly faster than 4G. 

The key to successful use of an iPad in business revolves around the job function of the user.  If the user can do his or her job by viewing and editing information then the iPad has a chance at success.  People that consume or use information are great candidates.  For example, a controller can run the corporate accounting via an RDP (Remote Data Processing) app,  such as Citrix or PocketCloud, and get the information they need beyond email and instant messages including running the legacy accounting application from the iPad.  Believe it or not, you can run older Windows accounting systems with the iPad touch control.  Of course this requires some setup on the server side but is very possible.  For events where I speak I often show Open Systems TRAVERSE running on my iPad via PocketCloud Pro (courtesy of Open Systems, Inc.) And it runs very well.

On the other hand, people that produce information are not good candidates due to the smaller keyboard, screen, hard drive, and limited applications in this area.  For example, a tax preparer can easily review tax returns on an iPad, but preparing them on an iPad even with a RDP tool can be very tedious.

Also, there are some industries that just fit.  For example, a large national delivery company is now fully committed to the iPad Mini because it is a powerful iPad in a smaller form factor and can be held in one had for signature on package delivery.  The Mini is not expensive or hard to find if a replacement is needed.  Advantage, iPad Mini.

iPads can also be as secure as you like.  With 256 bit AES encryption built into the hardware all you really need to do is stop using the simple lock code in General Settings and go for a more secure passcode.  You can also use the Apple Configurator, a utility to manage corporate policy settings, on either  a Windows or Mac system then upload the HTML file to the iPad.  This will lock the iPad and users can only reset back to factory settings if they try to go around corporate policy.  You certainly want to setup each iPad so that it can be located from iCloud including invoking Erase Data setting after 10 failed passcode attempts which is located in Settings, General, Passcode Lock.

No USB port on the iPad?  No problem.  You can get data files from email or data sync applications.  I prefer to use the data sync approach and my preference right now is Dropbox or ShareFile. 

Data Sync apps:

·        Dropbox

·        ShareFile

·        SugarSync

·        Box

You can read, edit, and even sign PDF files easily.  In my opinion, all a business iPad user will need is the free Adobe Reader for normal use and GoodReader for large documents.

Popular PDF apps:

·        Adobe Reader for iPad

·        GoodReader

·        Penultimate

·        SignMyPad

·        iAnnotate PDF

MS Office documents can be a challenge.  Apple’s office tools Keynote, Numbers, and Pages are not really MS Office compliant.  While Microsoft has announced a version of Office for the iPad it will not be here until late spring next year. 

In the meantime, here are some apps that do work they just require a bit of learning and setup.  If you need to view, edit, or manage MS Office documents then you need to investigate this list.  The most impressive one on the list, OnLive Desktop, requires that you upload and download files via your desktop or laptop to the OnLive Desktop website.  You can then edit them with your iPad.  You can even pay $5 per month for the Pro version and get full flash browsing via IE 9.0 on your iPad.  Other users combine Dropbox with CloudOn and they are good to go.  One caveat - CloudOn has a built in auto-save mode so you don’t want to make changes to documents unless you want to keep the changes.

Popular MS Office apps:

·        SlideShark

·        CloudOn

·        OnLive Desktop

For the CPA in public practice we are starting to see many iPad apps that will draw information from your practice management, tax prep, and even client’s QuickBooks data installed on their systems. 

CPA firm apps:

·        Mobile CS – Thomson Reuters

·        Practice Intelligence – CCH (access via Atomic Web browser app)

·        CCH Mobile

·        CCH Tax News

·        Avatax Rates

·        Five Plus (coming in Jan to access QuickBooks data)

Accounting solutions with mobile apps:

·        Xero

·        Concur

·        Freshbooks

Bottom line, can an iPad replace a laptop?  Yes, if all the user needs to do is manage information such as email, PDF files, MS Office files (review, edit, make small changes to documents).  An iPad is not good for someone who produces a lot of information.  Instead it is an excellent tool for someone who consumes a lot of information with small management tasks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Mini

Well, just because I have to teach about the Mini I bought one.  Well, that isn't actually true.  I have been really looking forward to comparing the Mini to what I have seen in the Kindle and Kindle Fire.  Let's just say I am very pleased and believe the Mini can stand up to any of these products and then some.  The display is not Retina but it is still crystal clear.  I am actually a fan of the new Lightning connector (I have just as many old 30 accessories as you) but I love the positive click and universal plug (either side up).  Improved wireless is good but not the killer feature.  I think the shape, size, feel, speed, and apps make this the winner.  I am biased I know but this is a great product any way you want to argue this one.  I do see the Mini cutting into some iPad sales but a lot more into Kindle sales.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Here is a video of a Tech Update presentation I did for the Pennsylvania Society of CPAs a few weeks back that has a lot of iPad and Mac stuff live in the presentation. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Slide Shark

In a presentation today I forgot to add one item to a slide.  Slide Shark is another good tool to use for showing PPT files on an iPad.  You must upload the file to Slide Shark's site but it runs great.  Completely PowerPoint compatible as far as I can determine.