I stopped in at MacWorld iWorld last Saturday at the Moscone Center before traveling to LegalTech New York. Since I was not hunting for luggage to tote some iOS device or looking for an innovative way to recharge Apple hardware, the pickings were slim. Although I was impressed with Joos Orange, a solar-powered device to recharge your mobile devices.
With up to 12 hours of exposure to the sun, the Joos product can transfer up to 8 hours of charge over USB. The charger can also retain its ingested solar power in a replaceable lithium-ion polymer battery (20Wh/5400mAh). And here's the kicker: it's waterproof so you can take it ice fishing.
What I was hunting for on Saturday was apps to create and edit Microsoft Word and PDF documents on the iPad. I have heard that lawyers like the iPad, and tablets in general, to view content but not create it. For someone like me who grew up using mini- and mainframe computers from CRT terminals with a green glow, I found it hard to believe.
I have tested an iPad with its high-resolution display and touch-screen with controls to tap, touch, drag, and gesture. Tablet navigation reduced the number of key strokes I needed to use in editing and eliminated the use of a mouse. So why not create documents on a tablet? Toward that end, I found a few options at MacWorld to edit Microsoft Office and PDF documents on tablets.
I first ran into Byte2 and got a demonstration of its Office2 HD for the iPad. The Office2 product is a document editing suite that lets you view, edit, and create Word compatible documents, Excel-compatible spread sheets, and PowerPoint-compatible presentations.
Office2 supports Word 2007-2010 (.doc and .docx) with the following features:
- character formatting for bold, italic and underline and font size, face, color and highlighting;
- paragraph formatting with indent and justification controls;
- bullets and numbering;
- support for tables and floating images and shapes;
- full-text search;
- copy and paste;
- undo and redo; and
- auto-correction and auto-capitalization.
Byte2's office product can also save documents in PDF format and revert to previous versions of saved files on the iPad. If you need more, you can move up to computer platform and use Office on the Mac or PC.
Quickoffice was also on hand to demonstrate Quickoffice Pro HD, an editing suite for Microsoft Office documents that includes a PDF viewer. The Quickoffice folks have a lot of experience in editing documents on mobile devices. They grew up with the Palm products and have a SmartTouch technology that makes navigating and managing files very easy with some advanced tap, touch, and drag controls and an any-direction scroll that lets you drag over pages of documents for selection. A Quickoffice toolbox lets you format text, numbers, colors and justify paragraphs.
Neither Byte2 nor Quickoffice support Track Changes, but both admitted that the feature is on their roadmap.
If you are looking for a PDF document viewer and editor, Smile On My Mac has PDFpen for the iPad. From the demonstration, you simply select text you want to edit, tap "Correct Text," and the highlighted text is replaced with a text box to edit or replace the text. The PDFpen can sign documents, although its not a digital signature. The product can OCR PDF images for editing and redact content.
If you need to print out a document for editing, check out Ecamm's Printopia, which is print server software that can advertise print services for a printer connected to your Mac (read: any printer with supported print-driver software) to any AirPrint-enabled device. With Printopia, you can print from your iPad to the printer connected to your Mac.
I also found some cool hardware. j5create was showing off its Wormhole Switch. Although that sounds like something you would see in Star Trek, the nifty little device consists of two USB drives interconnected via cable. The drives contain proprietary software that allow you to plug-and-share files as well as keyboard and mouse controls between two computers without installing any software.
The Wormhole Switch can transfer files between Windows and Macs; and Windows and iPads or Android-powered tablets. It will also work between two Windows machines if you don't want to share folders. j5create's nifty little tool not only shares files, but you can also drag your mouse to the connected computer and control its desktop with the keyboard and mouse controls in front of you. In effect, your PC can control your Mac, and your Mac the PC.
Seagate demonstated its new Go Flex Satellite Mobile drive. The new external drive has a built-in wireless access point to support up to three users, a 500 GB hard drive, and an on-board battery battery for up to 5 hours of power without an adapter.
And from the why-not-put-Wi-Fi-in-everything department, Hyperdrive was showcasing its forthcoming CloudFTP device, which is a small USB server with Wi-Fi support. The CloudFTP can connect an external storage device via USB and make it available over a Wi-Fi network. Since the CloudFTP device is a USB server, it will soon support other peripheral devices with USB ports from printers to scanners.
See you at LegalTech.