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Discussion Starter #1
My boss is after an iPad and he wants to use it mainly as a work tool where a laptop and charger is not convenient.

I think a 3G one is most suitable with the smallest memory (16GB I think).

Requirements are:

Full Email/public folder access from an Exchange Server (SBS 2003)
VPN connection to the SBS server
Map network drives from the SBS to access files/data etc
Open, edit, print documents (all MS Office)

Can an iPad do all this out of the box or would we need third party apps (I expect so for opening MS Office docs)?

Cheers,
Jack
 

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Hi,

Conceptually an ipad does not fit the usage you have stated as that fits how someone would work with a laptop, an iPad is a companion device that gives rapid access to business information but i would never replace a laptop with one.

Ipads have no concept of a file system so you cannot browse file shares in a traditional manner, personally to enable the speedy disemination of data stored in files in my company we use SharePoint with the SharePointPlus app. This gives the capability to browse SharePoint document libraries, view and edit files that reside within them. This is the easiest and most fluid way of working with documents on an iPad in my opinion because of the nature of how an iPad is used.

You can get an app for accessing exchange public folders over outlook web access, there are wireless printing capabiities but this will depend on your hardware and network capabilities.

What the iPad is good at is providing instant on access to email, calendaring and the web, working on an ipad is very different to working on a laptop and if your boss isnt a big fan of changing how he works then it may not be the right tool for the job.

I've implemented 20 iPads in my company used by directors, account managers, senior team leaders and and they all use them in different ways.

I could type for hours about this but im off to the pub so if you have any other questions just ask and ill get back to you later ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks GD.
So, if I was to use Sharepoint on the SBS and place all our files upon it (don't know how practical this is as not used Sharepoint before) can the iPad open MS Office files?

If I did not use Sharepoint, what would I use and how do I make the VPN connection to the server?

Public folder access is very important as is email (many folders) so glad there is an app.

Thanks again,
Jack
 

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Thanks GD.
So, if I was to use Sharepoint on the SBS and place all our files upon it (don't know how practical this is as not used Sharepoint before) can the iPad open MS Office files?

If I did not use Sharepoint, what would I use and how do I make the VPN connection to the server?

Public folder access is very important as is email (many folders) so glad there is an app.

Thanks again,
Jack
Personally i dont think there is any value in providing vpn access, through services like SharePoint and Outlook Web Access you can publish your business information for access from anywhere either via a web browser on the ipad or via apps that target the functionality you require.

What do you use public folders for? An alternative that Microsoft has been pushing for years are SharePoint Email enabled lists.

More info here

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/joelo/archive/2007/10/23/email-enabled-lists-and-inbound-email.aspx
 
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re MS Office compatibility.

There area number of apps out there which offer varying degrees of view/edit functionality for the iPad.

IMO the best by distance are Apples own Pages, Numbers and Keynote but even these have flaws and full compatibility is not guaranteed. It has been reported (with some credibility) that MS will be launching an iOS specific office suite later in 2012 which I imagine will sell like hot cakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I may have to look in to SharePoint a bit more then.
We are only a very small business but reply hugely on email communication (like any other business I guess).

We use public folders as correspondence between customers/colleagues/faculties all get placed in them so that all staff can see what has been done and the folders in which they are placed is very important.

With email access can you tell me what it is like when linking to an Exchange server? Does it have full functionality?

I went in to the Apple shop at Bluewater today to try and buy Snow Leopard (so i can upgrade to Lion with the App Store) and spoke to one of the many staff. He went a bit blank when I started reeling off the criteria so he stuck my details in to his iPhone so a Business contact can call me back to discuss all of the requirements.
 

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I woudnt put your focus on email, Exchange is a groupware server that provides calendaring, messaging, presence, contact management and a few other collaborative functions, many of these work on the iPad albeit through separate apps.

Apple worked with Microsoft to licence and develop code based on activesync technologies required for exchange synchronisation that are built in to iOS. I have been personally using exchange with iOS since the launch of iPhone 4 with exchange 2003 and exchange 2010 and it works brilliantly.

This is the app i use with sharepoint at work

http://www.shareplusapp.com/
 
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^^^ yep I'm on an Exchange server and email, calendar, contacts and tasks all work just fine using the built in mail, calendar, contacts and reminders apps in iOS5.
 

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GTleigh runs a "small" business & uses his iPad as a work tool to good effect. I'll make him aware of this thread so he can comment:)
 
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