iDisplay allows you to do just that, turning your tablet in to a second monitor for any Mac or PC that you have. Wirelessly. Simply download the iDisplay app from the app store for £2.99, and then head over to the SHAPE services website to grab yourself the corresponding software for your Mac or PC. The software runs on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, as well as Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard for Apple users.
Once you’ve installed the software for your desktop, you’ll need to install it and restart your computer. Then, simply launch up the app on your iPhone or iPad. With the software running on your desktop, your iDevice will automatically detect the presence of the computer, and give you the choice to connect. Tap on “yes”, authorise, and you’ve got yourself a second monitor!
I tried the application running on both the iPhone and iPad, and the iPad experience is a much more pleasant one purely because of the larger screen size and higher resolution. The iPhone would be great for using as a window for your Twitter application, but not much more, whereas I was comfortably controlling my iTunes library and doing some light browsing from the iPad whilst I was running Football Manager 2011 full screen on my laptop.
The connection for the second monitor is made over Wi-Fi, so both devices that you’re using must be connected to your local network and not a 3G network for best results. The display was very usable over Wi-Fi, but if you’re looking for a more permanent solution then I’d recommend buying a dedicated monitor such as the LG Flatron LED monitor we checked out a few months ago.
You can choose to have your device orientated either in portrait or landscape mode, and when you switch you will be prompted to change the resolution to match the orientation. On the iPad, this is the native 768 x 1024 in portrait mode, or 1024 x 768 in landscape. Being prompted to change the resolution by the application is a real time saver, as it means you don’t have to keep on digging around in your display settings for everything to look good.
The quality of the connection is reliant on the speed of your network, so if you have an 802.11n network, then you should be fine. Users with older networks may have mixed results.
As well as using the iPad as a secondary display, you can also use it for some basic input commands. Touching anywhere on the screen places the cursor there, and tapping once clicks. Holding down with one finger simulates a right click for when you need to access a menu inside an application. You can also pull the keyboard up by tapping with two fingers, although I’d save this for emergencies; using a keyboard with the iPad upright is not a great experience.
All things considered, iDisplay is well worth checking out for £2.99. Even if you don’t intend on using it for anything other than a ‘Twitter monitor’ for your iPhone (just so you know, there’s an app for that), the cool factor is worth 3 pounds any day. Check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments!