The iPad has been a runaway success, what with Apple releasing three generations of this amazing device in rapid succession. Yet, all these improvements in successive releases do not appeal to owners of older generation iPads. When newer iPads get launched with newer capabilities that will not work on the iPad bought just a month or two ago, then let’s just say that users of older iPads do not feel too happy or enthusiastic — nor do they want to abandon their perfectly nice iPad for a newer one. Guess that’s the price we all have to pay for Apple’s quick releases with distinctive improvements.
It is in times like these that the folks at SlideShark (a presentation app for the iPad) have released a new, free update that adds capabilities to the program for iPad 1 users! When I read out this improvement for iPad 1 users, I wasn’t too sure that I read right because something of this sort happens once in a blue moon these days. Yes, this certainly is not the norm, and most app developers will either ignore users of older devices, or provide a paid upgrade — so it’s nice to see that the folks at SlideShark are changing the rules of the game.
Before we explore the new iPad 1 capabilities of SlideShark, let us look at what SlideShark actually does. SlideShark is a web site, an iPad program, and a presentation storage platform from Brainshark, a company based in Massachusetts, USA. Brainshark has since long been a favored platform to create and share online presentations. In recent times, Brainshark found that there was no real, proper way to view and share PowerPoint presentations on the iPad. Rather than add extra capabilities to Brainshark’s online presentation platform, they built a new initiative from the ground up — and yes, they called this initiative SlideShark. I have been fortunate to be involved with SlideShark right from its inception, and it has been a great journey so far because SlideShark has evolved so well. This is primarily because the folks at SlideShark listen to user feedback — at times, my feedback has resulted in almost immediate improvements to the program.
The new iPad 1 feature that SlideShark introduced in their v1.6 release allows iPad 1 users complete projector and TV output support. iPad 1 users can now plug in to their projectors and TVs using Apple’s adapters and present to audiences from the SlideShark app on their iPads in full-screen mode. As far as I know, this option is only available on the iPad 1 to native Apple apps like Photos, Videos, and Keynote — so kudos to the folks at Brainshark for achieving this breakthrough!
I asked Andy Zimmerman, Brainshark’s CMO, why they decided to add these iPad 1 capabilities, and he said, “We continue to make improvements to SlideShark that benefit our users, and iPad 1 users are no exception! Although the iPad 1 wasn’t designed to work with projectors as well as later versions of the device, we figured out how to make it possible with SlideShark v1.6.”
SlideShark by itself is a free program — you upload your PowerPoint files to the SlideShark web site. You can do the upload from your regular computer running Windows or Mac OS X, or just upload any PowerPoint attached to your email on the iPad. Just select the PowerPoint attachment within iPad’s mail program by holding over it, and in the resultant menu that pops up, choose the Open In option (or alternatively the Open In SlideShark option). If you choose the former option, this brings up another menu that lists all apps on your iPad that can work with PowerPoint files. Choose the SlideShark option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: An email attachment can be sent to SlideShark
You will next see the SlideShark interface, and a message window that asks your permission to upload the presentation to your SlideShark account, as shown in Figure 2 below. Choose the Upload option.
Figure 2: Upload PowerPoint to SlideShark
Launch SlideShark if it is not already open, and your presentations will be visible. Download them if they are not already downloaded, and play them off your iPad 1 (or a newer generation iPad).
And here’s a picture of an iPad 1 with SlideShark running, connected to a TV!