Presenting on the iPad without KeyNote

Okay – I have scrounged a VGA connector (thanks Simon) and am contemplating my induction talk tomorrow for “Web App Dev” and web services modules. Plugging the iPad in to monitor does nothing, as expected, but playing Fat Boy Slim via YouTube shows everything is working okay. This list of apps may tell you if what you are trying to use will output to an external device without having to jailbreak your iPad.

Next questions is, “what format should I get my slides in?”. The demo iPad in the Apple store had no real problem showing a presentation I downloaded off our University portal but I am guessing it already had KeyNote for iPad installed. So I have uploaded my induction slides in a variety of formats to see what happens using my basic, “vanilla” iPad.

So the results of viewing the different versions of the PowerPoint file on the iPad with iOS 3 with nothing extra installed are:

  • PowerPoint 2007 (pptx/ppsx):Poor – Safari displays the presentation as a scrollable document with individual slides but there is no clear division between slides.  Imported images are fine but custom animations don’t work, some PowerPoint drawing objects are mangled, e.g. arrows at wrong end, with some borders and “call out objects” (e.g. clouds, icons etc) missing.
  • PowerPoint 2003 (ppt/pps): Poor – this version does slightly better with less missing drawing elements, but is still not good.
  • PDF: Acceptable – produces an accurate copy of the slides, as might be expected, with each slide on a separate page but there are no transitions or animations.  By default there is no option to open the file in the iBooks application, unlike with the latest iPhone iOS 4 (which then lets you flick through each slide quickly).
  • Open Presentation format (OPD) and Microsoft’s single file web page (MHT): Doesn’t work – won’t download or open in Safari as the iPad clearly doesn’t understand these file formats.
  • QuickTime movie (MOV): Doesn’t work – this is only available as a “save as” file format in the Macintosh version of PowerPoint so will not be available to most people.  And as it stands, at least the way the movie is downloaded from StudyNet, this file will not play either in the iPad or iPhone default QuickTime players.

The most important thing to note is that NONE of the applications used will actually show anything on an external display via the VGA connector as things currently stand.  As for quick saving of PowerPoint slides for download and review on the go, it looks like Adobe pdf files are the best. there are other ways to get your presentation out there (e.g. saving each slide as an image, producing a movie in a different format, or using a slidecasting website) but they are not going to be as quick and easy to save and upload.

I am off to get a copy of KeyNote to see how well that works.  Given reports elsewhere, I am expecting it to be usable, but that my slides with their custom animations and builds may get a bit mangled.

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