This page covers using iPad/iPad 2 with a VGA connector to connect to a projector or console. I don't have access to a 3rd gen iPad.
Your mileage may vary.
If you have experiences to share, email Laurie and we'll chat.
Original page was written in 2010. Updated 3/14/2011 for the information pertaining to iPad 2.
To connect to our consoles, you must purchase iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter. $29.00 at the bookstore, the Apple Store at Stonestown or Apple's online store.
First Gen iPad only: You will not see the entire iPad interface when connected to a projector. This is a common misconception, brought on by the fact that when Steve Jobs demoed iPad, everything he did was mirrored on the big screen. His iPad is not like yours. VGA output will only work if the app developer has enabled it in the app's code.
The iPad 1 is not compatible with HDMI. You must connect using a VGA cable.
Second Gen iPads will mirror the entire interface.
The VGA connection does not carry sound. Consult the instruction manual for each console. There is a page for computer audio connections. Most consoles have a mini (3.5mm) cable attached to the VGA cable. These cables are designed for use with laptops, so there may not be enough slack to connect the VGA cable to the bottom of iPad and the audio cable which connects to the headphone jack at the top. Other rooms you will need to check out an audio cable from our office. Make sure the volume on your iPad is all the way up and it is not muted before adjusting the volume in the room.
Remove the case or skin to get a clean connection. Several users (including myself) report that the VGA adapter did not work because their case or skin did not allow the connector to seat properly.
iPad is not a laptop replacement. It does not have the processor power, video hardware or RAM to duplicate what a laptop can do. See next item.
Test it before you need it. If you think it will work perfectly the first time you connect to a classroom system, you will be disappointed. Learn the limitations of the device before you use it in class.
When using the adapter, do not hold iPad in your hands. The tension on the connector and weight of the VGA cord will likely cause the adapter to fall out or the dock connector could be damaged. Always lay your iPad down on a table or podium.
Make sure iPad is charged. Because it charges through the dock connector, you cannot charge and use the VGA adapter at the same time.
My research confirms how the following apps will work (an asterisk indicates that I have tested this function):
Keynote Files: (output is 1024x768 resolution) (INFORMATION UPDATED 3/14/11)
You must purchase the Keynote app (version 1.3.1 on iOS 4.2) for $9.99.
Supports Keynote files created in iWork '09 or later.
You can view slides, presenter notes, next slide and slide thumbnails on iPad screen.
When you tap and hold on iPad touchscreen, a red laser will illuminate a spot on your slide.
Multitasking (switching between apps) enabled.
Weblinks in slides do not work when it is in presentation mode (connected to a projector)
It cannot play videos embedded in Keynote slides.
Test the presentation on iPad before you connect it to a projection system.
Apple's Keynote App Presenter Mode Help page: http://help.apple.com/iwork/1.3/safari/index.html#tana4da2681
The Keynote app may not be able to completely render Keynote documents created on your Mac. Transitions, animations, custom fonts and images may be lost.
Option: Create the presentation on iPad or create very basic presentations on your Mac and import to Keynote through iTunes.
PowerPoint Files: There is no PowerPoint app.
Keynote app (version 1.3.1 on iOS 4.2) can open .ppt files but it may not render all transitions, animations, fonts and backgrounds. It can save changes to the file as a ppt, Keynote or PDF filetype.
Optional apps: (In nearly every case transitions and animations are lost.)
*MightyMeeting: You sign up for a free account at their website and upload your PowerPoint presentations. Then you install their free iPad app, connect to their website and select the presentation. Internet access required to playback presentations. This app has been tested and you will lose transitions, animations and custom fonts. It will output to a projector and you can see your slides on iPad. No presenter notes.
Slide Shark: Sign up for a free account. From your computer: upload your ppt to their server, it gets converted, then you download the converted file to your iPad.
Paid Apps (Not tested):
Options (from your computer to iPad):
Export your presentation as pdf. You will lose transitions and animations.
Export the presentation as a video (mp4, m4v or mov). Controlling playback may be sketchy.
Special note for PowerPoint/Keynote users: Keep your file size to a minimum. I have been contacted by one user who reports that iPad would not open a large (100MB) PowerPoint file. If you will be using a lot of images, make sure they have been resized to 1024x768 or less. 72 dots per inch. I cannot locate specific limitations in any of Apple's documentation. You can cut your presentation into "chapters" if you can't resize your images.
June 26, 2012-An updated article for presenting using the third generation iPad is available at macworld.com
*Photos App: (slideshow mode only) Select an event or album. Tap the slideshow button. Pictures will be displayed to the projector. No controls are displayed on iPad, just the first photo. You cannot control the speed. If you stop the playback, you must start over. The length of time each image is displayed is set in Settings>Photos>Play Each Slide For>
*Videos App: The videos must be .mov, m4v or .mp4 format. iPad will play any video in those formats through the VGA adapter that is NOT purchased through iTunes (your own videos or video podcasts). Movies and TV shows purchased through iTunes are locked with Apple's Fairplay protection scheme. They cannot be sent through the VGA adapter to an external display.
Apple's information from their support page:
iTunes Store movies (SD and HD) and TV shows (HD) require an HDCP digital connection. If you attempt to play this content using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, an alert will appear to let you know that an HDCP-compatible device is required. To view iTunes Store content, sync the SD version of the TV show or use the Apple Component AV cable to play the HD version at 480p.
You cannot preview iTunes Store content when using iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter.
Internet/Streaming video: You will need a very strong Wi-Fi or 3G connection to stream videos.
It is not possible to connect iPad to a classroom ethernet port using a cable.
USB to Ethernet adapters will not work with iPad USB adapter, as there are no drivers to allow iPad to communicate with the adapter.
(If someone gets this to work, please let me know and I'll update this accordingly.)
Wi-Fi & 3G signal strengths at SFSU are sporadic, depending on room location and thickness of concrete walls.
*YouTube App: No problems reported. The video will only play on the projector.
Option: Download YouTube videos to your computer. We cannot tell you how to do this, due to copyright regulations, but options are available. A web search may help. Convert to MOV version only. The Videos app does not natively play AVI or FLV files. Add the videos to iTunes and sync with iPad.
*AVI Files: CineXPlayer (Paid App) will play AVI files. Will output to projector. Make sure the mute switch on the side is OFF.
*Safari: Video playback only. Will not display web pages.
Paid apps that will output web pages to the VGA screen: Expedition, iDemoWeb, web2vga, *Perfect Browser.
*Netflix: Plays through projector. Shows pause, volume and scrubbing controls on iPad.
*Whiteboard Apps: PaperDesk LT & neu.Notes are tested free whiteboard apps with VGA out.
Main issues: Writing with your finger is weird. You should get a stylus. There is some lag between writing on the screen and the writing appearing through the projector. If you rest your hand on the screen, it can cause unwanted marks.
Penultimate is a paid app that has tackled most of these issues. You can create multiple notebooks and output them as PDFs.
One more thing: Is there one app to rule them all? Maybe. 2screens is a paid app ($4.99) that supports VGA out for: PowerPoint/Keynote, Photos, Web display, Whiteboard, Annotations. In addition, they have an iPhone app 2screens Remote to allow you to use your iPhone as a remote for your iPad. Reviews for this app are mixed.
A video demo is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v-YER9EvFG2Uw
The following sites helped with the research:
In case you were wondering, Apple refers to its tablet as iPad. In all documentation, they never use an article (the iPad, an iPad) just iPad. If anyone knows why, drop me a note.