iPad versus Laptop

Recently I’ve been having conversations with many people who are trying to decide whether to buy an iPad, and if their business needs can justify the pricey expense. I usually get the same response when I pose the question: “From a purely business perspective, how does your iPad increase your business productivity in a way a laptop doesn’t?” When pressed, most people struggle to come up with an answer. Most of us already own a laptop. An iPad will not replace a computer. It doesn’t print, it isn’t really designed to do expanded programming in excel or put together power point presentations and it does not accept any USB devices, a severe limitation that is standard on laptop computers.

But, an iPad is FUN… something that cannot really be said of a laptop. In addition to the non-business applications (photography, music etc.), is it possible for the iPad to increase business productivity more than a laptop? Possibly; it depends on what your business is and your position.

The iPad is smaller and easier to transport than a laptop; 1.33lbs compared to 6-10 lbs, and is small enough to fit into your purse, briefcase, or man-bag. There is no need to “boot up” and it’s less intrusive in business meetings and conferences. The primary purpose I would use it for is e-mails, keeping track of my ever changing calendar, saving client notes, and keeping notes organized so I can easily find them. These are all great, but a laptop is able to do all of those things and is a more powerful computer. The portability is the real differentiating factor.

I can see myself using it to take notes instead of all the notepads I carry around for different clients. It would do away with me constantly flipping through notebooks to find that piece of information I “know” I wrote down. Juggling a calendar would be easier without having to boot up a PC. The portability allows for easy reference to my calendar for available dates when meeting with clients. Frequently, while out of the office, brief phone conversations with a client or my fellow team members require me to quickly figure out if I can re-arrange my schedule. I do not have time to open my laptop to find my calendar. If I had an iPad I could answer pretty quickly.

It remains to be seen if I could review financials on an iPad. I like to print things out, so I’m not sure that would benefit me. I would use it to write a blog like this when I find myself waiting in line or early for an appointment. I could also submit mileage reimbursements or log my time into a time tracking system, all of which I can do on a laptop, but probably wouldn’t if I was on the go.

So, in conclusion, I’m leaning toward buying one. Analyze your immediate uses and benefits for you when deciding which direction you would like to go.

Written by:
Nancy Brzezniak
TGG Accounting

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