iPads and tablets have made their way into our digital culture in record time. Not only are we playing games and reading books on iPads, they’re also helping us to be more productive at work. Email, calendars, apps, and integration with various business productivity suites have made the iPad an effective tool for business owners.

If your business is in the market for some new gadgets, or if you’re considering upgrades to your laptops or netbooks, consider the iPad in your hardware acquisition process. In fact, the following article provides some compelling reasons as to why you should buy an iPad for your business.

The Benefits of iPad Mobility

When you’re moving from meeting to meeting, or heading out of town on business, it can be a bit of a challenge to cart around your laptop, power cord, mouse, and so on. With an iPad, you can get up to 10 hours of battery life, so you can consider leaving bulky power cords at home. Migrating data from your desktop computer to your iPad is much easier now with the latest iOS upgrade.

Most webmail services, such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail are integrated with iPad’s email feature. Microsoft Exchange email integration also comes standard. Your calendar is also easy to access from your iPad. Microsoft Exchange and Gmail will work with iPad’s native calendar app. Other web applications, such as Yahoo, have apps you can use to access your calendar on the go.

One of the other key business uses for the iPad is its integration with Apple’s iWork software suite. Even if you’re a PC user, iWork applications like Keynote and Pages will integrate with presentations and documents you’ve created with PowerPoint and Word. Alternatively, all the documentation you’ve created on your iPad can be easily synched with your Mac or PC for editing.

Another useful feature for iPad users on the go is the ability to sync your bookmarks from Safari on your computer to Safari on your iPad. Instead of hunting around for important links you may need for presentations, you can manage your bookmark lists from your iPad and access them when you’re at a meeting.

The Benefits of iPad as a Retail Tool

Enhance the in-store experience and bring sales supporting information to customers by integrating iPads into your retail space. For example, Apple retail stores use their iPads to display product information, product comparisons, and the ability to get the attention of an Apple employee should you need assistance. You may even want to allow customers to browse your entire catalog from iPads docked at key points around your store.

An iPad can also be a valuable as a data entry tool for customers. Most people are naturally curious or interested in the iPad, and it’s intuitive interface makes it easy to use. iPads allow customers to enter contests, sign up for newsletters, or submit feedback easily.

Obviously, a big part of retail is sales, and you can really improve customer service by making the point of sale a little more flexible. Your associates can be out on the sales floor servicing customers and ringing up orders right on the spot. There are a number of point-of-sale apps for iPad that you can integrate into your business. Square is one of the more widely used apps for purchasing. With an additional peripheral for your iPad to swipe credit and debit cards, your employees can be more flexible and productive than ever.

Have you integrated iPads into your business? Please share your experiences and tips in the comments below. 

[Image credits: MIKI YoshihitoGary Hayes, Matthew Ingram]