Poorly informed critics knock the iPad for "lacking business functionality." But the truth is the iPad possesses tremendous professional potential. That's one of the reasons Apple just sold three million of the tablets in four days. Yet, despite all the hype surrounding the device, many business users are unaware of just how easy it is to leverage iPads for presentations, in meetings, and when hosting seminars.
Possibly the easiest method for connecting iPads to large displays is using adapters. One end of the $39 Apple Digital AV Adapter plugs into the iPad's dock connector. The adapter's other end contains an HDMI port, enabling users to connect an HDMI cable to monitors, video projectors, conference room displays and widescreen flat panels. Since the adapter leverages HDMI technology, the adapter passes both audio and video information to the display.
Business professionals that rely upon iPads to fuel presentations need not worry the iPad's power will flake out. The Digital AV Adapter includes a built-in 30-pin connector to enable the tablet to continue charging while powering the presentation.
Using the Digital AV Adapter, the iPad's display can be mirrored to HDMI-compatible displays. Whatever appears on the iPad's display appears on the external monitor to which the adapter is connected. Video quality is impressive, as the iPad's display is mirrored in up to 1080p HD with movies playing back in 720p HD.
The $29 Apple VGA Adapter is another alternative. The device enables video mirroring on iPad 2 and later iPads. Using the VGA adapter, slideshows, video and other presentation material can be displayed on VGA-compatible 1080p HD screens. Just as with the Digital AV Adapter, movie playback is at 720p HD on compatible monitors.
Using an Apple TV connected to a large screen, presenters can also use iPads to wirelessly stream videos and even mirror the iPad's display on large monitors. AirPlay makes it possible. The technology enables iOS devices to stream audio and video to a display connected to the Apple TV.
The iOS and Apple TV devices need only to be on the same Wi-Fi network. When the two devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, the AirPlay icon will automatically appear (assuming AirPlay is enabled within the Apple TV's Settings menu). Tapping the AirPlay icon within specific apps streams the app's contents to the large screen display.
Users can also mirror the iPad display on the large screen (connected by an Apple TV) by selecting the feature on the iPad. To do so, users should press the Home button twice, scroll to the right to access Controls and press the AirPlay icon (which appears as a rectangle pierced by a triangle).
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.