When I first thought about using my iPad for presenting at conferences and in the classroom, I thought the problem I was trying to solve was rather simple, and if all I wanted to do was connect my iPad to a VGA projector, then the solution is simple. Buy an iPad to VGA adaptor and connect the devices. Done. The problem with that solution is that the iPad is tethered to the projector via a really flimsy connection. The iPad connection port was not designed for something as heavy as the VGA cable (especially the SmartBoard cables). It only took a slight bump of the iPad for the connection to loosen and disconnect, causing the display to go blank. This solution required that the iPad be stationary. It definitely does not use the iPad to its fullest potential.
To use the iPad to its fullest potential, I need a wireless method of connecting the iPad to the display. In the classroom, this allows me to walk around the room and update the screen from wherever I happen to be. It also allows students with iPads to wirelessly project their work. In a conference setting, it means that I can use my iPad to advance my slides and script without the worry of accidently bumping it and disconnecting the display. Initially, I thought this was a simple problem; however, as I worked to find a reliable solution and navigated throught the different applications and blog posts, I didn't see a simple explanation of the problem or where the various solutions fit in.
This is the first post in a series that aims to provide you with a conceptual understanding of the problem, and the technical terminology to allow you to discuss the program intelligently. This is the first step in finding a solution. In follow-up posts, I will review application options and describe how to setup the various components of the solution (for example: setting up an Ad Hoc network, setting up computer mirroring, setting up iPad mirroring).
Since the first step to choosing the appropriate solution is to understand the problem, I created visual drawing to explain the different questions that needed to be answered and provide some insight to the types of solutions that were available. If this isn't clear, or you have question, please leave a comment or email me.