iPad Pro – best WFH device of the Covid era

A friend of mine watched a YouTube video I created to explain a new paradigm of the Work From Home ecosystem emerging in the Covid era. He then asked me to send him the Apps I use for work. In reply, I wrote him the guidelines below. I thought this might be useful for more people. (If you’re interested, you need to watch the video first.)

Following are my work Apps:

Zoom – everyone knows zoom

Screencast-o-magic – great to record yourself as you navigate through the iPad. Great to send explanations or tutorials. Great to show and explain data as well. Creates a video.

Loom – a simple video log (vlog) tool. Instead of sending an email or text, you can just send a loom.

Mail – is mail (good alternatives are Spark and Spyke).

Workplace (by Facebook) – the ‘new Yammer’ but much more advanced than Yammer. It has all the functionality of Facebook including live streaming. It also integrates with Workchat (similar as Facebook and Messenger).

Workchat – the chatting companion to Workplace. You can chat with individuals, with random groups of individuals or with Groups that you create in Workplace.

Lucidchart – the best diagraming tool. Way easier to use than Visio. Integrates with Box.

Pages – the iWorks tool that’s simpler and easier to use than Word.

Keynote – the most friendly slide presentation app in the world. If you are trying to repeat your PowerPoint habits in Keynote, you will struggle for a few days. You need to abandon those habits. PowerPoint is clunky, jerky, full of menus and icons. Keynote only has two buttons: format and +. The animation capabilities in Keynote are both easy and powerful. Animation movements are more fun and creative than PowerPoint. You can export a presentation as a video or each slide as a picture into Photos. I use Keynote combined with LumaFusion for all my videos.

Numbers – same as Pages but for spreadsheets. A good alternative to Excel. I usually use Excel but Numbers (iWorks) is free.

Excel – when spreadsheets are very complex or contain pivot tables. Excel is not free.

Tableau – best data visualization technology for the Enterprise.

Asana – best thing I discovered in recent years. It’s in the same family as Trello but much more scalable. It’s an excellent Work Management tool from a new generation of tools that are far easier to use than things like MS Project or Sciforma, which are from a generation that began in the 80’s. Asana is great because teams plan and then they collaborate (instead of Workplace) within those tasks. Excellent for multi-project environments. Provides birds’ eye views of multiple projects for Senior Managers. It’s really cool.

LumaFusion – really comprehensive video editing tool. As good as anything on Windows or Mac. Luma is a paid subscription but it comes with a Library of millions of video footage, video backgrounds, background music, FX sounds and others that make video composition easy when you’re trying to tell a story (the YouTube video mentioned above was made with LumaFusion).

Photos – this is an essential App. It’s where all the pictures and clips you take with your iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) go. This is where I send slides and videos from Keynote to then pickup in LumaFusion. Photos also have good photo/video editing features but for individual objects. To assemble many objects onto a movie, you need Luma.

Safari – the standard browser. Sometimes I also use Chrome but Safari works better in the ecosystem in my video.

iMessage – for texting outside my work environment.

Files – this is a priceless app. You can easily move files around between different storage technologies, including iCloud Drive, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Dropbox and even file servers in an office LAN 🤢). I do most of my work with Box but sometimes with iCloud Drive as well.

Box – is Box.com – a content storage technology that is extremely simple to use, no setup, it’s not part of a suite (like Sharepoint or Drive), extremely capable for enterprise, including security, compliance, retention policies, etc. But, most importantly, it plays ‘nice’ with every app in the iPadOS ecosystem, through the “share button”.

Notability – you can’t beat this app for note taking, especially if you have an Apple Pencil (which you must, with an iPad. Not having the Pencil is a tragedy 🎭). This app is great to take notes, handwritten or typed and is also great for commenting on PDF’s. Here’s the thing: from many other apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote, Mail, Outlook – you can share (share button) content to Notability and that content will appear in Notability as a Note document (same as PDF). You can then go inside the app and overlay comments, sketches, markups, highlights -what have you. And then, you can send (share button again) the content in Notability as a PDF document. Cool, huh?

Flipboard – a news aggregator. It’s through this app that I do my research and keep up to date on developments in technology and business. It’s through Flipboard that, since 2010, I discovered Big Data, Cloud Services, Social Tools, Visualization, Predictive Analytics, the penetration of AI in enterprise, most of the apps described above, blockchain, 3D printing, Agile and Agile organizations, Gene-cell therapies, mRNA pharmaceuticals, CRISP and CRISP derived inventions, continuous manufacturing, nano technology applications and the evolution of the ecosystem in my video that has evolved from the COVID crisis.

But, remember: if you look at each app individually, you’re missing the point! You need to think of the ECOSYSTEM. The power of this environment and what makes it superbly productive is the way they can be combined multiple ways, primarily through the Share button in iPadOS – as explained in my video. Some people compare each App with Apps in the Microsoft world – that’s wrong. Only other Apps from the iPadOS universe that play nice with other apps through Share, can be considered. Period.

P.S. – if you need to access legacy enterprise systems that only work through Windows (e.g. SAP ECC, LIMS), there are easy ways to do it from the iPad (e.g, using virtual desktops in Azure or AWS).

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