Air Display: Transform Apple iPad Into Mobile Monitor
Want to use your Apple iPad as an extra monitor? Perhaps Air Display, from Avatron Software (the guys who brought you Air Sharing) can help. Here’s the scoop on the iPad screen extender and the trend in mobile monitors…
Before the iPad saw the light of day, portable USB monitors were an up and coming trend. Coming in at 7-8 inches were the Mimo Mini USB monitors. They extended your display just enough to shove that e-mail app, referential doc, twitter list or extra app you needed out of your way. The trend picked up, and a quick Google can show you that a few other companies are doing some USB monitors in the ballpark of $150.
But now you’ve spent $499 (or more) on an iPad got yourself a gorgeous 10 inch screen. It’d be a shame if it was only good for doing iPad related stuff, wouldn’t it? That’s was the idea behind SHAPE Services’ iDisplay (in the App store now). So they developed an app that lets your iPad double as an extra screen, but dropped the ball. The user reviews were poor, citing slow refresh rates and limited usability because of it.
But Avatron Software has a solid track record since Air Sharing was so popular. Air Sharing basically let you transfer and copy any files and folders via WiFi to your iPhone/iPod/iPad and it — apparently — does this exceptionally well. Their iPad version (Air Sharing HD) has also been a success.
So building on that comes Air Display, which sets out to be a robust app that make your iPad a very usable extra external display. What’s more, it looks promising because of Avatron’s track record (and The Unofficial Apple Weblog’s happy beta test) plus the added bonus that it it’ll also let you interface with whatever is on the screen using the multi-touch screen input. It’s also been designed to display YouTube videos in a browser window without issue — the only apparent hiccup is full screen display videos.
So what’s the damage? Avatron is pricing it at a very iPad price, $9.99. But is it worth your cash (when finally makes it to the App Store)? How big of a boost of productivity can 10 inches give you?
It’s nearly an industry fact that dual monitors increase productivity. From coders to writers, the ability to go back and forth between screens, or move stuff out of the way is quite useful and a boon to organization at the very least. But where productivity can — and most likely will — dip is when you’re on the road. If you’re already taking your iPad on a trip, the pictured scenario of using your iPad to make your laptop workspace a lot more roomy is a tantalizing prospect.
The only ‘gotchas’ on this right now seem to be that you’ll need to be running Mac OS X and both the Mac and the iPad have to be on the same WiFi network — or at least (I’d imagine) — Ethernet on the Mac which is connected to the same router shooting out the WiFi. But this blogger is more than convinced: expect a full review when it becomes available. I’d love to add a little 3rd display to my already dual-display setup. At a glance information is invaluable and strangely satisfying.
In the meantime, here’s something to think about: Is this another way the iPad is changing mobility and usability on the go?