Two must-have apps for your iPad

If you’ve got an iPad you’re not truly taking advantage of all that it can do unless you have these two apps installed. Between them, they have solved a number of problems for me as well as expanded the functionality of my Apple tablet.

By Magnus Nystedt (PRODUCT REVIEW)

Published: Sat 4 Feb 2012, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:52 AM

I should point out that both Air Display and Air Video work on iPhone, iPad, as well as iPod touch, but I’ll only refer to iPad in this article. This is because both apps really shine with iPad, as I’ll try to describe below.

Air Display

Have you ever thought why couldn’t you use your iPad as an external display for your Mac or PC?

Well, you can, with Air Display ( for $9.99. It works completely over Wi-Fi, and the iPad and the computer that talk to one another have to be on the same Wi-Fi network for this to work. With the extra display you can show you Twitter flow on it, your emails, or why not your chat?

If you have one or more big displays that you work in front of (I sit with a 27-inch Thunderbolt Display at work) a 10-inch iPad with 1024 x 768 pixels won’t really be that impressive. But instead if you can extend your portable Mac’s 13 or 15 inches, then you get a lot more screen real estate.

Performance was not a problem for me. The iPad was updated fast and smoothly enough that I could put windows on it and even interact with them by touching the display. Now, Mac OS X is not meant for touch, so that’s a slight problem but it can be managed.

Air Video

Next, let’s tackle the problem of getting video from your computer onto the iPad so you can watch it. Air Video is a system consisting of a $2.99 app for your iPhone or iPad and a free Mac or Windows server application ( It basically lets you watch movies on the iPad from files that sit on your Mac.

The nice thing is that it can play almost any video file format and even encode it on the fly, while you watch. So you don’t have to convert files, and then import them into iTunes, etc. As soon as the video is downloaded or copied to your Mac, the files can sit in any folder, and you can play them with your iPad. It’s amazingly easy and rather ingenious if you ask me.

With real-time encoding of video files your Mac has to be pretty fast, but with my MacBook Pro 15-inch (latest model) I had no problems watching movies with my iPad at home. Air Video has made it so much easier for me to watch video when I’m at home, without the fuzz of converting and copying.

Especially if you have an iPad, these apps are great value and offer some very clever and helpful functionality.

Magnus Nystedt, @mnystedt

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