Have you ever dreamed about working from the beach on a nice sunny day? Recently, I was drinking my coffee in the morning and using my iPhone to check appointments for the day. I heard on the radio that it was going to be 90 degrees by mid-day. When I checked my emails, I saw that a meeting after lunch was rescheduled... so I started thinking about that 90 degrees and remembered that one of our local beaches in Half Moon Bay, California had a very good wireless data signal from AT&T (seriously, don't laugh).Read More
A few years ago, I invested in an Apple iPad, an iPad case and a Bluetooth Keyboard to supplement my laptop. I've researched and tested over 200 iPad Apps so far. The following are my favorite Apps that help me get my job done in 18 key areas of our Business.Read More
Apple rolled out the new iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina in November 2013 and many of the reporters and analysts complained that there was nothing new or exciting in the new products. They questioned if Apple still had it....
Well, I beg to differ with them!
Here are five technology reasons why the new iPads are really HOT and why you should consider buying them.
- A7 CPU Chip - Specially designed by Apple. It's a new 64-bit processor. Only Mainframe computers and Engineering Workstations used this type of chip before this year. Prior to this 64-bit chip, all major tablets (and smartphones) had 32-bit chips or smaller. Why is this important? Starting in 2013, just about all the developers are writing and rewriting new Applications for this new 64-bit chip... allowing for much more powerful and larger tablet (and smartphone) applications for business and for personal use. In 2014, look for amazing new apps and new solutions that were never thought of before for a tablet.
- M7 Motion Chip - Specially designed by Apple. The M7 does two things: increase battery life (up to 10 hours) and add the ability to monitor and report internal sensors (It measures motion from your iPad by pulling data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass) and in the future external sensors (devices). In the next 3-5 years there's going to be an explosion of wearable computers, office sensors, home sensors, retail shopping sensors and sensor monitoring apps. Again, look for new exciting apps and solutions that never existed before... starting in 2014.
- Retina Screens - Both Tablets now have high-resolution screens to help see display information. Your ability to read text and see numbers on spreadsheets just improved. The iPad Mini Screen is bigger than most other similar sized tablets. It makes a big difference when reading web pages. You have less scrolling up and down while you view information.
- New Apple iWorks Apps - Apple's version of MS Office (Word, Excel & Powerpoint) are now Free with the purchase of any new Apple Tablet (or iPhone). iWorks (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) auto syncs with each Apple iPad, iPhone, Mac Computer and the Cloud Storage (iCloud). The user interface for iWorks Apps is wonderful. The iWorks Apps are not perfect... but a great addition to the iPad world.
- Weight, Size & Feel - The weight and size was dramatically reduced in the iPad Air. You just have to pick the iPads up and use them to truly understand the improvement. There are lots of great tablets out in the marketplace. However, when you pick up and feel an iPad there's just something just different about the whole experience. Try it!
The new technology in both these Apple tablets should be good for the next 3-5 years. Overall, a very smart business or personal investment.
Note: This article is only focused on the new Apple iPad technology. We do not try to compare the iPad with the other tablets.
Photo credits: Apple
If you're planning on buying a new iPad, you have to decide which size works best for you and your business.
The good news is that both the iPad Air (10") and the iPad Mini Retina (8") have the latest technology in the tablet industry and are rated very high by most of the industry reviewers.
Below are Top 10 Tips for selecting an iPad, a description of my ideal iPad and some Final Tips when considering buying an iPad.
Top 10 Tips for Selecting an iPad Air (10") or iPad Mini (8") Retina
- Hands - If you have big hands, you may be more comfortable using the iPad Air for typing and for touching icons and screen links.
- Eyes - There's good news and bad news... the iPad Air and the iPad Mini Retina have the same screen resolution. That means that type, icons and just about everything will appear smaller and sharper on the iPad Mini. If you have a hard time seeing or need reading glasses, you should really test both the iPads before purchasing a tablet.
- Travel & Commuting - The iPad Mini Retina is ideal for any type of personal and business travel. It just goes everywhere. Plus you can do all your reading, watch movies and listen to music during your travels. Many people say that if you travel with a laptop, you should buy an iPad Mini. Some people are buying an iPad Air for the Office or Home and an iPad Mini with Retina for Commuting and Traveling.
- How Will You Carry the iPad - Key Question. Do you have something to carry an iPad? If it is going into a woman's purse or a man's small "European case", the iPad mini is a no-brainer. If you carry a business case or messenger bag, then the iPad Air will work fine.
- Video and Photo Editing - The bigger the screen the better when it comes to editing photos and videos? Enough said.
- Hours Working on the iPad - The longer you work on an iPad the more you will want (and need) a bigger screen. The iPad Air is the one to buy.
- Watching Training Videos or Movies - Either iPad works well. The iPad Mini with Retina is now extremely sharp and clear so you don't strain your eyes watching a smaller screen.
- Reading eBooks, Comics and Magazines - Either works. The iPad Mini size is more like reading a paperback book.
- Work with Spreadsheets, Writing and Small Group Presentations - The bigger the better in screen size. Buy the iPad Air. Note: Either iPad (or an iPhone) can be plugged into a standard projector and used to make presentations (with the Free Keynote Presentation App).
- Games - You need entertainment during your work breaks. The iPad Mini with Retina screen and a super-fast 64-bit processor is the perfect size for gaming.
My Ideal iPad
If I was going to buy a new iPad, I would order the following:
- 32-GBs of Memory - You need to think 4-5 years of useful life with the iPads. They are incredibly built and they have the newest 64-bit chips that will be used for all future apps during the next 5 years. If you travel, you want space for video rentals, photos and videos.
- Cellular (ATT, Verizon or T-Mobile) - Most people at some time will be away from WiFi and need Cellular Data Services. The new 4G LTE Technology is going to be around for the next 5-10 years. Also, note that WiFi only iPads do NOT have GPS Mapping functions.
- Apple Extended Support and Warranty - Apple also has special business programs to help you save money on services and support. Visit the Apple Stores and ask for a Business Specialist to learn more.
- Case / Cover - You need to protect your investments.
- Bluetooth Keyboard - Sometimes you just need a real keyboard for major projects. The bluetooth keyboards work great and increases the typing speed for most people.
- We don't recommend buying an iPad 2 anymore for business, unless there is a very specific application. The memory size is limited to 16GBs and may not be enough memory for new and upgraded applications over the next 3-5 years. In addition, the plug/adapter uses the old Apple standard and NO future accessories will be made for it.
- The weight is less of an issue when comparing the iPad Air and the iPad Mini Retina. The key is to decide on the size of the screen, not the weight as much.
- The iPad Mini - NON Retina is still for sale. However, Apple limits the memory to only 16GBs. Before buying iPad Minis for the office, evaluate its use of the next 3-5 years.
Photo Credits: Apple Media
Please contact us if you have any questions or need additional advice with your specific business situation.
In 2013, there is a much larger opportunity than in the last few years for non-technology oriented Small Businesses to implement the latest technology. All of them will help you increase your sales and/or reduce your costs. In addition, technology prices have dropped like a rock and they are so much easier to use (and learn) than ever before. This article was written for the non-technical owner or manager of a Home or Small Business.
Here are the 10 Key Small Business Trends:
Marketing Videos are being Added to Websites to Increase Sales Leads These days, most prospects want to watch a short 30- to 90-second video about your products or services on your website. Many don't have time to read a long white paper or product description during their first visit to your site. You can thank the use of YouTube and Smartphones for this change. The good news is that the cost of creating videos has dramatically gone down in the last few years. You can create them yourself or hire professionals to publish them. This will reduce your cost of Sales and Marketing and increase the number of your Sales / Marketing Presentations to prospects over the next 12 months.
Lead Nurturing Programs are Increasing Sales Prospects while Reducing the Cost of the Lead Process Send (or Scan) all Leads including: Trade Show Leads, Business Cards and Paper Lead Forms into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System or a dedicated "Marketing Automation" system. You can then use "Lead Nurturing" Campaigns to better qualify sales leads before sending them to expensive outside Sales / Account Managers. Sales and Marketing Productivity both go up.
Smartphones are Replacing Basic (Feature) Phones I know many Small Business Owners don't believe this. However, a Smartphone is NOT a "Nice to Have" product anymore. It is a "Need to Have" It's simple... If your competition have Smartphones and you don't, you will be less responsive to your customers and you will lose sales over time. Thanks to eMail, Texting, Instant Messaging, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, you need to respond to your sales prospects and customers much faster than even two years ago. You can also use a Smartphone to process credit card orders in the field. There are several companies that provide Free Apps and Credit Card Readers. Smartphones let you and your employees respond to Customers, Partners, Managers and Prospects as quickly as your Competition... or faster.
Social Marketing is Reducing Telemarketing & List Buying Costs If you are still only using Telemarketing, Buying Cold Call Lists and Sending Paper Mailers, you are missing a lot of sales prospects, spending more money than the competition and falling behind in productivity. If you outsource your telemarketing overseas to save money, you very likely have other issues. Your "under 40" prospects, don't talk as much on the phone as before. It's time to start learning and testing Social Networking... yes Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs and more....
Small Business Applications are Moving from old Client / Servers to Web or "Cloud Computing" If you need to replace or upgrade an old application or computer system this year, you should seriously consider replacing the application with a cloud computing application. The new Cloud Apps are designed to work with the new Smartphones and Tablets. Sales Leads are delivered real-time to your Sales Teams and Channel Partners which will increase the number of sales contacts per day. As a small business, you can also save significant money over the next three years by moving to this newer technology. You can usually reduce your start-up, training and conversion costs for employees. If you are new to Cloud Computing, this article and video should help explain this basics: ABC News Brief Article: "What is the Cloud?" YouTube Short Video: Computer Basics: What is the Cloud?
Web Training Programs will Increase the Professional Skills of your Employees Technology is rapidly changing almost all industries. Some companies are being turned upside down due to these changes. You need to help your people keep up (and get ahead) of all the changes.... or you may NOT be in business in the future. Web-based Training is ideal for remote sales teams working out of their homes or small offices. Affordable Web-based training can now keep your costs down, your peoples' skills up and improve sales productivity.
Web-based Meetings/Events Increase the number of Sales Calls, Demos & Seminars per month Web-based Meetings and Event technology is now used by most larger companies on a daily basis. The cost of Web-based Meetings and Events has dramatically decreased and Small Businesses can now take advantage of this technology. It also reduces their cost of sales significantly. ROI is in months, not years.
iPads are Increasing Sales Productivity A dirty little secret is that many Sales Reps still leave their laptops at home, in the hotel room or in the trunk of a car when they make sales calls. The Tablet is replacing the need to carry around a laptop for everyone. Tablets also lower the cost of training remote staff and laptop maintenance. I recently traveled to Europe for two weeks with an Apple iPhone, iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. It's the first time I ever traveled without my laptop and I never missed it for a minute. One strategy is to keep your old desktops and laptops for another year. Invest in new tablets for your key people this year and run pilot tests on how to improve productivity.
Web Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is Replacing Old PC and Client Server CRM The modern Web-based CRM Systems were developed for the Web / Cloud and Mobile Apps. Older systems just do not work as well with the new Smartphones and Tablets. This increases your maintenance costs and many of the real-time updates are just not available to your employees.
Evaluate Replacing or Supplementing MS Office with Google Office to Reduce Costs & Improve Collaboration Most employees only use 10-25% of the features in Microsoft Office. As more Applications are moving to the Web / Cloud, there is less and less need to buy and upgrade expensive Microsoft Office Applications for everyone in the company. Note: Google Office is less polished and has fewer features when compared to Microsoft Office. Many Small Businesses are moving to Google Office (@ $50 per person per year) or Zoho Office or other solutions to save money, and improve staff, client and partner collaboration.
If you have any questions or comments, please give us a call @or comment in the field below.
Image above courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Please share your comments below on any other key trends that you think are important in 2013.
When you run a Small Business you are always looking for ways to improve productivity by saving time and money. Our last article on "18 Tips for using an iPad in a Small Business" focused on finding the top iPad Apps. After you use an iPad for a day or two, you quickly begin asking yourself... "How can I print from my iPad?" Here's the good news. After much research, we found a very easy way to print from an iPad for under $20.
There are a three good options for printing from an iPad:
1. Buy a new Printer that works with Apple iPad AirPrint
2. Transfer your data to a PC or Mac and then print from there.
3. Buy "Printer Apps" that are compatible with Apple AirPrint technology and will let you print on most existing printers in the office
Here are the Details.........
Option 1. Buy a New Printer You can print from an iPad on almost all the new Hewlett-Packard (HP) Printers and a few Epson Printers support Apple Airprint. Prices run from $100 to $300, plus the cost of any extended maintenance contract. Tip: Plan on extra time to evaluate, select, purchase, install, test, check printer drivers for the new printer and recycle the old printer. Click to see a list of the top printers that work with iPad Apple AirPrint technology.
Option 2. Transfer your data to your PC or Mac and then print from there. Here are two good options for transferring the files from the iPad to a PC or Mac.
- Use iTunes App (Free): You can sync an iPad with your PC or Mac using iTunes. After the sync is completed you can find the file on your PC or Mac and print it like any other file.
- Use the DropBox App (there is a Free version): If you use the DropBox App on your iPad, PC and Mac, you can just save a file in the iPad Dropbox Folder and then go to your PC or Mac and print the file. The iPad App that created the page or file you want to print must be compatible with Dropbox. You can look this up on dropbox.com
Option 3. Buy a Printer App (NOT a new Printer) for your PC or Mac (Our Favorite - We Did This) After doing a lot of research, we found a printer App for our PCs and one for our Apple Macs. Here's what you need to do.
First install the appropriate printer app on any relatively new PC or Mac that is connected to an inkjet or laser printer. Then make sure you have a WiFi Wireless Network turned on in the office (or home). Get the network Password... You'll need to enter the password in the printer software settings. That's it... you're done! Now anyone in the office (or home) that has an iPhone, iPad, iPod or Touch can print. It is amazing to watch... and it just works. Here are the two Apps we use and recomend:
- Printopia - by ecamm Network: Works on the Mac only and costs $20
- FingerPrint - by Collobos: Works on a PC or Mac and costs $10
Hope this helps. We have not had any problems with both of these Apps since they've been installed.
Please add your comments for any other Wireless iPad Printing Options that work for you (and you would recommend to a family member) :)
Give us a call @ 650-866-5517 or feel free to contact us to discuss how you can use the latest mobile technology to boost sales in your Small Business.
Question: Should I buy iPad Tablets for my Small Business? ...or another manufacturer's Tablets?
Answer: This is an easy answer - YES!. For now, you should buy an iPad Tablet! In 2011, 85-90% of all Tablets sold are Apple iPads. They own the market.
However, there are a few exceptions that you should check out:
- If you just hate Apple and Apple products, buy the Samsung Android 10" Tablet. Do not buy the Motorola Tablets...yet.
- If you love RIM (Blackberry Smartphones), you should look at the RIM Tablet... and wait until next year for the new model.
- If you love HP (or the old Palm), sorry... as of 8/18/2011 HP cancelled the product line. Look at the Samsung Android Tablets.
- If you love Google (Android), you should buy the Samsung 10" Tablet. It is the best product next to the Apple iPad.
- If you are Tech Nerd or Geek, you should buy the Samsung 10" Tablet.... but first look at the Apple iPad. You maybe very surprised.
- If you love the Amazon (Kindle eBook Reader), you could buy the new Amazon Kindle 7" Fire Tablet...or you may want to wait until Q2 2012 to see if Amazon comes out with a new 10" Tablet. The 10" Tablet is expected to be a much better product than the 1st 7" Tablet announced in September 2011.
That's about it!
Top 5 reasons for buying the iPad (over other Tablets) for your Small Business:
- The Easy of Use & User Interface is so much better than all the other Tablets - Greatly Reduces Your Training and Support Costs
- There are significantly more applications that can make your people much more productive when working.
- Boost Employee Morale (and Productivity) - This is one of the few products that greatly improves productivity and employee morale at the same time.
- Better Security - The iPad App Store is a closed system that greatly reduces the potential for applications with viruses.
- In our experience, the Apple Store is a great place for FREE help. The AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Best Buy Stores are not much help.
We purchased the Apple iPad to test in May 2011. The bottom line is that it's one of the most useful business products we have ever used.
In 2012, there will be another round of new Tablet products that should dramatically expand the alternatives for Small Business tablets. However, for now, the new iPad is the superior product according to almost all top analysts.
Please contact us if you have any questions, need more info... or just reply with a comment below.