Crossing over from PC to iPad as a second work unit is no sweat for millennials who do it on the fly. For seniors who are at the peak of their productive years, but unfortunately tech-challenged the learning curve is steeper. I used to be a true-blue Microsoft and PC fanatic; for late-bloomers like me, a graphical interface that didn’t require me to memorize and code was like winning the lotto.
It unleashed productivity and creativity, making me do more, better, and faster until a ton of versions, updates, viruses, bugs, and hacking issues cut short the honeymoon. Windows 10 was a challenge, making me hate Cortana (though I was in love with Alexa). The worst part was licensing software. After installing the OS, you find yourself unable to do anything even if the specs are high. PCs come bare and you do need to bring it to life at huge expense starting with the Office and Adobe productivity software. You probably need a video-editing app as well, since Youtube, Snap, Facebook, and Instagram are popular for communicating ideas and influencing buyers. We’ve tried to make the load easier by finding just the right programs that make shifting from the dear and familiar to the new and untried a breeze!
I was pleasantly surprised that the iPad was pre-loaded and productive straight from the factory. Aside from Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant, the smaller and practically bezel-less device lets you get down to business right away with the following installed apps:
- FaceTime – a video and audio conferencing app for the iPad and iPhone anywhere there is 4G or Wi-fi similar to Google Hangout and Skype.
- Calendar – works like Google Calendar except that you can be lazy and ask Siri to do it for you; information is stored in iCloud and can be sent in the mail as iMessage. The equivalent would be Google Cloud, the ubiquitous storage for photos, media, backup files, meetings and the like.
- Home – is an interesting feature and is like a command post for your smart devices,
- Videos – you don’t need to download another software to be able to store and watch video on your device,
- Maps – similar to Google Map and links to Yelp. This feature is handy for local searches;
- Contacts – wonderfully synch your phone so you can say goodbye to the tedious task of manually encoding numerous contacts (and erring in the process),
- Notes – is like Notepad on steroids because it supports photos, drawings, formatting, and can be shared with or edited by the other party. Think of it as a basic unit of ‘collaboration” whether you are making a shopping list or bouncing off ideas with project members.
- Clock – the iPad app keeps time, sets alarms and reminders just like in Windows PC or Androids. But the iPad has a little extra – it saves you the trouble of going to sites like World Time Buddy because it can tell the time in other time zones. No more missed appointments when traveling overseas or meeting online.
- News and Podcasts– soon you’ll be missing seeing Yahoo’s splash page because you can actually choose the news and topics that interest you
- iBooks, iTunes, and Photo Booth makes the iPad fun with a capital P, making it so easy to forget that it could be a workhorse too!
But for those keen on work and less on play, Files brings you closer to Window’s intuitive system while the iCloud enables you to keep and retrieve files (even large ones) easily and securely. Does it compete with Google Cloud? Not at all – it just increases your free storage space and enables you to control and work across devices effortlessly.
Two of the things I like best is the Mail app that has a universal view so that I could see all incoming mail from Yahoo, Gmail and the like and the Messenger app which allows me to send messages to anyone with an Apple device for free.
For those who are Microsoft fanatics and could not live without the Office Suite that includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Moviemaker, you don’t need to pay a cent to download these free and essential apps from the App Store. Here’s what you should get (if it has not been preloaded):
- Pages, the Word equivalent is not as professional or as sophisticated as its Microsoft version but it is a capable word processor with formatting options and comes with a lot of templates covering almost everything you’ll ever need for personal and business use. It supports embedding tables, photos, graphics, and graphs.
- Numbers, the Excel equivalent has about 25 templates and does a great job in displaying information visually. It allows you to import spreadsheets from, Microsoft Excel and has access to often-used formulas. If you are looking for a robust app, this may not be the “one”, but results look polished and professional.
- Keynote, the presentation app is the favorite in this suite because it comes very close to Microsoft Powerpoint’s functionality. iWork is the Apple analog to Microsoft’s Office Suite and consists of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. My verdict after taking it out for a spin – perfect!
You’ll probably find these other FREE tools indispensable once you get the hang of it:
- Liquid Text PDF Reader
- Mint (Personal Finance & Money)
- Calculator HD Pro Lite
- Adobe Photoshop Express
- Genius Scan – PDF Scanner
- Remember The Milk
- Flipboard (your own magazine)
Just as it has a suite for work, Apple also has suite for play. iLife consists of Garage Band, iMovie, and iPhoto.
- Garage Band – a music studio that works like the sound editor Audacity
- iMovie – it’s a far stretch from Adobe Premiere but has the same functionality as Microsoft’s Moviemaker.
For those who simply can’t gracefully crossover from a first love to these free apps, Microsoft Office and Outlook are also available as paid downloads. Complete your productivity by using various cloud services that are free to use and expandable to paid.