The line between tablets and computers is becoming less visible every year. The iPad is already technically capable of replacing a desktop or laptop in a number of scenarios. Cupertinians added support for external manipulators two years ago, and last year they seriously redesigned the cursor on mobile devices.
The tablet screen, however, is not one of the largest in itself. Not all tasks are convenient to perform on a small, albeit very high-quality, iPad matrix. The picture can be displayed on an external screen, but there are pitfalls here too.
Now let’s figure out how suitable the iPad is for working with an external screen, and what are the prospects for such a setup in the future.
What you need to connect to an external monitor
An adapter is required to output the image to an external screen via HDMI. Such gadgets have long been in the arsenal of Apple and third-party accessory manufacturers.
▶ Lightning Digital AV Adapter – RUB 4,990 A small Lightning adapter with two ports: HDMI for monitor and Type-C for charging.
▶ Lightning / VGA adapter – RUB 4,990 A similar adapter, only the older VGA connector is used instead of HDMI.
▶ USB-C Multiport Digital AV Adapter – RUB 7,490 Adapter for new iPad models with Type-C connector. On the other end, there is HDMI, USB-A for peripherals, and Type-C for charging.
▶ USB-C to VGA Multiport Adapter – RUB 7,490 A similar adapter, but VGA takes the place of the HDMI port.
▶ Satechi Aluminum USB ‑ C Multiport Pro Adapter – RUB 6,990 Multifunctional adapter, one of the ports of which allows you to connect a monitor via HDMI.
▶ In addition, you can use any attachment Apple TV and display the picture wirelessly through AirPlay.
Do not forget to get a keyboard, mouse or trackpad, because it will be extremely inconvenient to use the tablet’s touch screen while displaying an image on an external monitor.
What apps support external screen
The main problem after such a connection is the different aspect ratio of tablets and most modern monitors. As a result, part of the external screen will be occupied by large black bars. The wider the display, the more space on the sides will be wasted.
However, some applications are already adapted to work with external screens and will correctly display information on them, taking into account the resolution and aspect ratio. Here are the most useful adapted programs and games:
◉ CameraVision – 99 RUB on the App Store… A fairly simple but useful app that turns your iPad into a projector.
The tablet camera is used to display the image on a large screen, while the user interface is not displayed on the monitor, and the resolution and aspect ratio are adjusted to the external screen.
◉ Documents by Readdle – Free on the App Store(there are in-app purchases)… A multifunctional file manager that appeared long before the release of the application Files from Apple. The utility is omnivorous and allows you to work with most common document and media file formats.
While working with a document, developers independently offer to select the mode of displaying an image on an external screen. This can be normal mirroring with black bars on the sides, or displaying an entire page of the document on the screen. In the latter case, on the tablet itself, you can use any scaling option, leaving a whole page in front of your eyes on the monitor. In this case, on the iPad, you can open the second application in the mode Split Viewwhile still seeing the document on the big screen.
◉ LumaFusion – 2790 руб. в App Store(there are in-app purchases)… It is the best video editor for iPad at the moment. It has everything you need to create simple to medium video projects right on your tablet. Several video tracks are supported, there are many effects with detailed settings, there is color correction and many other attributes of a full-fledged desktop video editor.
When connected to an external screen, a preview window of the video is displayed in the aspect ratio supported by the monitor. If you hide the viewport on the iPad at the same time, you can significantly expand your workspace. Perhaps this is the best and most thoughtful implementation of the tablet’s operation with an external monitor.
To this topic: 15 iPad games you can play with your keyboard and mouse
◉ MindNode – Mind Map – Free on the App Store(there are in-app purchases)… The application is designed to build flowcharts, visualize ideas or visualize thoughts.
When working with a monitor, you can display the entire open document on a large screen in an easy-to-view scale. At the same time, on the iPad, you can navigate the diagram and use the zoom without changing the large picture.
◉ Netflix – Free on the App Store(there are in-app purchases)… This streaming service also works great when connecting an external screen. At the same time, you will be able to watch movies or TV series in full screen mode without black bars and in the resolution supported by the monitor.
◉ Procreate – 899 руб в App Store… One of the best drawing apps for Apple tablets. There are a large number of brushes, filters and settings that are fully revealed when drawing with Apple Pencil.
As in the case with the Documents application, when the monitor is connected, the entire working canvas is displayed on it. Typically, a tablet uses a large zoom to draw small elements, while the external screen allows you to immediately see the entire drawing.
◉ Real Racing 3 – Free on the App Store(there are in-app purchases)… One of the oldest racing series for iOS with good physics and nice graphics. The first games in the series were paid, and in the third part, the developers decided to bet on freemium. Fortunately, this does not greatly interfere and it is quite possible to play without investment.
When connected to an external monitor, the picture is displayed on the screen with the appropriate aspect ratio. At the same time, the tablet itself turns into a controller with buttons or gyroscopic control. With a compatible gamepad, you’ll be able to play on a large screen, and the iPad will simply display a static game logo.
◉ Twitch – Free on the App Store(there are in-app purchases)… The popular streaming platform has long supported a connected external monitor.
At the same time, the stream itself is displayed on the big screen, and a section with comments is displayed on the tablet screen.
The list of applications with support for an external screen does not end there, however, the implementation of this feature does not always use the full potential of the device.
The coolest way to work on iPad with a monitor
The developers of the utility went farthest. Shiftscreen… They offer an extremely convenient and fun iPad experience when connected to an external display.
In fact, the utility is a full-screen browser with the ability to open multiple windows at the same time. This implementation reminded me of the most unusual browser for Mac – Stack.
■ browser versions Word, Excel, One Note, Outlook, Office 365 from Microsoft;
■ apple services post office, Contacts, The calendar, Photo, Notes and iCloud Drive iCloud (when sync is enabled for your Apple ID);
■ popular applications Evernote, Trello, Slack, Omni Focus, Framer, Witeboard, Miro, Airtable, Glitch and Notion;
This allows you to overlap a range of scenarios and workflows for most iPad users. Browser versions of services work as on a full-fledged desktop OS and are displayed on an external screen with the appropriate aspect ratio.
In addition to the ability to run one of the services in the browser, you can split the utility screen into several work areas. Division into 2, 3 or 4 applications is available. Everything rests on the size of the monitor used and the convenience of working with each service.
Window placement and scaling is similar to iPadOS: each window can take up half of the screen, 1/3 or 1/4 of its width.
For the most advanced users, there are even several workspaces with a configurable number of applications on each. Of course, there are hotkeys as well.
The Shiftscreen utility provides several useful shortcuts for easy keyboard control.
In the settings, you can change the scale of the utility interface elements, change the color of the system icons, and even switch the iPadOS cursor to the arrow familiar to many. Available switching FPS in the range from 5 to 30 frames per second.
There is a rather useful feature that allows you to manually adjust the width and height of the image displayed on the external screen. This will come in handy if, for some reason, the utility incorrectly recognizes the monitor and displays an image with black stripes, or vice versa – it crawls out of the visible area.
Do not forget that the Shiftscreen utility itself supports Split View mode. This means that you can open a second application on the iPad screen and use it to occupy half or 2/3 of the screen size. The Shiftscreen working window, although it will become small on the iPad, will continue to be displayed in full screen mode on an external monitor. It takes iPad multitasking to a whole new level.
The utility is very interesting and unusual. I recommend to all owners of iPad and monitor adapter to try it.
What to expect from iPadOS 15
Support for external screens in native resolution is already available in iOS. At the moment this is implemented in the standard application. Photo and video editor iMovie from Apple. In these programs, when viewing content in full screen mode, it will be displayed on an external monitor without black bars on the sides.
The system itself understands that you can display a video or photo to the full width of the connected display and use the maximum screen area. Viewing content through these applications looks as convenient and enjoyable as possible.
Developers will have to puzzle over the implementation of full support for external monitors for other applications.
It will not be difficult for Cupertinos to create an additional grid for displaying desktop icons and widgets. It will be something like the long-running Sidecar mode in the Mac + iPad bundle. Only in this case the Apple tablet will be the main device, and the monitor will be the secondary display.
It will be possible to expand the desktop into two spaces and launch one application (or two in Split View mode) on each screen.
The downside of this solution is the need for application developers to modify their programs and games for a new aspect ratio and resolution. Not everyone will want to do this adaptation, which means that some applications will not be able to work on an external monitor or will be displayed with restrictions.
In this case, third-party developers will not have to change anything, and most of the work will have to be done in Cupertino. A similar implementation has already been seen in Samsung’s DeX gadget. The user received a kind of workspace by analogy with a computer desktop, and Android applications were launched on it in windowed mode with the usual aspect ratio.
This made it possible to turn on any program or game in window mode and place several such windows on one screen. The performance of current Apple gadgets is enough for this, but the battery will drain very quickly.
This approach will allow you to bring the experience of using a tablet as close as possible to a desktop computer with macOS, and in the future, combine iPadOS with macOS.
Any such revision will bring the usability of the iPad in conjunction with an external screen to a new level and will allow replacing the computer with a tablet in a number of new tasks and processes. It will be very interesting to watch the development of this chip and the even greater convergence of tablets and desktops.
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