Understanding the iPad VGA Adapter

Understanding the iPad VGA Adapter

Summary: Customers of the iPad VGA Adapter may be confused with its actual capabilities. Unlike a MacBook or a Mac desktop machine, the iPad with a VGA Adapter won't let the iPad mirror its screen to an external display.

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TOPICS: Hardware, iPad, Mobility
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Customers of the iPad VGA Adapter may be confused with its actual capabilities. Unlike a MacBook or a Mac desktop machine, the iPad with a VGA Adapter won't let the iPad mirror its screen to an external display. At the same time, there are interesting new applications that let Mac users put a part of their desktop on an iPad. On his blog, developer Matt Gemmell reminds readers of the confusion. It's not like Steve Jobs' keynotes where the entire iPad screen is shown on the overhead projector. Instead, it's all about the app showing what it wants to show.
Apps that want to support external display via the adapter must explicitly do so; the developer has to write code to support it. There are some standard iPhone OS-supplied APIs which will automatically do the right thing (such as video playback via standard controllers), but generally you won’t see anything on your external display unless the app you’re using has taken steps to put something there. That's the “bad” (though surely not surprising) news.
So, it's up to developers and the application what will be displayed on the external display. If it's a video app, only the video may be presented. The controls, of course, will be visible (and useable) on the iPad. In the other direction, I recently purchased Avatron Software's interesting Air Display, a combination of an iPad app and Mac application that makes the iPad a peripheral of a Mac desktop or MacBook, in this case an extension of the Mac display. The software uses WiFi to link the displays.

Avatron has lots of ideas for its use:
Some great uses for Air Display: Fill your iPad screen with your utility apps, like iChat, Mail, iCal, and Calculator. Graphic designers: Make Photoshop and Illustrator usable on your laptop by putting your tool palettes on the iPad screen. Musicians: Use your iPad as the ultimate control surface for Logic or Pro Tools. Programmers: Use the extra display area for such auxiliary development tools as Console, Terminal, and the Debugger. Business professionals: Move all of your iWork and Office palettes and inspector windows onto the iPad, and let your document fill the screen.
It works. After downloading both Mac and iPad apps, I was able quickly to link up the displays. I moved my iChat Buddy List over to the iPad. It took my finger input as a click to initiate a chat; the chat window came up on my MacBook Pro display. Check Out: Apps that turn your iPhone/iPod Touch into an external peripheral I could move windows across the gap between the displays, even though the iPad was placed on its back on the desk. It's all virtual.

Topics: Hardware, iPad, Mobility

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  • Default should be on, off should be specified (nt)

    .
    x21x
    • <a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/f82.html">iphone</a>

      @x21x When NonZealot can find uses for his iPad that require mirroring, and he can't do it - then he will have some reason to complain - until then he is just keeping Mr Ballmer happy in pretending this whole iPad thing will all go away and they can get back to business as usual.
      frank dib
      • <a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/f81.html">blackberry</a>

        @frank dib Fingers in ears, and hands over eyes time. Keep shouting insults in-between chanting 'it's just a cult, it's just another PC, it's because of the turtle-neck sweaters...' and all will be as it was.
        frank dib
  • Wow, that's really unintuitive

    So you just never know what you are going to get when you plug in an external monitor with the iPad? Some apps behave one way, some behave another way? How very, very confusing!!

    This post brought to you by all the Apple zealots who claim that everything Apple stea... um... creates is easy to learn because everything is so consistent.
    NonZealot
  • It just works...

    unless it doesn't!
    Scubajrr
    • Or maybe you expect that the iPad is just another laptop?

      @Scubajrr & @NonZealot

      This seems counter-intuitive to me too.

      The thing I have come to realise about the iPad is that it is not a laptop or desktop PC, if it was it would be one of those devices that HP and MS have been trying to sell since around 2000 - the devices that hardly anybody buys!!!

      The iPad is new, the concept is different, what the VGA output is for is different.

      Is Apple right about this behaviour? we shall see.

      Should it be an option to mirror the screen? I would have thought so, but then I have not used an iPad for more than 5 minutes - so I wouldn't know what an iPad user will do with their VGA output.

      You would assume that keynote would run on the VGA output. You would assume that any video playback app would run on the VGA output.

      You would hope that App developers will make sensible choices for what to use the output for.

      When NonZealot can find uses for his iPad that require mirroring, and he can't do it - then he will have some reason to complain - until then he is just keeping Mr Ballmer happy in pretending this whole iPad thing will all go away and they can get back to business as usual.

      Fingers in ears, and hands over eyes time. Keep shouting insults in-between chanting 'it's just a cult, it's just another PC, it's because of the turtle-neck sweaters...' and all will be as it was.
      richardw66
  • The Air Display app is pretty cool

    unless you try to use the screen for more than just relatively static graphics, at least. Maybe if they got it to work on USB tethering, it would be a really usable second display for motion graphics as well.
    nix_hed
  • I'm just loving the 200% profit I've made on my Apple stock! (NT)

    NT
    The Danger is Microsoft
  • New app takes advantage of the VGA Adapter

    To circumvent Safari shortcomings when it comes to the VGA Adapter, check out "Web Presentation", an app that mirrors(*) both web site content and videos.

    (*) Technically, mirroring shows the exact same content on both screens. Hence "mirror". However, while "Web Presentation" displays the web content on both screens, the panels and controls stick to the device (keyboard entry, URL, video controls, etc.). As such, the external screen behaves like a secondary screen, with its own content and resolution.

    Incidentally, being an entirely different entity is the reason why that screen stays black with all but a handful of apps.
    plantanium
  • RE: Understanding the iPad VGA Adapter

    Incidentally, being an entirely differen<a href="http://vb.maas1.com">t</a>
    entity is the reason why that screen stays black with all but a handful of apps.
    maascom