One of my hopes for the iPad is that I would use it for presenting my photography to clients, friends and family members. While the built-in Photos App is great for doing basic slideshows, you can do so much more with Keynote including adding text, graphics, movies, sounds and wide variety of transitions and builds. While you can build presentations right on the iPad and include the photos in your iPad photo library, I'm most likely going to build most of my presentations in Keynote and the Mac and transfer them to the iPad to run in Keynote. However, If I need make any last minute changes or additions I'd most likely do those right on the iPad itself. I could also see using the iPad to do presentations on the road for work. Although I usually have software to demo on my Mac, sometimes those presentations start out with a slide presentation. Now I can see having the slides on my iPad and the software I'm demoing on my Mac. This way I could go back and forth between the two as needed.
Presenting from the iPad
Of course if you're going to present from an iPad you're probably going to want a way to hook it up to your projector. Apple sells a iPad to VGA adapter. I'll have a review of this adapter and other iPad accessories on my tech blog this week. The VGA adapter may disappoint some. Unlike your computer, it doesn't mirror everything. It will only display the Apps by Apple (to date). I've tried Keynote, YouTube, and the Videos App with great success. However, 3rd party apps like Netflix and ABC Player get no love on the big screen. So if you were thinking of broadcasting any of your other Apps or the Home screens to do iPad demos on the big screen, think again. However, for what the adapter was designed for it does a great job. I connected the iPad to one of my Epson projectors.
Getting your presentation on the iPad – Like I said I plan to do most of the authoring on my Mac. So the question I had right off the bat was how do you get files onto the iPad. I was fully expecting a WiFi transfer like so many other Apps do. However, Apple insists on making everything sync through iTunes including Keynote, Pages and Numbers documents. Once you have Keynote installed on your iPad and you plug your iPad into your computer, you'll see the special Keynote section in iTunes. This is where you can drag your documents back and forth.
Bonus Tip – Laser Pointer Built-In
My friend Linda at my Apple Store shared this very cool tip with me. Once you've started your slideshow at any point on any slide you can hold down your finger on the the iPad's display and it will turn into a red dot just like a laser pointer. Mover your finger around and have a nice visual of anything that you want to point out on the big screen. Very very Cool!
If you're like me and you're going to want to bring in presentations you've created in Keynote or PowerPoint there are some things you're going to want to watch out for. The first one is that Keynote (desktop or iPad versions) still don't support PowerPoint's latest XML based file format .PPTX. So you'll want to open your files up in PowerPoint FIRST on your computer and save them down to the .PPT format. The second one took me by surprise and that's "Fonts". I didn't think about fonts. If you use special fonts in your presentation on your computer, Keynote doesn't embed them. So you're going to get missing font warnings and potential formatting issues if you don't stick with the standard fonts that are built-in to the App. There's no current way to install Fonts onto an iPad and there may never be a way to do so. Of course you can make changes to the presentation once it's on the iPad to replace the missing fonts with ones you do have. However, you should plan ahead and test before the big show.
The Bottom Line
Although I have all three iWork Apps (Keynote, Pages and Keynote), Keynote is my favorite by far and certainly the one that I'll use the most of the 3. I do wish that there was WiFi support for wireless document transfers then I'd gladly give it a 5!