Presenting wirelessly with an iPad and Apple TV

David Sparks:

Imagine yourself making a presentation with nothing but your iPad in hand. You’re not chained to the podium or sitting behind a desk. You are roaming like a lion, and you are awesome. For the cost of an Apple TV and an AirPort Express (just 200 bucks), you too can get some lion-like tendencies.

  • I gave a 15 minute TV series pitch using Keynote controlled from my iPhone earlier this year. It wasn’t quite the setup Sparks is describing here – my MBP was wired into an HDTV and I was controlling the slides with the Keynote Remote app – but the lion-like tendencies were the same!

    Personally, I think I’d prefer the iPhone remote to using an iPad. With the iPad, the temptation would be to look down at the textbook-sized screen you’re cradling in your arms. So long as you know your deck – and you should – using the iPhone as a remote frees you to just go, to focus on your audience and only look to your main screen for emphasis, which has the added bonus of reassuring you you’re still on the right path 🙂

  • marv08

    I do exactly the same thing since over a year for lecturing and meetings, but just recently swapped to an iPad Mini. My total bag (with portable 720p projector, Airport Express, iPad mini and 2 power plus one HDMI cables, plus a Lightning to HDMI adapter as a fail safe, is just slightly over 4.5 lbs. Used to be close to 18 lbs before that.

    My only real improvement wish is Apple to give the Apple TV “3” ad hoc WiFi capabilities, so I can eliminate the Express, too. Would also be nice when traveling with the Apple TV, just connect to the hotel TV set and stream from the iPhone or iPad…

  • I picked up a bunch of the older, second hand Airport Express routers that plug into a wall socket for $50 each, they make great instant networks with even fewer cables.

  • YakimaDan

    The problem with the iPad – Apple TV combination is that the mirroring isn’t full screen using Keynote and most apps. You only get full screen for the built in video apps and a few others. I’m a technology director at a high school and it would be a home run if it was truly full screen.

  • Several presenters tried a similar thing at a hackfest this weekend and then iPhone remote failed badly. Wifi made it impossible seeing as every dev was on Wifi right along with the presenter.

  • Why do you need an Airport Express if you have your Mac ? Just create the private network from your Mac: – use the create network link from the Wifi icon in OSX status bar – or even better if your Mac is plugged via ethernet, share that connection via Wifi, you’ll gain internet access as a bonus

    Either way, no Airport needed. Jean-Luc.

    • marv08

      I use a Dell M410HD now. Weighs 2.6 lbs and has a 1280×800 resolution.

  • Haven’t tried it, but I have read that the personal hotspot feature of the iPhone or iPad with cellular can act as the router in this setup. One less thing and you’ll get Internet access.

    • DT

      See reply above 🙂

    • marv08

      Yes, it can and for a short presentation it is feasible.

      The problem is that the hotspot feature drains the iPad/iPhone battery in no time (it would not survive even 50% of a full day training session). The Apple TV is connected to power anyhow, so it would make a lot more sense if it would create the ad hoc network.

      • First, I agree it would make more sense if the Apple TV would create the ad hoc network, but it lacks that capability (unless, possibly, it is jailbroken).

        Second, I don’t know if your battery claim is necessarily true. With screen off, the 3rd/4th gen iPad has been shown by Anandtech to run for 25 hours as a hotspot. That’s supporting four browsers + streaming music. As long as you’re not pounding the cell data, I do not believe the battery drain from the hotspot feature would be nearly as much as the drain from the screen backlight and AirPlay streaming, both of which would be active regardless of setup.

        Alternately, an iPhone left plugged in could be used in place of the Airport Express router, allowing the presenter to roam with the iPad. True, this does not eliminate a device from the mix, but I imagine a presenter with an iPad and Apple TV would normally carry an iPhone anyway.

        • marv08

          I tried it with the iPad (3rd generation) and cell data off and got between 4.5 and 6 hours, depending on the apps used. Might just be that the combination of screen on, AirPlay streaming/mirroring and hotspot are too much.

          The iPhone idea is quite good though (for whatever reason, I did not even think about it), I carry it anyhow (as you say), and the iPhone charger adds almost no bulk at all. Thanks!

  • DT

    @Sumocat:disqus Yeah, you know, I always kind of assumed you could create what was effectively an adhoc between an AppleTV and a hotspot on an applicable iOS device (I mean, it’s really a infrastructure network with the iOS device being both the router and a client).

    Anyway, just did it. Fired up my iPhone 5, enabled the hotspot, connected to the phone network from the AppleTV … Airplay and remote control worked great! Of course it actually gives the AppleTV full internet access in additional to just creating a local network, but still solves the problem of device-to-display for presentations.

    I almost did this the other night, wanted to show pics/videos from the iPhone to the Grandparents, and didn’t have a convenient way to display them on their TV, but taking the very portable AppleTV would’ve been perfect. Yes, Santa will be bringing them their own AppleTV this year 🙂