2018 iPad Pro with external monitor - use cases?

elleana

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 30, 2009
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The keynote featured an iPad Pro hooked up via USB-C to an external monitor, which initially seemed pretty awesome to me, then I sat down and thought about it for a bit, and realized it wouldn't work.

Fundamentally the iPad is still a touch-screen based device, so to input data (apart from typing on an external keyboard) you still need to look at the screen to know when / where to touch. An external monitor can't support this, so what is the point? A larger screen for media consumption, but apart from that?

Or am I missing something and this is the next killer feature?!?
 

colmaclean

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Jan 6, 2004
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I guess it could be used for showing presentations on a larger screen.

The issue I have with this is that at my work we use Surface Pros which support a trackpad/mouse, so it's possible to use the external display as a second monitor rather than the iPadPro which appears to be restricted to mirroring its internal display.

Note that with an Apple TV and Airplay it's been possible for years to wirelessly show a Keynote presentation externally and also have a separate "presenter display" on the source device with additional notes etc. Obviously this may not have the same image quality as the direct USB-C connection...
 

danmart

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Apr 24, 2015
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In general, you are not missing anything, no. The only ‘revolution’ of connectivity from USB-C is the ability to output 4K. The iPad has been able to drive a secondary screen for a long time (I had a 30-pin adapter for this long ago, and have a Lightning one at the moment). It is useful for presentations or playing media on a TV / projector.

But it could be used for more. I have an app that turns my iPad into a touch keyboard and track pad for my Mac. I wouldn’t want to do complex work with it, but it proves the concept. I can easily see that you could run a desktop style mouse environment on the big screen and just use the iPad as an input mechanism. Or use Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and basically have the iPad in a clamshell-style mode.
 

bandrews

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Jul 18, 2008
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The keynote featured an iPad Pro hooked up via USB-C to an external monitor, which initially seemed pretty awesome to me, then I sat down and thought about it for a bit, and realized it wouldn't work.

Fundamentally the iPad is still a touch-screen based device, so to input data (apart from typing on an external keyboard) you still need to look at the screen to know when / where to touch. An external monitor can't support this, so what is the point? A larger screen for media consumption, but apart from that?

Or am I missing something and this is the next killer feature?!?
With iMovie you can have the edit interface on the iPad and full screen preview on the monitor. I'm guessing more apps like the Adobe CC apps will eventually implement something similar.

https://9to5mac.com/2018/11/07/imovie-garageband-iwork/
 

elleana

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 30, 2009
229
9
With iMovie you can have the edit interface on the iPad and full screen preview on the monitor. I'm guessing more apps like the Adobe CC apps will eventually implement something similar.

https://9to5mac.com/2018/11/07/imovie-garageband-iwork/
This seems interesting but is an incremental good-to-have rather than anything revolutionary.

I guess what would be revolutionary would be the implementation of mouse pointer support, but if wishes were horses...
 

danmart

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Apr 24, 2015
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I guess what would be revolutionary would be the implementation of mouse pointer support, but if wishes were horses...
I anticipate getting this once ipads are reliably as powerful (and costly...) as MacBooks. We are almost there with the new Pros! :D

So, 2020 for the tenth anniversary iPad would be my guess.
 

T-Bob

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Oct 23, 2013
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Yeah tried it on the LG 4K monitor and it’s a bit anticlimactic. The cropped screen shows for most tasks, but some apps like Plex will play video on monitor and leave controls on pad. As a side note I did get usb keyboard working which was pleasant surprise, if only mouse worked too!
 

bandrews

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Jul 18, 2008
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This seems interesting but is an incremental good-to-have rather than anything revolutionary.

I guess what would be revolutionary would be the implementation of mouse pointer support, but if wishes were horses...
Potentially good for creatives - saves having to own a mac and say a Wacom Cintiq as you can work with the Pencil on the tablet and see the results on the big screen.

But you're right - I still don't really see right now why anyone who does a lot of typing/spreadsheets etc would buy an iPad over a MacBook.
 

rmariboe

macrumors member
May 27, 2015
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Remote Desktop: Have the remote desktop display on the external monitor with list of servers and trackpad functionality on iPad - or why not attach mouse via BT and interpret the signals in the app rather than hoping for future native iPad mouse support?
 

Hym tix

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Sep 21, 2012
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This topic is very interesting. The potential is big, but at the moment the only thing apps are doing is : 1. 4k video out to the external monitor or 2. mirror the iPad display and scale it up to 4k.

I am really curious if there is a iOS limitation forcing only these two options. Could apps have a UI that uses the iPad a trackpad? Can iOS actually allow for a second display that is not just mirrored or sending 4k video? Is the limitation on iOS? or that app developers haven't had the creativity to go beyond the standard uses?

@rmariboe is on to something here. For me, the ultimate "external Monitor" setup would be for an app to:
  1. recognize when an external monitor is plugged in
  2. then display the primary UI on the external monitor in up to 4k resolution
  3. put a trackpad option on the iPad screen that can be opened/ closed easily to use a standard mouse pointer on the external monitor so that users can interact with it similar to regular desktop apps.
With this setup and a BT keyboard, so many apps would be exponentially more useful. Remote Desktop, Excel, plus all the video/photo editing apps.

Also, this setup would negate the entire debate about pining for mouse support in iOS. iPad becomes the mouse.
 
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rmariboe

macrumors member
May 27, 2015
41
16
Copenhagen, Denmark
Dug a bit further into this - there actually exists a solution of sorts:
Jump Desktop utilizes an external monitor for the active remote desktop and supports the two mice that currently exist for the iPad(!!); Citrix X1 and Swiftpoint GT.
The GT actually seems pretty innovative and by far the sleekest looking option. It's $200 in Denmark but Danish online consumer law - which also covers online app purchases - gives me the right to return a product within a two weeks trial period so I'll be looking into that option. As an IT infrastructure architect and consultant with access to a sufficiently large virtualization platform, I soo want the iPad to be my primary workstation with VMs for everything the iPad won't (yet) do :)
 

danmart

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Apr 24, 2015
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Can iOS actually allow for a second display that is not just mirrored or sending 4k video? Is the limitation on iOS? or that app developers haven't had the creativity to go beyond the standard uses?
Yes it can. I had a driving game that, when you plug it into a TV, the game is shown on the big screen and the iOS device just shows controls and a map IIRC (haven’t played it in years). You even steered by turning the device like a steering wheel, it was pretty well implemented.
 
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Hym tix

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Sep 21, 2012
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Yes it can. I had a driving game that, when you plug it into a TV, the game is shown on the big screen and the iOS device just shows controls and a map IIRC (haven’t played it in years). You even steered by turning the device like a steering wheel, it was pretty well implemented.
thats what I am talking about! The iPad should be able to display primary content to the external 4k monitor and secondary info on the iPad. Its promising to know that it has been possible on previous iOS versions.
 

ahostmadsen

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Dec 28, 2009
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thats what I am talking about! The iPad should be able to display primary content to the external 4k monitor and secondary info on the iPad. Its promising to know that it has been possible on previous iOS versions.
It's possible. Powerpoint, Keynote, PDFexpert etc can do presentation on external monitors. Other apps, where relevant, could also take advantage of it.
 

Hym tix

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Sep 21, 2012
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yeah, good examples. I forgot about those presentation apps. It seems to support that "extended display" is possible, not just mirrored display or video out.

But what I'm mostly referring to is a UI where the user is directly interacting with and manipulating the content on the external screen. I haven't seen any apps really make use of this. Its more than just displaying a presentation or swiping through slides. The driving game mentioned above is the closest I've heard of. I hope we see more development in this area; there is so much potential.
 
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rmariboe

macrumors member
May 27, 2015
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Copenhagen, Denmark
yeah, good examples. I forgot about those presentation apps. It seems to support that "extended display" is possible, not just mirrored display or video out.

But what I'm mostly referring to is a UI where the user is directly interacting with and manipulating the content on the external screen. I haven't seen any apps really make use of this. Its more than just displaying a presentation or swiping through slides. The driving game mentioned above is the closest I've heard of. I hope we see more development in this area; there is so much potential.
I have a few remote desktop (RDP/VNC) apps like that - where the iPad/iPhone acts as trackpad to the remote desktop shown on the external display - but most show the remote desktop on both displays and offer a "trackpad mode" which works equally well.