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iPad 2: Killer Live Presentation Tool


Recently, I've had a few opportunities to use my iPad 2 for presentations. It worked so well, I've captured my thoughts for anyone else thinking about presenting with an iPad 2.

Mirroring: The Killer Feature

One flaw in the original iPad were limitations when using the Apple VGA Adapter. The adapter only worked in certain apps, like Keynote and no others by default. Pretty useless for showing websites or iPad apps that didn't support video out.

The iPad 2 changes this by mirroring the entire iPad screen through an adapter to a TV screen or overhead projector. It doesn't matter which app you're in — mirroring works in any app you care to launch. It even shows the iPad desktop.

Live Sketching & Collaboration

Through mirroring, I can blend sketchnotes right into my presentations. Using Adobe Ideas, Penultimate or Sketchbook Pro to draw on the iPad screen, my audience can see those drawings as they happen on the big screen, in real time.

Images, like wireframes or design mockups can be imported into a drawing tool, and notes can be added right on top of the images. This could be ideal for design critique sessions, as feedback could be captured from a team, with one facilitator or even each team member making notes directly on the design for all to see.

iPad 2 screen mirroring also opens the door for other collaborative apps being used on the iPad - writing tools, task and project management tools and more.

Remote Sketching

In a visual thinking workshop this week with Stone Ward, we used Air Sketch, an iPad app to draw sketchnotes, which were displayed locally on my MacBook's web browser over WiFi from the little web server built into the app. The images posted after a very brief delay, which was so brief the remote watchers couldn't sense it.

Airsketch browser

A sketch sent from the Air Sketch web server in a local browser window.

This approach worked great. Images Air Sketch displayed live in the browser were shared with a remote audience over a GoToMeeting connection, who could see and respond to my live drawings almost immediately.

I'm excited to see what other drawing tools will develop in this space, with presentations to local and remote audiences in mind.

VGA vs. Digital AV Adapters

Apple offers 2 adapters for the iPad 2 that can display mirrored video:

1. The Apple VGA Adapter ($29) with a 30 pin adapter on one end and a VGA port on the other. The VGA adapter is probably better for all around use, as you're more likely to find a VGA cable on an overhead projector when presenting on the road.

2. Apple Digital AV Adapter ($39) with HDMI port and a 30-pin connector to charge the iPad. This adapter requires an HDMI cable and port on the overhead projector or HDTV monitor. Having the charger might also be handy, though a fully charged iPad 2 ought to run a good 8-10 hours on a charge.

If you have an iPad 2, try picking up one of the Apple video adapters so you can try it out in your next presentation. It might just become your go-to presentation device.

Reader Comments (6)

Thanks from all of us at Stone Ward. It was a pleasure watching you sketch in real-time from both Chicago and Little Rock. Interesting how technology can support drawing as a way of generating ideas, instead of replace it. We wish you and James all the best.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKyle Floyd

Its been about two months since getting back into drawing, and my iPad (1st gen) has been the catalyst. I'd not even thought of doing something like this, where I'm using the mirroring feature to display works as they are being created. Got to admit, this would really change the mode of a street artist given a projector with good battery life and this setup.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAntoine RJ Wright

Kyle, it was great to share visual thinking with your team at Stone Ward and make use of some new technology at the same time. Thanks for being willing to experiment with us.

April 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Rohde

I'm kinda late commenting, just found your feed, Mike. Re: adapters, I've used both and was pleasantly surprised to find that both worked GREAT. The advantage of the digital adapter was that the audio played directly through the hdmi cable while I had to plug in a separate audio cable. I really like the idea of using a sketching program to present with, and will try to incorporate it into an upcoming presentation. Another great presentation app is Minimal Folio - simple, elegant and very flexible presentation format.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid TK

You could also check Presentation Link, a great app for interactive presentation. The app allows you to mash PDFs, images and videos into engaging mobile slideshows. More information on

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHans

Hans, this looks like a cool app for the iPad - thanks for sharing! I'll have a look.

November 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Rohde

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