could i travel with only an ipad?


The big question I was trying to answer on this past trip was "could I travel with only an iPad?" (and not a bulky, heavy MacBook Pro)

The answer is a qualified "yes."

On this past trip, I used my MBP only twice--once to review and make minor changes to my PowerPoint slides, and once to give my presentation. The iPad has Keynote available, so I could potentially use it for that purpose. However, initial review of Keynote for the iPad indicate that it's lacking in a number of areas. In addition, there doesn't (yet) seem to be any way to control an iPad presentation with a remote control, which is a deal-breaker for me.

So, until the iPad has a fully-functional presentation tool (for both creating and giving presentations), it won't be able to completely replace my laptop for travel. It will, however, allow me to relegate the heavy laptop to the rollaboard bag rather than the shoulder bag.


I am headed from Rochester to NC for a keynote presentation at a conference on Friday. I want to do it with only my iPad 3G, but my wife is insisting that I take a netbook (hackintoshed) for backup.

Keynote on the iPad isn't bad. It handles embedded videos, photo masks, build ins/outs (but not actions like scale/move) and many transitions. Grouped graphics don't work (get ungrouped on import) and the selection of fonts is quite limited. In one case where I wanted a particular font, I just entered the text on my desktop and changed it into a graphic to drop back into the presentation.

The killer for me isn't the lack of a remote (though it would be nice to hook up an iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote) but the VGA out. The lack of any current slide or next slide visual on the iPad worries me. Sometimes when presenting the room is arranged so I can't see the screens. That means I need some sort of video display.

Ah well, perhaps this will be added...

Yeah, I'm thinking that I could carry my netbook in my suitcase for the presentations, and leave my MacBook Pro at home and turned on in case I need to grab a file from it using the LogMeIn/Dropbox combo...

A killer presentation tool (with iPhone remote control and maybe even previewing) would be a total killer app for me, one that I'd happy pay $30-$50 for. (I just bought OmniGraffle for $50.)

Heading out today, so will report back tomorrow on how it goes. Another thought I will be testing in the airport today is a bluetooth input device. might a bluetooth presentation remote (since they are usually just recognized as keyboards anyway) be able to sync with the iPad? Or will it want to pair up with a numeric entry? Does Keynote even recognize input from the Apple wireless keyboard while in presentation mode.
Will report back on these questions and how it goes tomorrow...

My findings today in Delaware were (1) mismatches in fonts between the Mac and the iPad caused text to be improperly sized on slides, (2) my bluetooth keyboard wouldn't advance the slides, and (3) the view of the slides on the iPad is tiny and unusable, which is really annoying.

So, that means that I can use the iPad to do a quick preview of slides to show people, but not (yet) as a real presentation tool. These seem like relatively easy to fix issues, so I hope that we'll see improvements in the next few months that lead to the device being more presentation-friendly.

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This page contains a single entry published on May 9, 2010 10:49 PM.

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