The new semester has already started and that means starting a new set of configuration of online classroom management systems as well as equipment. What I usually bring in class is my iPad that functions as a backup presentation tool because my area has a MacBook for faculty use. Of course, using the latter is better because it offers more accessibility rather than the tablet especially if there are hands-on sessions. However, what if you can merge the iPad and the MacBook?
Last semester, I came across Reflection, an app that lets you “AirPlay mirror your iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or the new iPad to any Mac or PC, wirelessly.“ It was only this time that I got the chance to test its limited time trial version for just 10 minutes.
So what is the Reflection app like? Here’s my list of reasons why you should (or should not) buy the app:
- No need to buy the iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter (that costs around PhP 1390.00 or $29 in the Apple Store) if you just want to share the screen in view only mode.
- You can use it in any LCD projector which has only 1 VGA port.
- Through AirPlay, it would be easier to have the sound play on your MacBook rather than switching and reconnecting sound ports and then testing the volume all over again.
- Great for app demos especially for iOS app development
- It would be more convenient to type the password because you don’t have to disconnect it from the LCD, you just need to minimize the viewer before typing the password and then fire it up again after doing so.
- Doubles as a portable interactive online document camera. Isn’t it nice to use this feature during class activities? Your iPhone or iPad (and its built-in features) translates into an instant documentation and presentation tool.
- It runs via AirPlay which means it can be dependent on the network.
- Playing videos has some lags; audio can possibly be out of sync from the video.
- The app might be too expensive if it only allows view only mode. There’s no keyboard or screen input. I have only tested the demo version of the app so I’m not really sure if there’ll be more features on the paid full version such as a control mode rather than just view only mode.
- If you don’t have a computer to connect to, then that means there won’t be a way to project your iPad. This is actually a consequence of the app, that is if you don’t have your own VGA adapter.
- No support for low-end models. The app only supports iPhone 4S, iPad2, and the new iPad.
- There’s no support for Linux. Well, maybe Linux should support AirPlay first, right?
The single user license costs $14.99 whereas the 5 multi-license costs $49.99. Given these pros and cons, is the Reflection app still worth buying? In my case, since I already have the Dock Connector to VGA port, that’s already enough for presentation purposes even though there is the hassle of setting up cables and ports. Of course, it would be great to have the Reflection app as well especially for teaching. I am actually hoping that the Reflection app will just become a built-in feature of the Mac OS instead.
So, what do you think? 🙂