Essential New Apps for iPad Presenting

What are the essential apps for iPad presenters?  I compiled a list a year ago; it’s time for an update.

I love the iPad for presenting. I use it to create my notes, and then put them up on the comfort monitors in front of me but hidden from the audience. Or, if there are no monitors, then the iPad itself does the job, and allows me to keep an eye on the clock so that I end on time.

I also use the iPad to show video. Readers of this blog will know that I’m not a big fan of slides, but I do show the occasional one, and it’s easy to do so from the iPad.

At an earlier stage in the presentation food chain, I use the iPad for research, note-taking, and collection of ideas, stories, video, and images for later use.

I love the iPad for presenting because it’s light to carry, fast, easy to use, and relatively crash-free. I’m nearly at the point where I’m leaving the computer at home, and taking the iPad plus keyboard instead. As soon as I get over wearing both belt and suspenders, I’ll travel computer-free.

So how about those apps? I’m an app junkie; I have over a hundred on my iPad, and I’m always swapping them out for shiny new ones when they come along. But here’s my current hit list. Caveat: Apps change daily. This is not a list for all time or even an exhaustive one right now. It’s just what is working for me today.

Prezi, Pages, Keynote. If you don’t know Prezi, it’s time you did. It’s slide presentation software, but much cooler than either Keynote or PowerPoint. Then, of course, there are the basics from Apple. Pages provides word processing for writing out notes, speeches, ideas, and so on.  Keynote is for slides. But do give Prezi a try. Especially if you’re a slide-heavy presenter, this is the software for you.

Goodreader. Still a big favorite. I looked long and hard for this app and tried a bunch of others before I settled on Goodreader.  Basically, it’s a way to store files on your iPad.  What’s the big deal?  You can easily store video, pdfs, slides, etc – and then play or view them with a click or two.  With the right adaptor, you’re set to play video clips with the least muss and fuss I’ve found so far.  And it’s real easy to move video files from computer to iPad with a drag and drop when your iPad is syncing.

Evernote. My entire life is now stored on Evernote, and that includes the speeches. I use Evernote on my computer, my iPhone, and my iPad.  It’s the single best note management system I’ve found. You can take pictures, notes – information in any form – and store it for future use in a presentation or simply in your preparation for a presentation.  I use it to store ideas I run across – to ‘remember everything’ as the advert says.

Noteshelf.  There are lots of note-taking apps; this one is cool because you can hook it up to the projector via the iPad and write in real time. Voila – instant white board.  It’s great for capturing audience feedback, ideas, and so on in a way that’s visible to the entire audience (assuming you have those giant screens on either side of the stage).

Office HD. This app is one of those combo apps that allows you to read or create a word processing file, or a slide deck, or a spreadsheet. I like it because it is easy to use and saves you real estate on your iPad, and it seems to coordinate more easily with my mail program than either Pages or Keynote does, so that I can edit documents or grab images and slides on the fly.

I’ve often used it to make last-minute changes to speech notes and get them to the conference tech people or just to myself when I use the iPad as a note display device.

Dropbox. Great for moving large files around. And storing them in the cloud. I’m sure this one is familiar to just about everyone. Essential for dealing with large slide decks on the go.

Prompster Pro or Podium Pro. Good for speakers who need a teleprompter, Promspter Pro seems to work well and costs less than some of its rivals at $5.  Beware the super cheap ones.  Podium Pro is a dollar less (at $4) has a number of features like the ability to record your talk, color-code sections and other nifty things.  I don’t have deep personal experience with these, but friends report that they both do the job.

Presentation Clock. A giant timer, plain and simple. Useful for making sure you don’t run over your time.

About the Author:

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and presentation skill coaches. In his blog he covers modern communications from a variety of angles, including the latest developments in communication research, the basic principles and rules of good communication, and the good and bad speakers of the day. His passion is to connect the latest brain research with timeless insights into persuasive speaking in order to further our understanding of how people connect with one another. For more information on his company, visit


Presenting with an iPad: How to Add Apple TV

By Geetesh Bajaj

If you are serious about iPad presenting, then you may have already realized that it makes no sense to attach your iPad to a TV or projector with a cable. For one this means that your iPad is physically tied to a location, and you cannot really move around and navigate your content at the same time. And also the fact that you miss out on portability, the iPad’s biggest advantage.

The direction you need to explore is quite obvious as far as Apple is concerned — they would like you to look at their Apple TV device. An Apple TV connects to TVs and projectors with the requisite cables. Thereafter it creates a wireless connection with your iPad using the built-in AirPlay technology — the rest of this post will explore both Apple TV and AirPlay.

So what is an Apple TV? Actually there are two types of Apple TVs:

1) 1st generation Apple TVs that included hard disk space, were larger in size, and cost 3 times as much as the new 2nd generation Apple TVs. These are useless for iPad users since they do not support AirPlay. Also they are too large to be carried around. These included a remote as shown in the picture below.

2) 2nd generation Apple TVs that have no hard disk space (they actually have 8GB of flash disk space, but that is undocumented). These are much smaller than 1st generation Apple TVs, and are AirPlay capable making them great to use with iPads. They also are small enough to fit within the palm of your hand and can be easily carried around along with your iPad. These also include a remote, although the remote is not shown in the picture below.

Once you connect your Apple TV to a TV or projector, you can then make the TV or projector display anything on your iPad (or an iPhone or an iPod Touch) as long as you have these prerequisites in place:

1.iOS 5 installed on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch — this update adds improved AirPlay capabilities to your iOS devices.

2.An iPad 2 or iPhone 4S will provide you with AirPlay mirroring — thus anything that shows up on your iOS device screen will show up on the TV or projector output. If you have an iPad 1 or an iPhone 4, AirPlay will still work — but just with the Photos app — and not much else.

That’s not as limited as you may believe — you can save most of your slides as successive pictures in an album — you can then have a cool presentation showing off your iPad 1 or iPhone 4. You will lose out on animations and multimedia — but many iPad and iPhone apps still do not support all PowerPoint bells and whistles — so that’s not such a bad solution!

On the other hand, what irks me is that even Apple’s own Keynote will not support AirPlay on iPad 1 and iPhone 4.

In the next article in this series, we will look more at AirPlay, and what more you can do using this technology.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint- related site ( that provides designer PowerPoint templates.

Geetesh also is the author of the best-selling book Cutting Edge PowerPoint for Dummies and three subsequent books on PowerPoint 2007 for Windows and one on PowerPoint 2008 for Mac.

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