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Is an iPad a must-have for your business ?

01 Oct 2010

If you are a self-confessed geek, or a ‘toy boy’, you probably already have an iPad sitting. But if your budget has other priorities, you may well be waiting for some killer business applications to arrive before shelling out $800. We’ve done some homework for you, gathering a general picture of which business applications help justify your purchase and turn this new toy into a tool that adds value to your business. We also identified two New Zealand companies who have created applications that can add real value.

VendHQ: 30-day free trial, then monthly pricing from $29 per month – $99 per month.

Our first local hero is Vaughan Rowsell of VendHQ, who has released an iPad version of the cloudbased point of sale system for bricks and mortar retailers. The POS runs in a web browser, using the latest features of HTML5 including offline storage, enabling VendHQ to run online and offline, and connect with barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers and EFTPOS terminals.

Having this app on your iPad could benefit retailers who also run market stalls, mobile coffee stands, or have product being sold from multiple locations. Staff don’t need to be tied to a cash register; they can simply use the iPad for all sales transactions, even without a wi-fi or mobile data connection.

In the wake of the Canterbury earthquake, VendHQ is offering all Christchurch retailers affected by the quake a three-month free subscription and support running their POS even if their usual system is disabled. For more information, visit

Air Forms from Polar Bear Farms

Still in the pre-release stage, New Zealand’s first iPhone app development company is working on Air Forms – the perfect digital replacement to the paper form and clipboard.

Air Forms allows you to easily create new tools – for invoicing, job tracking, mobile sales or other tasks that may be unique to your business.

If you are interested in Air Forms for your business, sign up here. It was released in November 2010.

Other Business iPad Apps

1. Apple’s iWork Suite – $13.99 each via iTunes. Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentations).

2. Evernote – Free. A photo, audio, video and text syncing tool. Assign documents or files with tags for easy collection and organisation. The Evernote iPad app syncs with your Evernote apps and the cloud.

3. WebEx – This free app enables two-way audio function or chat for online business meetings. You don’t need a WebEx subscription to join a meeting, but you do need one to schedule a meeting.

4. Bento – $6.49 from iTunes. This is a database app for small business owners. Aimed at home or small business users with 25 built-in templates, covering everything from event planning to inventory and expenses. Syncs with Bento on your Mac.

5. Things – $24.99 from iTunes. Cultured Code’s Things is one of the top task managers for Mac OS X. Creating to-do lists and managing tasks and projects is easy, and you can sync wirelessly with Things for Mac.

6. Tweetdeck for iPad – Free. The familiar Twitter management tool works well on the iPad. The multi-column format makes it easy to monitor friends’ tweets, DMs, replies and saved searches.

7. Good Reader – $1.29 on iTunes. What makes Good Reader special is that it can view local files including PDF, Word, Excel, PNG, TXT, JPEG and more, and you can download files from a URL or connect to a web server. It handles large files very well and connects to Google Docs for offline reading or easy editing.

8. Time Master + Billing – $13.99 on iTunes. Time Master allows you to set timers, or just enter time spent, allocate hours to clients, and break down into projects or custom definitions.

Karen Brown is a marketing consultant for hairyLemon, a Christchurch-based company specialising in web and graphic design, marketing and promotion.

For more info visit

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