5 Awesome iPad Productivity Tools for Under $5

Do you take notes in meetings? Get people to sign electronic documents? Write long missives? These economical and under-the-radar productivity apps will make your job a little easier.

Fri, March 25, 2011

CIO — With lines still forming daily outside major Apple (AAPL) stores, it's easy to view the iPad as a multi-media juggernaut attracting mass consumers like moths to a flame. After all, no one in their right minds would be this excited over, say, a tool for getting work done.

Well, you'd be three-quarters right.

Forrester Research (FORR) released results of a survey of 2,300 IT executives this week that found one out of four companies using or planning to use tablets. Signs show CIOs are warming to the iPad and drafting formal adoption policies. Meanwhile, employees are bringing their iPads to work.

[ Considering the iPad 2? Check out 15 best iPad apps for newbies, reports CIO.com. ]

The bottom line: The iPad isn't just for consumer-driven entertainment—people also want iPads so they can be more productive. Already great iPad productivity tools have emerged, chief among them, Quickoffice and Dropbox. Some apps straddle work-life balance, such as Evernote, which can be used to take both personal and business notes and voice memos.

Then there are a few cool iPad productivity apps that you've probably never heard of. Here are five under $5 that will be a great help to most companies and their workers:


Imagine you're a salesperson with an iPad making a pitch to a client. With DocuSign, you can hand your iPad to your client so that he can review his order and you can close the deal on the spot. The customer can electronically sign an order using their finger on the iPad via DocuSign on the mobile Safari browser.

The iPad can blow open the doors for signing everything from sales orders to real estate forms electronically. DocuSign currently claims more than 6 million users of its cloud-based service, many of whom work in Fortune 500 companies.

Last fall, DocuSign came out with a free iPad app for managing documents that need to be signed. With the iPad 2, the app lets users take a picture of a document so that it can be electronically signed. There's also a geo-location feature built into the app that records the location of a signing for audit purposes.

iA Writer

At some point, most everyone needs to write a lengthy document—if not the great American novel, then a report, memo or other directives. If you need to write something longer than a 140-character Tweet, use the iPad app that most writers prefer, iA Writer ($1).

iA Writer strips all the frills of formatting and word processing and lets you focus on the words in standard Courier type (think: typewriter). The virtual keyboard is set up to make common punctuation easy without having to switch to the symbols keyboard. Arrow keys help you navigate around the document.

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