iPad Keynote, Still No Remote

In addition to releasing the 4.2 iPad update this week, Apple also updated Keynote for iPad. The update solves several shortcomings with the prior version including an overhaul of the presenter display. You can now see your presenter notes or the next slide on your iPad while you present, a feature that probably should have existed from the beginning.

Despite these improvements, iPad Keynote still has one fatal defect: lack of support for a remote. Watch anyone who gives presentations with any regularity (even Steve) and they will use a remote. Having to stop in the middle of your presentation to stab at your keyboard or (worse) look down at the iPad and fumble around for the slide advance button is just not acceptable. It distracts the audience and, more importantly, the speaker. I’ve tried several work arounds including using a paired Bluetooth keyboard (no dice) and even a failed attempt to use a USB remote dongle plugged into the camera connection kit (which of course would use up the dock connector prohibiting VGA connection even if it worked). I still use iPad Keynote in small settings but until Apple builds in remote slide advance capabilities, it remains crippled for many uses.

So what kind of remote would I like? Ideally a Bluetooth “clicker” style remote. It just needs a few buttons: forward, backward, and a laser pointer for good measure. Apple has a Keynote Remote App for the iPhone that lets you advance Keynote presentations on your Mac but it does not currently work with the iPad. Also, I consider using the iPhone as a remote as a distant second choice to a traditional clicker. Using the phone still requires you to look down to swipe or gesture and often involves setting up dodgy temporary networks.