I admitted being an iPad app junky and a reader mentioned an app for the iPad that I tried, and it is so useful I shot a video to show it in action. Air Display turns the iPad into a wireless external monitor for any Mac.

Air Display

I admitted being an iPad app junky and the ensuing commentary was enlightening. A great app for the iPad was mentioned that I tried, and it is so useful I shot a video to show how it works. Air Display turns the iPad into a wireless external monitor for any Mac (and we’re all about wireless solutions, check out our Structure 10 conference in June), and it works very well. The app is installed on the iPad and a server app is installed on the Mac and then it is ready to go.

The iPad running Air Display works like any monitor on the Mac, and is configurable using the standard OS X Display Preferences. The iPad works as a monitor in any orientation, so you can use it any way you please. Air Display is pricy at $9.99, but it is the equivalent of buying a new monitor for your Mac.

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  1. It’s annoying that one can’t download those videos. :-(

    Not everybody lives in high-bandwidth country to watch your videos online again and again…

  2. That looks very impressive. Thanks for taking the time to shoot this video.

  3. Just seen that in my own eyes in the next room 15 minutes ago. A fellow senior director who’s office is just next to mine just showed me how his new macbook pro and personal iPad join together :)
    He said – the imagination is the limit. Well he is an Apple junkie where I will never get an Apple device for myself as being the Google disciple. But still very impressive nonetheless.


  4. Simon Mackie Thursday, June 3, 2010

    I think the most interesting use case here is being able to have a dual-monitor setup while on the road: portable productivity!

    1. Yep, dual monitor setup in the coffee shop. Very nice indeed.

  5. I know you had stated that it acts just like a monitor but I was curious whether it also supports any of the touch characteristics of the iPad on the displayed screen (not sure if that is even possible but would be really cool)

    1. David, it supports single touch only it would appear.

    2. James Kendrick David Thursday, June 3, 2010

      Single touches on the iPad move the cursor there, but do not click the mouse.

      1. Thanks Gavin/James for the response

  6. Thanks James for the great review. I am heading to app store as we speak to get this app !! :) Well spending $9.99 on AppStore (since I bought the most expensive apps, Omni Graffle) feels nothing now :) Have you tried LogMeIn apps for iPad (it’s pricey too). It works really really well.

    1. I have used LogMeIn since day one and even did a video review of it in action:


  7. cybertactix Friday, June 4, 2010

    Is anyone aware of a similar appication which works with Windows?

    1. I think it is possible to use MaxiVista to add a virtual monitor and a VNC server to throw the output onto a VNC client (of which there are a few) on the iPad. The fellow who developed MaxiVista is promising something for the iPad which is probably some no-fuss simplification of this. The Air Display people is also promising a Windows version of the server side of their app.

      I am waiting to compare these solutions so that I can run the iPad and my Motion LS800 running Widows 7 side by side.

      1. Yes, we are pretty advanced and currently doing final tests of MaxiVista for iPad.

        Here is a video preview:

        Stay tuned! ;-)

        MaxiVista Team

  8. Paul Ferrill Friday, June 4, 2010

    Any idea if you can use it as your primary display? If so, I could take my Mac mini and the iPad on a trip and use the two together…

    1. I used to do this with a TabletPC and a Mac Mini some years back. All you need is to install a VNC client on the iPad. MacOSX has a VNC eserver built-in nowadays. I did this in the days of the Mac Mini G5 running Tiger. If I remember correctly, the only possible glitch for me was that the display resolution would be retained in the Mac Mini between reboots and that resolution would be used when it booted without a display plugged-in. The problem for me was that I had a high resolution display that I would plug in to the Mini from time to time. Since my TabletPC had a lower resolution, I’d end up with having to scroll the desktop on the VNC viewer (client.) To solve this I would just plug it in to a different display before powering off the Mini to take it on the road.

  9. I think it would be cooler the other way around. Display iPad images in that beautiful external display.

  10. I have this app, and you can definitely use it as the primary screen.

    However, I do not know if you can use it as the only screen for use with your mac mini. Also, both the ipad and the mac mini would have to be on the same local network BEFORE the ipad could begin acting as the display. Also, you have to select the ipad as your display from the menubar before the connection between the two is initiated. In other words, the mac doesn’t automatically find and connect to the ipad, you have to tell it to begin using the ipad.

    Therefore, I do not see how you could make it work with the mac mini and no other monitor, because you would not be able to start the connection in the first place. Maybe in some future update there will be an option to automatically initiate the connection?

    The app is probably worth the $10, especially if the new 4.0 multitasking will allow you to keep it in the background so that you can use your ipad for ipad stuff, and just switch over to the extra monitor function as needed, but without having to restart the app and reinitiate the connection every time.

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