Keynote Review

iWork on iPad

We love our iPad and have been having a blast using it to chat, read comic books, and draw. It's great fun streaming our Netflix rentals and playing games, but what about work? With an upcoming presentation looming it seemed like the perfect time to give Keynote for iPad a spin. We have been long time users of iWork on our Mac and thought it was only logical to purchase Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for the iPad and give it a try. In this installment of iWork on iPad we will review Keynote. On Monday, we will take a look at Pages.One of the things we love about using iWork on our Mac is how incredibly intuitive the software is, we hoped that the experience of using the suite on the iPad would be just as, if not more, intuitive. The iWork suite for the Mac is made up of Keynote '09, Pages '09, and Numbers '09, these apps are available separately for the iPad at the price of $9.99 each.

Opening the App
When you launch Keynote on your iPad you are greeted with your document manager. In the document manager you can view your existing Keynote presentations as stacks of paper and easily slide your finger to scroll through them and select which one you would like to open. You can also easily create a new presentation from document manager as well as delete any of your existing presentations.

Just like with Keynote on the Mac, the iPad app comes with a variety of Apple-designed themes. If you are already an iWork user these themes will look familiar, as they are the same ones that you have been using on your desktop.

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Adding slides is easy, it's as if Apple took the functionality that we love about Keynote on our desktop and figured out how to make it work by using gestures that would be the most familiar to us from using an iPhone. It's pretty brilliant actually, what this boils down to is simply that if you are an iPhone or iPod Touch and an iWork user using Keynote on your iPad is going to be second nature and not require any head scratching. It will be intuitive and natural, like you've been using this app for years. It's as easy as scrolling, tapping, and dragging. Use the slide navigator to scroll through your slides. Tap to add a new slide from the Apple-designed slide master. Drag to reposition a slide — or even multiple slides at a time.Tap and drag. It really is that easy.

As in Keynote for your desktop, access to your media browser is only a click, err tap, away. Tap to open the media browser and add photos and movies from your library. Or add shapes, tables, charts, or text. You can even paste content copied from other iWork apps, Safari, or Mail on your iPad. Tap an object with your finger and drag a corner to resize it, twist to rotate it, or drag it to a new location. While I was on location about to give my presentation, it was easy to open up my media browser while looking at my presentation and decide on whether or not to swap an image.

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There was a delay before my presentation and I decided to take that time to check out some of the transition effects available on the app. Transitions are easy to add with the iPad's signature pop-over style menus. We do wish however that there was an easier way to add the same transition for all of the slides and graphs. It would be great to tell the iPad, "cube transition for all slides and dissolve for all graphs," instead of having to select each transition and animation individually.

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Keynote on iPad, like Keynote on your desktop, plays well with others. You can import Microsoft PowerPoint files and presentations you create in Keynote on your iPad can be exported as Keynote files for Mac or PDF documents, so you can attach them to an email. You can also upload your presentation to iWork.com public beta. So anyone can see your slides, whether they use a Mac or a PC. Unlike Keynote on the desktop, you cannot export these files as PowerPoint or Quicktime. We think this is a big issue if you need to share presentations quickly with those who are not Keynote users and do not just want to look a PDF of the slides.

To add files to your iPad you have a few options. You can either email these files to yourself, or use iTunes. The Apps tab in iTunes allows you to import Keynote or Powerpoint files. This tab is also where you would find the Keynote file you exported as a PDF. We wish that when we plugged in our iPad we could just drag and drop files onto it instead of going through iTunes, but it looks like that functionality is simply the stuff of dreams right now.

Delivering a Presentation
One of the weakest points about this app is how it works when you connect the VGA adapter in order to use a projector to give a presentation. Unlike on the iPhone Keynote remote, the presenter view is non-existent. In order to see your slides, you have to look at what is being projected. When in presenter mode (what happens when you use the VGA adapter for video out), all you see are arrows allowing you to change the direction of which slides are going to appear next. No presenter notes, no slide preview, and no viewing of your slides while in this mode. This is definitely something that should be improved upon as it's kind of a deal breaker when it comes to the iPad as a presentation tool. To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous giving my presentation, and not being able to see my presenter notes or a slide preview really did not help my nerves. It was not reassuring in the least to look down at my iPad and only see arrows allowing me to select which direction for my next slide. If you are anything like me and enjoy being able to see what slides are coming next and read your notes, stick to using your laptop and Keynote remote for presentations.

Conclusion
All in all we think this app is a good start, and while we do enjoy using it, we still prefer using our Mac to create presentations. We love the portability aspect of being able to take our Keynote documents with us and edit them on the fly. This came especially handy when I needed to make a last minute change to a Keynote presentation about 15 minutes before I was scheduled to deliver it. We think the two things that cry out for improvement are the presenter view when connected to a projector and more export options.

[Images: Joelle Alcaidinho & Apple]

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.

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