In my “review of the iPad”:/2010/05/ipad-in-myhands/, I said that the iPad is a blank canvas that can become what you want it to be, to be more precise, what kind of apps you install in there. “Air Display”:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/air-display/id368158927?mt=8 by “Avatron Software”:http://avatron.com/apps/air-display/ is a good example of this.
bq. Ever wish you had an extra display for your computer? There’s an app for that! With Air Display, you can use your iPad as a wireless display for your Mac OS X computer.
Yes what it basically does is give you an additional 1024 x 768 of screen real estate when you run the app on your iPad and link it to your Mac (Windows support coming soon) via WiFi. Setting up is pretty straight forward. Once you have purchase and install the app, you will need to “download”:http://avatron.com/spt/download/ and install the support software that will put an icon on your Mac OS X menubar, letting you toggle the connection. Run the app and select the iPad on your Mac and it will extend your screen to the iPad.
It supports your keyboard and mouse input, but also allows you to use the touch screen as an input device, but multi-touch support on the iPad is not available yet while you run Air Display.
As it is connected wirelessly via Wi Fi, performance of how fast the input is, and screen refreshes will depend on your connection. So far, I did not encounter much lag although there might be some screen artefact as you move windows around if your connection is not ideal.
I’ve tried watching movie trailers from “Apple’s Movie trailer”:http://trailers.apple.com/ and clips from “South Park”:http://www.southparkstudios.com – it was pretty decent with no obvious lag.
Even if there are no working Wi Fi network, you can also create a “temporary wireless network”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8339.html with your Mac for your iPad to connect.
The screen will work whether you have your iPad on the landscape or portrait orientation, so it can be use to keep your chat window open there, or having your tool palettes for Photoshop or Word app there while you have your full Mac window for your work.
At US$9.99, the app is not cheap in the modern sense of iPhone/iPad apps but seeing that the app can give you that screen size while you work on your Mac, it might just be the best US$9.99 spent.
Note that for now, only Snow Leopard is supported while Windows support are on the way.
Let us know how “Air Display”:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/air-display/id368158927?mt=8 works for you!