Angela D. Harris

Changing the way people do business can be like trying to shave a lion’s mane with a disposable razor. It’s difficult, messy, and someone is going to get hurt. The image is a little extreme, but it seems that this is how many contractors view adding new technology to their businesses. Apple’s latest technology - the iPad - is no exception. Although approaching a lion in any way is not recommended, perhaps the time has come for contractors to revolutionize the way they do business and take on the iPad.


The iPad is just under a year old and has already surpassed the original performance predictions made by consumers and businesses alike. Launched in the United States on April 3, 2010, the iPad was met with less enthusiasm than the iPhone and many weren’t sure the technology would catch on completely. In fact, CNN’s “Mashable” released an infographic from OnSwipe that showed analysts originally predicted iPad sales would only reach approximately 3.3 million in 2010. The actual number sold that year was 14.8 million - five times more than predicted.

Admittedly, Apple isn’t the only tablet device on the market. Multiple other manufacturers have entered the tablet foray, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab leading the pack. Taking into account the current success of tablets, Oppenheimer & Co. is predicting overall tablet sales numbers will increase to 15.1 million in 2011 and 115 million in 2014. Needless to say, tablet devices don’t seem to qualify as a passing phase and although there are other competitors in the market, Apple’s iPad is the clear leader. According to OnSwipe, it currently dominates 90 percent of sales.


After purchasing an iPad, setting up e-mail, downloading a few free apps, and exploring every media site imaginable, the new iPad user is often left with a key question, “What now?” Without using some ingenuity, iPad users can find themselves the proud owners of expensive paper weights they use strictly for neat media experiences and some game play.

The key to the iPad is application. Of course there are thousands of apps in the App Store, but it is doubtful there is one that will do exactly what is required for a contractor’s business. When researching apps to make business improvements consider two things: What was the app designed to do and what is it capable of doing? Answering that second question will likely be the one that reveals ingenious solutions to daily business tasks and struggles.


Being a new iPad owner, I understand many of the concerns some contractors have about making an iPad purchase. Sure it’s neat, but beyond that there are many questions as to its actual usefulness. To avoid owning a cool paperweight myself, I determined to change the way I work. The first thing I focused on was productivity. E-mail can be incredibly distracting. To help abate this problem, I have quit turning my e-mail on at my desktop computer. I keep my iPad next to me, but I take specific time to answer e-mails and deal with situations instead of consistently interrupting my work flow. It has saved me time.

Using a 99 cents application called Penultimate, I am trying to go paperless as well. I splurged for the $15 stylus to help make my endless library of notebooks easier to manage in this digital format. I remember to use it about 50 percent of the time - that’s progress.

I am not the only one changing.The NEWSis stepping up its game with its own iPad app -The NEWSHD. Inspired by the weekly pages ofThe NEWS, these special iPad editions are purposed to enhance the reader’s print interaction into a full digital experience that includes interactive elements, videos, sound bites, and more. Search “ACHR NEWS” in the App Store to add this app to your iPad.


Change hasn’t been easy nor has it come automatically. The important thing, however, is that I andThe NEWScontinue to look for new ways to apply this technology in a way that makes sense in business and to our audience. Armed with a little ingenuity and some determination, we are attempting to shave that lion’s mane. It can be difficult, but a tranquilizer dart and electric razor have changed our approach, and so has the iPad.

Publication date:02/07/2011