When Steve Jobs announced the iPad he called it ‘magical.’ Magical seemed a bit silly and somewhat corny. Over the past year and a half or so, the iPad offered more and more to the point that it has truly become magical. And that, perhaps, was the genius of Jobs… the ability to see the magic of the future, today.
The recent update to iOS 5 combined with an Apple TV (ATV) software update confirms the iPad as a serious piece of technology easily accessible to everyday folks, and even lawyers.
You can now, from a chunk of aluminum and glass smaller in size than a legal pad, wirelessly display across the room virtually anything that can be shown on your iPad. Need to show a street scene? Stream Google Earth, wirelessly, straight to a projector, pinch to zoom, swipe to tilt. Need to show detailed anatomy? Fire up Netter’s Atlas and present beautifully detailed anatomical drawings with pinch to zoom. Want a 3D anatomy? Do that too with Visible Body, a really great anatomy app that lacks the fine detail of Netters, but wows with 3D zooming, pan and tilt on all anatomical structures. Need to mark up a PDF or photograph? Yeah, you can do that too, live, in front of the jury. GoodReader, ReaddleDocs and PDF Expert all stream a beautiful mirrored copy of your markups. Need to show a witness interview or video of the scene? Check. Wirelessly.
Want present without simultaneously mirroring your actions to the display? At least three apps recognize the ATV as a separate display and retain the iPad display for the user to manipulate the projected image. TrialPad smartly and critically shows only the particular exhibit, treating the ATV as a secondary display and leaving the iPad screen available for markup and annotation hidden until ready to display. Apple’s Keynote presentation program also uses the ATV as a ‘secondary’ display, again leaving the iPad to function as a presenter only screen where you can view individual slides, highlight the slide on display with a laser pointer, or read your presenter notes. iAnnotate can simultaneously show an exhibit on the projector via ATV, while allowing you to reference your examination outline on the iPad itself. Really, really useful stuff and all from two little tiny pieces of technology that seem so innocuous: a slab of aluminum and glass and a small black cube. Magical.
So, here’s the step by step for doing any of this in a courtroom:
1. An iPad running iOS 5
2. An Apple TV
3. Both devices connected to the same wireless network
4. A projector connected to the Apple TV
The Apple TV uses an HDMI out cable, so your projector will need to be capable of accepting HDMI input (many projectors only accept VGA). Once you have your Apple TV up and running, with the latest software installed, you need to make sure that both the ATV and the iPad are running on the same network. This is the only ‘techy’ part of the whole project and there are three options: First, use whatever wireless network you can find in the vicinity and hope that it is stable and fast enough to support you. Not a very good option, IMHO. Second, and cheapest, pick up an Airport Express and use it to set up a local wireless network. An Airport Express will only set you back about $99 if you pay full retail and can often be found on discount at sites like Other World Computing for as cheap as $59. Third, but not least, set up your MacBook as an ‘ad hoc’ wireless network. Then, connect your iPad and ATV to the MacBook’s ad hoc wireless network.
Once this is all set up, from the home screen double tap the home button or four finger swipe upwards.
Then, swipe the active apps tray in the bottom of the screen to the right.
Now, you should see the AirPlay icon. Tap it and select your ATV and turn mirroring on. Wash, rinse, repeat.