Apple iPad

The iPad 2 is the very image of modern technological business mastery: combining ideas, information, productivity, communication, then making a lot of money, then doing it all again but even better. Waving a touchscreen around instead of clunky computer is the fantasy of being a mover and a shaker instead of a sitter and a typer, and you can turn it into a reality. We’ve found six iPad productivity apps which turn this touchscreen from a toy into a touchstone — everything you need to guide a project from flash of inspiration to finished product.

Ideaboards1. Idea Boards

$1.99

The first thing you need is an idea, and no matter how formal your office creativity simply will not sit still in an Excel spreadsheet. You need to doodle ideas until one of them is worthy of that name, or at least organize your thoughts until you can share them with others. The humble scrap of paper has always served this function, or the napkin should inspiration strike just after a drink (as it so often does), but they end up looking terrible if even a single correction is needed. And if you don’t need even one correction in a brand new idea, you’re lying.

Ideaboards Screen

This idea, for example, needs many corrections. All of them, in fact.

The Idea Board provides a customizable, fast, and fun sketching area to save thoughts somewhere you won’t lose them in your back pocket, under some spare change, before a pen leaks on them.

iThoughtsHD2. iThoughtsHD

$9.99

You might be the one with the plan (we’ve sacrificed rhyming in favor of not being sexist), but blurting out your great new idea at a meeting is a sure way to get it shot down. And laughed at. You need to deal with some details before you can convince others, which is where mind-mapping software comes in. While sketchpads are good for big pictures, mind-maps let you work out what each step requires and see if the necessary sequence of events is possible in your company. Or universe.

iThoughts HD Screen

iThoughts HD Screen

A quick mind-map can save you from making impossible demands, and isolate key areas of a project before you commit yourself to impossible tasks.

Priority Matrix3. Priority Matrix

$3.99

So now you have a brand new plan in actionable detail. Congratulations, it turns out that was the easy part! Now you actually have to action all those details, and if you’re even remotely living in the real world you’ll find that the standard 24-hour day seems to be a few sets of 60 minutes short for your purposes. In modern collaborations the simple “write them all in a list and do them one at a time” approach can cause critical delays, or worse, wastes of time, which is what makes Priority Matrix such an excellent app.

Priority Matrix Screen

You have no idea how good clicking that red option feels

The Priority Matrix is a drag and drop 2-D To-Do list, turning the act of planning into part of the solution — cunningly forcing you to think about how essential every item is as you schedule it. No more doing the easy task instead of the essential one on the empty rationalization that “It has to be done sometime!” Yes, it does, but no, that time is not now.

4. Mighty Meeting

Free

Never mind the elevator pitch, this is the anywhere pitch. The best laid plans of mice and men might often go awry, but it’s usually because no-one else cares. And it doesn’t bother the mice so much. You need to convince others that your project is the one to watch, or at least support, and Might Meeting means you’re always armed to prove it. By sharing files and presentations wirelessly across all your devices, you’re always ready to show your stuff in any meeting — and without looking incompetent as you fiddle with a laptop port.

Mighty Meeting Screen

Mighty Meeting Screen

WebEx5. WebEx

Free

WebEx, for when you can’t make the meeting — but you still can. Remote attendance on an iPad is the very latest in “Looking like Blofeld and Tony Stark at the same time.” WebEx allows people to attend meetings remotely by iPad or iPhone, and the more screenspace you have, the better. With a full iPad 2 to play with you can watch the presentation, keep an eye on other attendees reactions (without the embarrassment of staring directly at them in person), and even see who else is connecting from desktops or portable computers.

WebEx In Action

WebEx In Action

6. OmniFocus

$39.99

You’ve planned the project, you’ve covered every contingency, you’ve sold it in some meetings and promised it in others — now you just have to do it. Easy! Or at least, it will be easy if don’t drop the planning and productivity ball at the final hurdle. OmniFocus is your personal master calendar for everything in work and play, making sure you’ll never miss another deadline — or even have to call them deadlines, as the weeks of well-planned warnings you’ve got will make them more gently lifelines to finishing on time.

OmniFocus Screen

OmniFocus Screen

Image credit: duckycards / iStockphoto

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