Presenting from an iPad

Earlier this year, I was at the Cascade Users Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, not just as an attendee, but a presenter. This was my first professional presentation in front of an audience of technically oriented people. I was very concerned about how I was going to present. Not what I was going to present, but how. In previous years, I would have brought my laptop to take notes and present from. This year, being the year of the iPad, I decided to do my entire presentation from my iPad.

I used Keynote to develop the presentation. Given the multitasking and drag-and-drop opportunities, building the presentation was easy. Displaying it was still a question though.

Hannon Hill, the conference host sent details about the presentation environment, but I was not going to take any chances. Two is one and one is none. I wanted to do the presentation without being tethered to the podium. I have seen many presentation where the presenter was standing behind the podium, which I find boring. Additionally, I did not want to use a “clicker”. I figured there had to be away to just use iOS to complete the entire presentation.

It turns out that an iPhone can be used as a remote. I tested it at home and it worked perfectly, giving me a preview of my next slide and any notes I had. It seemed very natural to present with a phone in my hand. But, given the nature of my presentation environment, I could not be sure it would work.

Here is what I brought:

  1. Apple TV and HDMI cable
  2. Lighting to HDMI adapter
  3. PDF, Powerpoint, and Keynote versions of my presentation stored in iCloud
  4. A colleague who brought their laptop

As a last resort, I could commandeer my colleague’s laptop and use it to get my presentation done. This was the absolute last resort.

At the beginning of my presentation day, I scoped out the podium, the connections available, and watched how others presented. The venue had a technical crew which was very good, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. When it came time to setup for my presentation, I came armed with what I thought would do the trick, my 12.9 iPad Pro, a Lightning to HDMI adapter, an Amazon battery brick and Lightning cable, and my iPhone.

The setup was simple: iPad with HDMI adapter plugged in both to the battery pack and the HDMI in the podium. The phone was able to connect to the iPad via the conference wifi, but I was ready to setup my phone as a hotspot and have the iPad connect to my phone if the wifi was terrible. Luckily it was not.

My setup worked without a hitch.

Ultimately, I gave my presentation. Probably a little faster than I should have, but on the whole it was very well received. When I was done with my presentation, the venue’s tech crew came up and started asking me questions about how I had set up my presentation. They were impressed and took down some notes for future presenters. While I definitely saw more iPads being used for note taking and email, I’m pretty sure I was the only one using just iOS to present.