Businessman talking on cellphone

The iPad 2 is even more suitable for business travelers than it is for Apple fans who love shiny white things, and that’s more suitable than an engaged man in a tuxedo store. The airport image of the businessmen bent over their laptops, pecking away at keys as they cluster around the only electrical outlet in the whole wing, is common. That’s common as in “often seen” and as in “looks low class and unimpressive.” The iPad 2 is infinitely preferable, advertising that you need access to information on the go but don’t have to type it up like a data entry clerk. We’ve found 7 applications for your smart, space-saving travel companion.

VMware View1. VMware View

Free

This PC-over-IP (PCoIP) program is literally everything the business traveler could need — a mobile connection to their office computer. The whole thing. Not a file copy, which still leaves you unable to even open most of your files, but a full virtual desktop connected to your home machine wherever you have Internet coverage.

VMware View Screen

VMware View Screen

Never forget that vital file again. Or worse, have it, but spend 20 minutes trying to open it in front of clients. Best of all? This lifesaver of an app is totally free.

CNBC Real-Time2. CNBC Real-Time

Free

You couldn’t be more in touch with business technology if you were Tony Stark, and if you watch the movies, he’s actually quite bad at the corporate part of things. The CNBC Real-Time app arms you with all the latest stock news, or a set of customized filters meaning you never lose touch with your investments.

CNBC Screen

CNBC Screen

And unlike every other thing connected with trades, it’s free.

Instapaper3. Instapaper

$4.99

Working as a business traveler means knowing all about the first word, but living with it is all about the second — the endless hours in airports, train stations, taxis, and unimpressive hotel rooms whose main benefit is “not outside in this nowhere town.” While working on your tablet can kill some time, and get a lot done, you can’t keep it up 24/7. That’s why Instapaper lets you save the Internet for times you can’t access it. You can download any page in conveniently archived text form, sending it all along to your iPad to enjoy later.

Instapaper Screen

Instapaper Screen

This helps with online productivity as well, encouraging you to save distractions for later instead of sitting at your desk not achieving anything. Later, when you’re stuck in a small metal container for hours, you can educate yourself about sports, science, or enjoy some comedy instead of auto-hypnotizing your brain with four hours of Bejewelled.

Dragon Dictation4. Dragon Dictation

Free

You’re not always able to sit back and relax in business class. Renting a car can cripple your available preparation time, leaving your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and laptop uselessly folded up in its travelling bag. Not so the iPad 2 with Dragon Dictation — ready to record your thoughts and productivity planning from the passenger seat, or anywhere else you’d like to brainstorm.

Dragon Dictation Screen

Dragon Dictation Screen

This isn’t just notepaper: the program can connect to e-mail, send messages, and even learns new industry-specific terms to better transcribe your notes the more you use it. Especially useful for slow typists, or those who don’t enjoy the feel of touchscreen typing. Unbelievably, this trademarked voice-recognition and learning software is free. You have less than no excuse to try it.

Urbanspoon5. Urbanspoon

Free

Don’t be held hostage by hotel food. One of the benefits of travel is discovering new things, a pleasure no longer denied by how the business keeps you busy (since that’s kind of what the word means.) You might not have time to hunt for a fine eatery, or the chance to try more than one in your temporary residence, so screen for the best by price and style with Urbanspoon.

Urbanspoon Screen

Urbanspoon Screen

An automatic connection with your maps means that anywhere, at anytime, you can eat anything. That was mankind’s entire dream for hundreds of thousands of years, and you can do it with your shiny toy. Hurray for progress!

XE Currency for iPad6. XE

Free

If you’re traveling you need to know how much you’re spending, and after and intelligent business lunch it’s embarrassing to sit there going cross-eyed as you try to calculate the bill times the exchange plus a tip in your head. XE takes all the work out of it, with up-to-the-minute exchange rates and an easy calculator.

XE Currency for iPad

XE Currency for iPad

iPhraseBook7. iPhraseBook

$12.99

The image of the exasperated business traveler flipping through a phrasebook while instructing bemused locals in how “No, I verily want a hippopotamus!” is a cliché — and one the iPad is custom-built to kill. The Renkara Media Group’s iPhraseBook can be expanded with extra language packs, making it your one stop app for any business trip, but the big advantage is the search function and the screen.

iPhraseBook Screen

iPhraseBook Screen

Where poring over a tiny pocketbook is awkward for everyone, being able to display your desired phrase on a clear screen instantly resolves any communications difficulties.

Image credit: Brasil2 / iStockphoto

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