The long awaited upgrade of the iPad operating system to iOS 4.2 finally arrived and in this post I would like to share my first impressions, particularly with regard to how it effects mobile presenters.

Earlier in the year I criticised the iPad and it’s presentation app keynote due to a number of shortcomings in the first version of the software. Well I am pleased to report that Apple have obviously been listening and along with the release of iOS 4.2 that have taken the opportunity to upgrade Keynote for the iPad.

It’s still not perfect but it is a big improvement and makes the use of the iPad as a mobile presentation tool a real option now.

The main improvements are:
1) The addition of an improved presenter display that shows the current slide, the next slide, or your notes on the iPad screen whilst projecting the slide when connected to an external display.

You can now choose from a limited set of presenter view options via a simple drop down menu.

Current slide: That’s the default view – it’ll always display your current slid

Next slide: That option only displays the next slide.

This and the next slide: Shows both the current and the next slide side by side.

This slide and notes: Shows your current slide and your notes for that slide.

2)Improved import of Keynote ’09 and PowerPoint presentations including speaker notes.
Apple have clearly improved the conversion features of keynote for the iPad.

In version one, speaker notes were not imported And had to be recreated from scratch. This serious omission has now been fixed and seems to work quite well,

My wish list for the future:

An iPhone remote control app that would allow the iPhone to advance slides playing in keynote on the iPad.

Ability to easily blank the screen in between slides

The ability to show The safari browser on an external monitor via the VGA adaptor

The ability to show embedded videos and or audio in presentations


  1. Max Atkinson on 16/12/2010 at 11:45

    On blanking the screen between slides, I’ve always found it easier to insert slides with an all black background, which does the same job and, arguably does it more seamlessly – on which you can read more in the chapters on visual aids in my book ‘Lend Me Your Ears: All you need to know about making speeches and presentations’:

    • Gavin Meikle on 16/12/2010 at 19:21

      Thanks for sharing your suggestion Max. Inserting blank slides is certainly an option, assuming that you know in advance where you need a blank slide. I tend to find that sometimes I need to insert a blank slide “on the fly” during the presentation when I am responding to audience questions. I currently use PowerPoint on my Laptop and use the “B” key on the keyboard or the “Blank screen” button on my Kingston wireless remote to do this, so Keynote’s inability to offer me this simple solution on the iPad is a real frustration. I wonder if anyone else has found a solution?

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