Having only had my new iPad 2 for a few months, I am certainly no expert on all of the things you can do with it. To be honest, I thought this thing would be just a cool, fun toy to play with when I ordered it. However, it didn’t take long to realize the many different ways I could use it for my work and how my friends in the Police Public Information Office could benefit from having an iPad to help them get their job done quickly and efficiently.
Since it’s what I have, this article will focus on the iPad 2.
WHAT CAN WE USE IT FOR?
First of all, the iPad can definitely be used as a toy as there are games galore out there for it. But, there are equally as many serious tools available. As of March 15, 2011, there were over 65,000 apps or applications already available for the iPad and iPad 2. In addition, you can run many iPhone apps on it too and there are over 100,000 apps for it.
One of the most powerful features of the iPad is it’s connectivity to the Internet. You can get an iPad that connects via just Wi-Fi or spend a bit more and and get a unit with Wi-Fi and 3G cell connection. If you go with the Wi-Fi only iPad and already have a smartphone, like an I-Phone, you could always use your phone as a “tether” to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot or portable Internet connection for your iPad. Tethering means you connect to the Internet via your phone and then you connect your iPad to your phone wirelessly, by Bluetooth, or via a cable. If you want to use tethering via your phone, be sure you have an Internet service plan on your phone that allows for tethering.
Once you have an iPad and an Internet connection, you are ready to rock the web and inform your citizens of what’s going on in their community and with their police department. Here are some things you can do without downloading even a single app.
- Write press releases
- Send and receive email
- Take pictures
- Shoot low resolution video
- Search the Internet
- Take notes
- Map locations
- Watch videos
- Post to Social Media sites
Read, watch and listen to how the media is reporting about your department
and more all while in the office or out at a scene.
Can you imagine how much time having this tool would save your PIO by being able to send out information and monitor the press directly from the scene?
Since there is SO much to talk about regarding apps, we’ll cover these AND some of the cool accessories for the I-Pad next week. In the mean time, if your department uses an iPad already, please share your experiences below and include what apps you are using as well.