If you're new to the Apple iPad, there are a wealth of iOS apps designed for the tablet. Here are seven free business apps to experiment with, and to get you productive out of the gate:
*FileMaker Go 13, by FileMaker If you're a FileMaker Pro user on your PC or laptop, FileMaker Go lets you access these database apps from your iPad (note: the PC version is still needed to create, modify and sync your databases). Version 12 in 2013 was a big change: lots of new features and controls, improved multimedia capabilities, multitasking support, greatly improved speed, and available free for the first time.
Updated: Dec 18, 2013; Version: 13.0.2, Rating (74 users): 4+What's New: fixes for some graphics-related issues.
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*Fuze for iPad, by FuzeBox Software Fuze lets you start, host and manage online video conferences over cellular or Wi-Fi, with up to 12 HD streams, and share and annotate photos, slides and other content. There's also unlimited VoIP and 1GB of free cloud storage. Participants can join Fuze meetings without registering.
Updated: Jan 13, 2014; Version: 14.01.06094; Rating (668 users, all versions): 4+What's New: Bug fixes
*Mailbox, by Orchestra Mailbox currently supports Gmail and iCloud, with other email platforms "coming soon," according to the vendor. It's designed as a simple, minimalist, touch-friendly mobile inbox for all your Gmail accounts. It checks your email from the cloud, then securely delivers it to your iPad or iPhone. You can get push notifications for new messages. If you want "an uncluttered, low-maintenance e-mail client that will help keep your inbox organized and empty, Mailbox is the app for you," according to CNET's recent review.
Updated: Mar 11, 2014; Version: 1.7.4, Rating (214 users): 4+
*QlikView for iOS, by QlikTech QlikView for iOS is the iPad "front-end" to the QlikView business intelligence platform (there's a recent discussion thread on the platform at ITCentralStation). The QlikView apps run against live data on the backend. The newest iOS version, completely reworked for iOS 7, supports both online access for iPad users and, new, an offline mode that makes use of QlikView bookmarks and list-boxes. When you're offline, you can launch the apps, browse tabs and objects, scroll list boxes, etc.
Updated: Jan 28, 2014; Version: 2.0, Rating (21 users, all versions): 4+What's New: Updated with a completely reworked user interface optimized for iOS 7; overall stability and performance improvements; a bunch of new features.
*SignNow, by SignNow Like many great apps, SignNow does one thing really, really well. Use it to sign with your finger on the touchscreen any PDF, Word, and RTF document received via email, snapped with your iPad camera, or downloaded from Dropbox or other sources. The free version limits you to five signatures per month. One user posted: "Great for signing docs on the go. Love the option to scale & adjust signature. Great app."
Updated: Mar 26, 2014; Version: 4.5; Rating (6,602 users, all versions): 4+What's New: NetSuite integration; Minor bug fixes.
*Springpad, by Spring Partners Think of Springpad as a visual organizer for all kinds of stuff you find on the web, and it acts like a personal assistant to suggest or remind you of things based on the stuff you've saved. It's been seen as a rival to the more sophisticated, powerful Evernote. But Springpad has been moving in a different direction, says Lifehacker's Allan Henry, and there's a role for both on your iPad. It tries to save whatever you Webclip in the native format of whatever you're clipping. And based on what you save, Springpad can make suggestions about things to do or updated products to consider, for example.
iTunes.apple.com overview Updated: March 13, 2014; Version: 4.5.4; Rating (56 users): 4+What's New: Springpad Notebook Store, where you can find notebooks for all kinds of stuff. Choose "New Notebook" and tap "Check them out."
*Sunrise Calendar, by Sunrise Atelier Originally for iPhone, Sunrise has been adapted for iPad. It's a clean, clear, simple calendar app that integrates with Google Calendar, iCloud and now, finally, Microsoft Exchange Calendar, so you can connect your work calendars directly in Sunrise. It also integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google Maps: calendar entries can be linked to profiles and photos of the people you're meeting, or with maps and directions to guide you there. Check out Matt Brian's favorable review on Engadget.
iTunes.apple.com overview Updated: March 06, 2014; Version: 2.2, Rating (103 users): 4+What's New: support for Microsoft Exchange Calendar.
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This story, "7 free iPad business apps to get you started" was originally published by Network World.