The new iPad's brilliantly clear Retina display and its travel-friendly size help make this third-generation tablet one of the most useful mobile sales tools on the market. The reason is simple: Presentations pop on the high-resolution screen.
But most users only scratch the surface when it comes to an iPad's capabilities for delivering dynamic business presentations. From creating the most effective content to finding the right apps and tools, here are six tips to help you make better iPad presentations:
1. Play to the iPad's strengths.
Keep presentations simple. For text, images and other content, bigger is usually better for getting the message across on the iPad screen, which is slightly larger than nine and a half inches across diagonally.
If you really need to have highly-detailed slides, consider passing the device around the room to let your clients have a closer look. That way, you can take advantage of things that make the iPad unique -- such as its portability and screen proportions.
2. Use a projector for larger groups.
iPads can be handy for one-on-one demos, but try using a projector for larger groups. ViewSonic, Dell, Optoma and other companies make portable projectors that are compatible with tablets.
At $349, the ViewSonic PJD5123, can be worth the price because it combines high picture quality with portability. Some users, however, might find it heavy at five pounds. If a lightweight device is an absolute priority then the Dell M110 -- which weighs less than a pound -- might be worth the higher cost (about $540).
You can also wirelessly stream a presentation on your iPad to an HDTV using Apple TV and AirPlay. All you need is to connect the Apple TV device ($99) to the TV, have access to a WiFi connection and work with the AirPlay app on your iPad.
3. Try a remote.
Flipping through slides by hand can be distracting to an audience. But by turning your iPhone into a remote, you can move around and give touch-free presentations.
For basic presentations using Keynote -- Apple's version of Microsoft PowerPoint -- it's possible to use the iPhone as a remote with Keynote Remote, which is available for 99 cents from the iTunes App Store. For more advanced presentations, 2Screens Presentation Expert ($4.99 plus $2.99 for the 2Screens Remote app) can be used with an iPhone remote for viewing slideshows, documents or taking on-screen notes. It also can turn the iPhone into an on-screen laser pointer.
4. Go beyond PowerPoint.
Microsoft PowerPoint, once the de facto standard for business presentations, is no longer the only tool to use. Two alternatives are Web-based slideshow apps Prezi and SlideRocket. Both include HTML5 presentation players built specifically for the iPad, including such features as multi-touch gestures.
SlideRocket specializes in HD video and animations, while Prezi uses a unique visual approach to present "mind maps" that show how ideas are related. There are free versions of each, but paid subscriptions -- which include more features such as improved branding tools and extra online storage -- start at $24 per month for SlideRocket and $59 per year for Prezi.
If you're still tied to using PowerPoint, you can access Microsoft Office content on the iPad using apps such as Quickoffice Pro ($19.99), which also doubles as a presentation and editing tool.
5. Add interactivity with a live whiteboard.
Make staid PDFs, documents and simple presentations more interactive by turning the iPad into an electronic whiteboard. Apps such as Air Sketch ($9.99) and Power Presenter ($1.99) let users put notes on documents, websites and slideshows. It's a way to record brainstorming sessions or get audience feedback.
For more stylish notations, try using an iPad stylus such as the Pogo Sketch Plus ($14.95) from Ten One Design.
6. Master on-the-go design with improvised graphics.
Due to a tablet's smaller screen and the inability to switch between applications quickly, some professionals might find crafting a presentation easier on a laptop or desktop. But the iPad does include tools for drawing improvised presentations.
For making quick, clean flowcharts and other presentation graphics, consider apps such as TouchDraw ($8.99) or the more richly-featured OmniGraffle ($49.99) which offers diagramming, templates and freehand drawing tools to illustrate business processes.