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A Dozen “Must Have” iPhone Apps for Business Users

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If you’re a business person looking to get the most out of your iPhone, and use it as the powerful communication, organizational, financial and productivity tool it was designed to be, you’ll want to utilize some of the business-oriented third-party apps currently available from the Apple App Store. This article showcases a dozen powerful apps designed for business users. It offers a preview to the type of features and functionality you can add to your iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4 by downloading inexpensive third-party applications. The majority of these apps are also iPad compatible, although in some cases, iPad specific versions of the apps are available.

Right out of the box, the iPhone 4 is perhaps the most powerful Smartphone on the market today. With its robust built-in applications, you can instantly be better connected via phone and email—plus be more productive, organized, and efficient—both on the job and in your personal life.

The iPhone's powerful Mail app allows you to easily access and manage multiple email accounts from virtually anywhere. Combine it with the feature-packed Calendar app, which makes it easy to sync appointments (or your entire schedule) with your computer or entire network. You'll always know when and where you're supposed to be for important meetings, appointments, or obligations.

Using the iPhone as a phone (yes, it makes and receives calls, too), you have a powerful communications tool in the palm of your hand. Add a good-quality Bluetooth headset, like the Jawbone Icon ($99.99), and you can talk hands-free on an individual call or conference call with ease, plus keep track of all your important contacts.

This is just a small sampling of the apps already built into the iPhone 4 that make it the ideal business tool. There's also the Calculator, Notes, Weather, and Voice Memo app, for example, that add powerful business features ideal for use while on the go.

Beyond what's already built into the iPhone in terms of features and functionality, third-party app developers offer more than 250,000 different apps designed to make the iPhone Smartphone even more powerful.

The following is information about 12 "must-have" iPhone apps for business users. Most are compatible with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4, along with the iPod Touch and the iPad.

Third-Party Apps Business Users Will Want

Regardless of your job or what industry you work in, there are third-party apps that will allow you to fully customize your iPhone, giving you specialized functionality catered to your wants and needs. Many of these apps allow you to easily sync data with your computer or network, while keeping that data encrypted, password-protected, or otherwise secure.

All these apps are available from the App Store, which can be accessed using the App Store app on your iPhone or via iTunes on your computer. When browsing the App Store, enter the specific app name into the Search field to find, purchase, and download each app.

Bento ($4.99, FileMaker)

Just like the full-scale version of Bento for the Mac, this is a powerful, yet simple to use database management tool, which makes it easy to input, organize, store and share data, with no programming required.

You can create a customized database from scratch that caters to your unique needs or take advantage of the free templates built into the app. Additional templates can be downloaded, for free, from the Bento website. Within each database entry, you can incorporate text, graphics, photos, audio clips, video clips, website URLs; plus data from the Contacts and Calendar apps, along with check boxes and pop-up choices. Bento for the iPhone is fully compatible with the Mac version, so databases can easily be synchronized.

BugMe! Sticky Ink Notes & Alarms ($2.99, Electric Pocket)

If you're like most people, you have dozens of post-it notes plastered all over your office desk, walls, and computer monitor. With this app, all those separate notes can be created, stored, organized, and displayed in one place—on your iPhone screen—and in the same sticky note format you're already accustomed to. You can color code each sticky note, set audio alarms in conjunction with individual notes, and even share your notes via email or Twitter.

This is a powerful yet simple tool for organizing thoughts, brainstorming, keeping track of to-do lists, jotting down notes, or managing small tidbits of information while sitting at your desk or while on the go. You can also save your notes directly onto your iPhone's Home Screen, or even as your phone's default wallpaper, so the app doesn't need to be running for you see your sticky note reminders.

Delivery Status Touch ($4.99, Junecloud)

If you ever ship packages via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, DHL, or any of more than 20 other services, you can download free, but separate package tracking apps for each shipping service. Or you can use Delivery Status Touch to track all your packages, regardless of the shipping service used, with a single app.

In addition to tracking individual packages, you can track groups of packages simultaneously, plus view a map showing exactly where your packages are located while en route at any given moment—all from the iPhone.

Beyond just tracking packages you ship, Delivery Status Touch allows you to track orders you've places with companies like Amazon.com, Apple, and Google Checkout. When displayed, each package or order is color-coded on the iPhone's screen for easy visual reference.

Documents To Go Premium: Office Suite ($16.99, DataViz)

Anyone who uses Microsoft Office will appreciate the features and functions offered by Documents To Go Premium. This powerful app allows you to easily access, view, and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on your iPhone. This app is also compatible with PDF and iWork files, and takes full advantage of the limited size of the iPhone screen.

Users have complete and unhindered access to their Office documents and files. A desktop application is also available, allowing for easy two-way wireless (Wi-Fi) syncing of Office files between a computer and the iPhone, without using iTunes.

Files can also be transferred as email attachments or by downloading/uploading them through an online-based file sharing (cloud) service, like Google Docs, MobileMe, or DropBox. This is simply the best and easiest way to view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on an iPhone, without altering their file format.

E*Trade Mobile Pro (Free, E*Trade Financial Corp.)

If you are an E*Trade customer, this powerful iPhone app allows you to manage your investment portfolio, research and track individual investments, access real-time stock quotes (and related charts), read breaking news and commentary, set up audible stock alerts, plus execute trades directly from your mobile device.

A similar and also free app is available to clients of Fidelity Investments. Both apps are easy to use, graphically oriented, and make managing a personal investment portfolio or retirement account, for example, extremely convenient and easy from virtually anywhere.

eWallet Security Password Manager ($9.99, Ilium Software)

Living in the information age requires us all to keep track of credit card numbers, membership numbers, account passwords, PINs, and a vast amount of other confidential information. eWallet offers a secure yet easy way to keep track of the confidential passwords, account numbers, and related data in one place.

This app utilizes secure, 256-bit AES encryption to keep your data secure, even if your iPhone gets lost, stolen, or hacked. The database element of this app allows you to organize and sort your information by type. For example, you can keep all your credit card numbers and related information in one list, and all your computer usernames and passwords in another.

MyStarbucks (Free, Starbucks)

While this free app won't help you better manage your time; be more productive; or communicate better with your customers, clients, and coworkers, it will allow you to quickly find the closest Starbucks location, wherever you happen to be. If you're like many caffeine-addicted business professionals, being able to quickly find a Starbucks when you're traveling in unfamiliar territory can be a true lifesaver.

The MyStarbucks app not only detects your present location and points you to the closest Starbucks; you can also specify if you want a location with a drive-through, plus check store hours, and share your location via Facebook and Twitter. You can also access complete menus and customize your perfect beverage before stepping up to the counter to order.

PDF Reader Pro ($.99, Yuyao Mobile Software)

This is one of several apps you'll find within the App Store that allows you to access, sync, view, edit, and manipulate PDF files on your iPhone.

This particular app also allows you to use the iPhone's built-in camera as a document scanner to capture and create PDF files while on the go. PDF Reader Pro offers much of the same functionality as Adobe Reader for a PC or Mac, but scaled down for use on the iPhone's small screen.

QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite ($7.99, QuickOffice)

For users of Microsoft Office applications on a PC or Mac, this app allows you to transfer, view, and edit your Word and Excel documents on an iPhone. It also works as a fully featured PDF reader and is compatible with iWork applications, including Pages and Numbers. Files can easily be transferred between your computer and iPhone via a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection, or uploaded and shared using an online-based file sharing (cloud) service like MobileMe.

QuickOffice packs a lot of features and functionality, all easily accessed through color-coded, touch-based icons and menu, onto your iPhone. As you edit and manipulate your Word or Excel files, the Microsoft Office file formats remain intact.

Things ($9.99, Cultured Code)

The best way to describe this app is as a powerful to-do list manager on steroids. It's a simple-to-use yet extremely robust app for creating, editing, managing, prioritizing. and sharing to-do lists, notes. and project details. As you create your lists, you can add deadlines and alarms to each entry, while also color-coding, categorizing, and prioritizing each item. Multiple to-lists can be maintained simultaneously and shared with others.

A desktop version of Things is also available for the Mac ($49.95). Lists can be synchronized and shared wirelessly via Wi-Fi. Even as a stand-alone app on the iPhone, Things is a powerful project and list management organizational tool.

Tip Calculator Top ($.99, Carlos Perez)

Not everyone is so math savvy that they can quickly calculate a server's tip in their head when they dine out. This simple app allows you to quickly calculate your server's tip (between 1 and 35 percent of the bill), but also allows you to instantly split the bill and tip between multiple people, so there's no need to do math in your head or find scrap paper to do your calculations longhand.

Simply enter in the total bill amount, choose the percentage you want to tip, and select the number of people in your dining party. The app does the rest using a simple user interface. Now you never have to worry about under-tipping or over-tipping your server or bartender due to a math error.

Wall Street Journal Mobile and USA Today (Free)

In today's fast-paced business world, information is power. Keeping up with current events not only helps to ensure that you're perceived as an intelligent person; it can also give you an edge on the job. The Wall Street Journal Mobile app gives you up-to-the-minute access to business, national, and international news headlines, articles, and video, as well as real-time stock quotes, by using a slick on-screen interface. Meanwhile, the separate USA Today app gives you complete access to the newspaper's articles, as well as breaking news, divided into sections, just like the full-color newspaper. Access Top News, News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech, and Travel articles with the touch of an icon, plus obtain current sports scores and weather forecasts, all for free.

The iNewsstand: Coming Soon to a Mobile Screen Near You

Just as it's now possible to purchase, download, and read eBooks through Apple's iBookstore on your iPhone, Apple has created a way to subscribe to, download, and read all your favorite newspapers and magazines just as they appear in printed form, but on your iPhone or iPad.

Users will soon be able to purchase a paid subscription to their favorite publications and then easily read them on their mobile devices. This newsstand feature is expected to launch in January or February 2011.

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