The first reason is absolutely key if you use an iPhone or especially, a Mac for work. One key feature introduced by Apple in last year’s iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite updates is Continuity and Handoff, which allows you to start a task (e.g. sending an email, browsing the web) on your Mac and then switch to your iPhone or iPad and pick up exactly where you left off.
This also applies to the other way around so you can begin sending an email for Mail for iPad and then switch to your Mac or iPhone and carry on where you left off, with the email already populated with any data you have inputted on your iPad.
iCloud sync also keeps your documents and files updated across all your iOS devices and if you’re part of a company where multiple workers need to access to the same pool of files, iCloud Sync or the upgraded iCloud Drive could be perfect for you and your iPads.
2. Apps, apps, apps
One of the reasons we listed to buy an Android tablet for work is arguably more pertinent to the iPad; apps. The App Store is one of the largest application collections but the one thing it has over the Google Play Store is tablet-designed apps.
There are over 1 million apps in the App Store and approximately 500,000 of these are designed for the iPad, offering a native experience designed specifically for Apple’s various tablets. The other apps are designed for the iPhone but almost all are compatible with the iPad (they run in scaled mode) meaning the number of potentially useful apps is significantly higher on the iPad than on Android tablets.
3. Apple’s Productivity Suite (iWork, Garageband, iMovie, iPhoto)
Another reason to buy an iPad for work is Apple’s own productivity suite, which offers the following applications for free when you buy a new iPad:
Pages: Apple’s answer to Microsoft Word offers native viewing, editing and creation of documents, which can be saved as a PDF, as a Word document or in Pages format.
Numbers: Apple’s answer to Microsoft Excel brings the key spreadsheet features found in Excel to the iPad and lets you save as PDF, as an Excel sheet or in Pages format.
Keynote: Apple’s answer to Powerpoint lets you create, view or edit presentations directly from your iPad. Keynote is really useful for mobile workers as it lets you use your iPad for presentations on-the-go.
GarageBand: GarageBand is great for music producers as it turns your iPad into a collection of touch-controlled instruments and a fully-fledged recording studio. This lets you create music on the move and the feature set is simply incredible, letting you create music and do things with instruments even if you have never used the instrument before. GarageBand also lets you plug an electric guitar into your iPad to place music through amps and you can also instantly record a performance before sharing it. The list of features is phenomenal and a key reason to buy the iPad if your job involves any form of audio production or manipulation.
iPhoto: Like GarageBand for audio, iPhoto is a fully-fledged graphics application that lets you edit, sort and improve images before saving them and sharing them to the web. It’s also available on the Mac and images sync between your Apple ID devices using iCloud Sync.
iMovie: While GarageBand and iPhoto are very impressive applications, my favourite preloaded productivity application is iMovie, which allows anyone to become a video producer with ease. Built with the same functionality as the Mac app – which is also free and offers more features than rival apps that cost several hundreds of dollars – iMovie lets you take a video, add filters, transitions and a watermark and export it for YouTube, all direct from your iPad. I can name several prominent video producers who have used iMovie on the iPad to create their video and if you have any need for video production or editing in your job, iMovie beats any alternative app on any tablet platform.
These are also available on older devices provided you’ve bought a new iPad recently (it’s tied to your Apple ID) so a company could buy one iPad and get access to all of these apps on all its devices as long as they use the same Apple ID.
iOS 9 on the iPad will bring pinned tabs in Safari
4. Safari and embedded media
When browsing websites on Android or Windows tablets, you sometimes find that the website responsive design just looks a little odd with odd plugins attempting to run in the background. A common problem is the error that Flash isn’t able to play an advert but these issues are less pronounced on the iPad.
When using Safari on the iPad, the website detects you’re using an iPad and, as long as the developer has added this functionality which major websites have, converts media to run on Apple’s OS. Having tested several websites across both Android and iOS tablets, I can safely say that the iPad offers a much better browsing experience and the ability to natively play embedded media is useful if you rely on online media as part of your work.
5. Microsoft Office for iPad
Just like on Android and Windows tablets, Microsoft has released its Office suite for iPad users. The suite is available free of charge to users and lets you edit documents saved in the cloud (OneDrive or Dropbox) and if you’re not a fan of Apple’s own productivity apps, Office for iPad is by far the best alternative.
Office for iPad comes with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and Outlook and if your work has an Office 365 for Business subscription, you can sync all your existing files as well. Outlook especially is a credible alternative to Apple Mail and provides easy setup for Office 365, Outlook.com, Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo and other email providers.
If you have a wireless printer in your office (or you work from home or with clients who have wireless printers) and it’s AirPrint enabled, you can print documents, emails and a lot more directly from your iPad with just a couple of taps. Even if your printer isn’t AirPrint enabled, you can fool your iPad into thinking it is making printing simple and easy. Rather than have to email documents to someone to print, you can print them quickly and securely from your iPad.
7. Desktop as a Service and Remote Access
Like most tablets (apart from those running on full Windows) some programs are desktop-only and won’t run. However, the iPad makes it very easy to access your desktop remotely so you can run Windows or Mac-only applications direct from your iPad.
Whether it’s running a custom application for your workplace, accessing files on your work server or just running a Windows application for which there is no alternative, there’s plenty of apps and services that will let you access your desktop computer remotely from your iPad.
8. Accessories (docks, keyboards and more)
Apple’s ecosystem is not just limited to apps and devices as the birth of the iPhone and iPad has spawned an entire industry dedicated to accessories for the devices. While there are some accessories available for Windows tablets – and a lot less for Android tablets thanks to fragmentation – the iPad has millions of accessories available.
From docks to cases and keyboards to plug-in professional microphones and bluetooth speakers, there’s a lot of accessories that will transform the way you use your iPad. The most useful accessories for business users is definitely the keyboard accessories, which lets you turn the iPad into a fully fledged mobile computer. With thousands of keyboards to choose from, there’s most likely a keyboard available that’s perfect for you.
These are just a few of the key reasons to buy an iPad for work but there’s also plenty of reasons why a Windows tablet or Android tablet is better for your business. Have you spotted a reason that we’ve missed? Let us know your views in the comments below.