In an earlier post, I wrote about my integration of Toodledo task management with my Outlook tasks. I have never been comfortable going to a pure Web-based task management system due to the amount of time I spend traveling, which equates to time not connected to the Internet. Flights are a good time to reflect on tasks and reorganize. The number of planes with WiFi or cellular data is still very low, so having an online only task management system can be limiting. However, the iPad Toodledo task management app solved this problem.
In fact, the Web-based task management tool in conjunction with the iPad app are so well done that I have stopped using Outlook Tasks altogether. When I am in the office I have Toodledo on the iPad open to view and take notes on tasks.
I have wanted to eliminate my addiction to Outlook for some time. Tasks have always been the key limiting factor. Now that Outlook Tasks has been replaced, I am one step closer to leaving Outlook.
When I first setup the iPad I configured only one calendar, Exchange. I read on the Apple support forum a question from someone having trouble with multi-calendar support, so I thought I would include how this works here. I think the issue is that if you have only one calendar, it isn’t apparent in the calendar application that more than one is supported. After you configure the second calendar a little icon in the left-hand corner of the calendar application shows up. Clicking on this reveals your different calendars.
I subscribed to an iCal subscription (TripIt.com which tracks my travel details) on the iPad as my second calendar. Additional calendars can be added in the same place you add Mail accounts (Settings->Mail, Calendar). Touching the “calendar” button on the top left-hand corner takes you to the list of calendars you have configured. In my case Exchange, TripIt and MobileMe. Just like on the iPhone I can pick to display all of them or just a few. Calendars on the iPad are more useful than on the PC mainly because I have the iPad with me most of the time.
Finally, I tried to setup a meeting and invite several coworkers. Even though I was using my Exchange Calendar, I was unable to see the schedule of the people I was inviting. Even after starting the VPN into our corporate network I could not see my coworker’s schedules. I will explore this more to see if I can find a solution, but at this point, I don’t think this is possible in Apple Calendar on the iPad.
Now onto mail. Outlook mail has good features for viewing conversations and archiving e-mail. I never delete an email that has work content in it. Being able to pull up a discussion from two years ago is surprisingly useful. From early reports, it looks like Apple Mail in iPhone OS 4.0 will allow for conversation style viewing. All I have to say is “it is about time!” Apple Mail hasn’t changed much since it was introduced. It has fallen behind the other email applications and Web-based applications. The other useful function of Outlook mail (in Office 2010 which I have been running in Beta since January) is social integration. It wasn’t working very well in Beta, but the promise is there. Not only does it list your calendar events for the person you received the mail from, but also the attachments, previous e-mails, information from their Linked In account and it appears that it will also allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds for the person. I have heard that they plan to add a Facebook connector as well. This will be ideal for a salesperson like me. Being able to consolidate the social information for a contact from many sources will be very useful. Email is a communication tool, so this is a logical place to have this consolidated view.
Xobni is currently the leader in this type of integration for the PC, but nothing exists for Apple Mail. Will Apple step up to the plate and add social integration into Apple Mail?
There are rumors that Apple is moving toward the corporate market. With the addition of Exchange support in the recent versions of Apple Mail it looks like they are slowly trending that way. There are also some tools for administrators to control the configuration of iPhone and iPads being used by employees and they have an iPad in the business section on their Web site. I have seen more Apple computers showing up in the workplace, both at my customers as well as at my company. The biggest issue I hear as being the reason for the conversion is the unreliability of the PC. We are still running XP which, in my opinion, needs to be reinstalled every year to keep it stable. Most people don’t have the skill set or inclination to do this, so they want a new platform after a year or so when their PC becomes slow and unreliable. I just went through this with my PC. After the reinstall from scratch, it was like getting a brand new computer. It is significantly faster in booting and recovery from hibernation/sleep. A handful of other issues went away as well.
Apple Mail will be a strong competitor to Outlook if they can tackle these three (conversations, archiving and social integration) key areas. I would like to see this happen as I think Outlook is one of the big reasons people stick with the PC. Apple Calendar will need better sharing support and integration with Exchange to be the death knell in Outlook for most people.
Posted from Regina, SK Canada