[Note: to those who want to ignore posts on the iPad, please execute your ignore routine now. For the rest, read on.] Yesterday, I made my first fully executed presentation on the iPad. It was at the NBER’s Innovation Policy and the Economy conference and I figured that it was important to be at the leading edge for that presentation. By ‘fully executed’ I mean that I wrote and delivered the presentation from my iPad.
You can get a sense of the results here. It is a sense because it is just a pdf of individual slides and you can’t see the smooth animations that occurred. For instance, the supply and demand curves, as they shift, the equilibrium point shifts smoothly. What is more, it was simple to write this presentation and make all that happen — basically, about five minutes to find ALL of the relevant features. Positioning objects, resizing them, etc., was so much easier on an iPad using a finger or two than using a mouse. It really was a great way to write.
Presenting was easy but had a few flaws. I plugged the iPad into the projector and it worked without having to fiddle with any settings. The problem was that the iPad itself showed two arrows and the slide numbers. So it was basically a remote. But the problem with that is that I couldn’t see what slide was up and what was coming next as I would when presenting from a laptop. With all my fancy animations that made it tough going. And I have no idea why it didn’t have a setting to display the presentation on the iPad. This is especially so since you could tap and hold and you had a laser pointer. But that was essentially pointing to random points and hoping it showed up in the screen. It is stupid and disappointing. I presume also it is any easy fix but for many that will be a deal breaker. Sadly, it also means you can’t mark up slides while presenting which is a big feature of tablets. Again, it is hard to understand why it isn’t a feature here.
There is another serious problem for Keynote on the iPad. It is not interoperable with Keynote for the Mac. Yes, you can export and import Keynote for Mac files but they are crimped to the same degree that they would if they were in PowerPoint. For instance, those smooth animations I put in on the iPad didn’t all show up when exporting to Keynote for the Mac! It is hard to believe that Apple didn’t make the programs the same. Similarly, spend a ton of time doing a presentation on Keynote on the Mac with its ‘extra’ features, and they will disappear when you put them on the iPad if you want to present from that.
In summary, if you stick to the iPad and don’t deviate, this can be a good presentation tool. However, it is not the way to go if you need to move between devices and you want to see what is going on while presenting.