I was thrilled to hear that current apps will be compatible with the iPad, but I’m more excited for apps that haven’t been written yet. Apps for the iPhone and iPod touch are designed for use while being held. There’s an exciting new use case that […]


I was thrilled to hear that current apps will be compatible with the iPad, but I’m more excited for apps that haven’t been written yet. Apps for the iPhone and iPod touch are designed for use while being held. There’s an exciting new use case that comes with the iPad — when it’s sitting in the dock. Owners not only have a new device to read news while on the couch, but they also have the perfect peripheral display.

What’s a peripheral display? Something that provides basic information without distracting you from your primary task. It runs silently in the background and it’s there when you need to retrieve some glanceable information. You already use plenty of them every day: clocks, stock tickers, weather icons, unread email icons, etc. I currently use one app on my iPhone as a peripheral display: Flip Clock. I think we are soon going to see a lot more apps like this.

My perfect peripheral display app would come with a few basic widgets like a clock, calendar, stocks, weather, and access to photos on the iPad. The app could then offer upgrades (perhaps $2.99 each) for access to services like Flickr, Picasa, Twitter, Facebook, CNN (and other news sites), etc. The app could be free with the requirement that one of the widgets shows advertisements. A quick paid upgrade (perhaps $9.99) would remove the ads and offer a spot for another widget.

I’ve taken the liberty of mocking up in Photoshop what this app may look like using the iPad GUI. Below you can see a few basic widgets, a tweet that changes every few minutes, and a photo slideshow powered by Flickr. The tweet includes a link which when tapped should close this app and launch Safari. This applies to the other widgets too; tapping them should launch their corresponding apps. Interactivity makes this app better than any digital picture frame available.

There are tons of apps that provide basic information, but now they can be combined to take advantage of the larger screen.

Now that I’ve filled your head with ideas, go build it! Just think of me when you publish the app to the store. Also, let me know if you think this is a good idea.

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  1. Have you seen the app my desk? Sounds like what you are describing here.

  2. You can put Dashboard in developer mode and add a 9″ USB display for a lot less than $499.

    1. I don’t plan on moving my 24″ iMac into my living room.

  3. davidscubadiver Sunday, February 28, 2010

    I don’t think the idea here is to come up with the cheapest way to do something, but rather, how to have a “nice feature” to be used when you are not using the device which will be used for more than simply a display.

  4. Take a look at http://www.AssemblyApps.com. Assembly lets you build your own apps using widgets. Add weather, clocks, facebook, twitter, gps etc to create the peripheral screen of your choosing.

  5. Mobility turns Stationary « Emily Aitken's Blog Sunday, February 28, 2010

    [...] Klein, a writer for The Apple Blog, described the iPad as a Peripheral Display. Mimicking that of a laptop, these accessories allow [...]

  6. +1 for being 4:20pm in your mockup iPad world

    1. i dont understand?

  7. The iPad as a Peripheral Display | VisualBloc.com Sunday, February 28, 2010
  8. This can already be done – http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/bfa3/. It’s a USB monitor that you can use as a secondary display – and it’s a touch device!

    1. That requires a COMPUTER.
      Do you have a computer on your end table in your living room? What about your kitchen?

      P.S. I own a Mimo. It’s great.

  9. A fullscreen webpage with widgets would be the way to go since the iPad won’t allow multiple apps to run at the same time. Still, you’d have to sync your calendar to a web-based service. Shouldn’t be to hard to set something like this up.

  10. The 4:20 is a classy touch on your mock up.

  11. We’re building something a little like this – it’s a mini-dashboard with widgets for time, weather, news, twitter, flickr, a music player and a notepad (if the app takes off, we’ll be adding more widgets based on what our users ask for). We had been building for the iPhone but will certainly be creating a version of the iPad as well. The iPhone version should be complete by the end of this week – I’ll post a link with screenshots once we are ready.

  12. You could just use something like Netvibes or Pageflakes to do this with Safari, as one commenter put it, you can’t run multiple apps.

  13. We’re obviously thinking along similar lines – check out our recent blog post and mock ups:



    We’re working on the real app now and I, for one, can’t wait to have my iPad sitting on my desk :)

  14. Steve Auerweck Monday, March 1, 2010

    How about apps that let you sync the contents of Mac Widgets / PC Gadgets from your desktop machine?

  15. So a kind of multitasking screen saver for the iPad? Cool. Please be customizable though! – not everyone needs stock info.

  16. Tuesday Morning News | MacTalk Australia Monday, March 1, 2010

    [...] would you use your iPad? David Klein over at the apple blog wants to use his primarily as a peripheral display for widgets. What do we [...]

  17. Top Posts — WordPress.com Monday, March 1, 2010

    [...] The iPad as a Peripheral Display I was thrilled to hear that current apps will be compatible with the iPad, but I’m more excited for apps that [...] [...]

  18. Hey guys,

    Not sure if this is the right section to post this in as it’s sort of off topic.

    I found a leaked copy of Iron Man 2 online at this site: http://550s.info/iron-man-2

    It’s not supposed to be out for another few months but this must’ve got leaked from the studio or something because it’s a good quality copy.

    Anyway hope you guys enjoy it, if anyone else knows of a better copy than this one out there then PM me and let me know.

  19. Onkyo TX-SR702 :Home Audio-Video Receivers Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    [...] The iPad as a Peripheral Display [...]

  20. Butterflies on Display | Models In Paper Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    [...] The iPad as a Peripheral Display [...]

  21. I just found this forum and I must say that I’m glad I did. I hope to bring something to the community as I have already found some interesting topics.

    Hailing from the Dirty South (United States for those that don’ know).

  22. Hello!

    When you picture a galaxy in your mind’s eye, it’s often a spiral with magnificent structure — long, swirling, milky-white arms of stars and gas…!


    …didn’t find it on 3gweek.net :)

    Sorry, if choose “http://theappleblog.com/2010/02/28/ipad-dashboard-peripheral-display/” incorrectly! Move it, please!

  23. 陈轶的盛夏厅 » iPad应用的思考 Friday, March 5, 2010

    [...] 2,类似数码相册的应用,比如FlipClock 。装饰用。这个文章里面有详细的设想,还有一张PS出来的图。 [...]

  24. 陈轶的盛夏厅 » iPad相关汇总贴 Friday, March 19, 2010

    [...] 将 iPad作为辅助显示器用peripheral-display 原创的话痨如需转载请注明来源:http://blog.chenyi1976.com/blog/11077;转载的文章我会力所能及地注明来源如有疏漏请留言指正。 [...]

  25. vafeEmbermbab Sunday, March 21, 2010

    My PC worked not correctly, many mistakes and buggs. Please, help me to fix errors on my computer. Like a http://www.msn.com/ please.
    My operation system is Windows XP.

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