Presenting Wirelessly with the iPad

David Sparks is a tremendous source of tips and tricks for Mac Power Users. If you haven't read his book Paperless, go download it now. One thing David and I share is that we do a ton of iPad presentations. He recently described setting up a wifi network with an AirPort Express, and then adding his iPad and Apple TV to it in order to present wirelessly. I've tried this before in the past, and found it to be too time consuming to setup. Also, I never really like it when the audience see's advertisements on the Apple TV interface. So, here's what I do.

The Hardware

The only hardware I have is a MacBook Air and a Verizon iPad. On the Mac, I run a little utility called Reflector, which wirelessly advertises the Mac as an AirPlay destination. On the iPad, I turn on the personal hotspot, and join the Mac to it. Now, the iPad is able to get LTE internet and AirPlay to the Mac.

Other benefits

  • The Mac can do HDMI or VGA out, unlike the Apple TV, so I can plug into any projector.
  • Fewer hardware makes for quick and easy troubleshooting.
  • If I need to quickly demo a Mac app, I just scoot aside the Reflector window a bit.
  • No Apple TV interface. One tip that I'll definitely be implementing is his pre-recorded screencasts for demos which require an internet connection. I've certainly been made to look foolish when I need to demo Dropbox in a concrete basement auditorium.