4 tips (and a hack) to make your iPad work-worthy

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Reading Darrell’s recent post 7 iPad Habits of Highly Effective Remote Workers prompted me to look more closely at how I can really do work on my iPad.

I have to admit, I’m still not convinced that the iPad will be my laptop replacement. However, with the help of the Apple wireless keyboard and some other peripherals and apps, it can come close. Here are some tips to make your iPad work-worthy.

1. Make audio calls via VoiP. Audio calls via Skype on the iPad work like a dream. Just plug in the earbuds that you usually use for your iPhone, fire up the Skype app and make your audio calls. There are other VoiP apps that will work on the iPad without charging fees, such as Viber, but they require that the other person also has the same software on her device. You can even use Google Voice on the iPad,  albeit with a little extra elbow grease.

2. Editing images and video. You can get digital photos and videos directly from your cameras using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, which comes with a USB adapter and SD Card Reader. I was a little skeptical about using the iPad touchscreen for editing images, but after downloading and trying the free PhotoPad by ZAGG, I’ve found it makes it fairly easy to manipulate images, including color and contrast adjustments, rotating and sizing, adding color fills, and even treating images with filters. You can also get Adobe Photoshop Express for free if you’re already familiar with Photoshop.

For video, an app like Splice can help you do some basic video editing (including combining photos and video) for free, or there’s Splice Pro for $1.99. For more editing oomph, you can go for iMovie for $4.99, although it requires a front-facing camera on your device (so iPad 2, iPhone 4 or 4th-generation iPod touch only).

3. Recording voice memos and podcasts. There are a variety of voice memo–recording solutions you can use on your iPad using its built-in microphone, including Voice Memos for iPad by KendiTech, which is similar to the Voice Memos app on the iPhone. For 99 cents, you get the basic version; for an additional 99 cents via an in-app purchase, you get the ability to trim your memos, email memos and download to your computer via USB. The export button makes your memos available via iTunes File Sharing. QuickVoice is another iPad option to record and email audio clips up to 5 MB in size for free. The $2.99 to upgrade to QuickVoice Pro can handle up to 20 MB clips. You can record and export audio clips via iTunes for free using iRecorder voice memos.

If you want more editing features, try GarageBand ($4.99). Although it features instruments, you can use it for podcasting as well.

Here’s a little voice recording hack I learned from a fellow podcaster: You can use the Camera Connection Kit and USB adapter to plug in a lightweight USB microphone to your iPad to increase the quality of your voice recordings. Using a USB mic also helps to cut down on background noise that the built-in iPad mic might pick up.

When I tried to use my high-end Rode Podcaster microphone, my iPad told me it required too much power, so it did not work. But when I plugged in the Konami microphone from my Wii Glee Karaoke game, it worked pretty well. A quick search online reveals that some podcasters use the Blue Microphone Yeti with their iPads.

3. Powering slide presentations. If you’re looking to connect your iPad (or iPhone or iPod) to a standard LCD projector or other VGA-compatible display, you can purchase the Apple VGA adaptor for $29. You can also opt to invest in a handy, super-portable projector, such as the MicroVision ShowWX Laser Pico Projector, starting around $199, or the Mili Pro 2.0 Projector, for around $369.95. To make sure that your PowerPoint presentations are easily accessible on your iPad, check out MightyMeeting, an app that I wrote about recently. Thanks to a recent update, you can also now control your Keynote slideshow presentations on the iPad using an iPhone or iPod touch.

4. Editing Microsoft Office docs. For an app that provides combined file storage with Microsoft Office document editing, check out Soonr, which I wrote about recently. Alternatively, you can also use other file storage/sync solutions, such as Dropbox and SugarSync, and combine them with editing apps like QuickOffice and Documents To Go to provide similar functionality.

What apps, peripherals and hacks have you tried to make your iPad work-worthy?

Image courtesy of stock.xchng user KillR-B

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