Macworld 2011 has come and gone, and I am happy to say my presentations featuring Keynote went very well. I’m now awaiting the formal evaluations to be shared from IDG which I will post, warts and all. You can read two attendees’ post-workshop reviews to get a feel from an attendees’ viewpoint of what happened on the day:
1. From Ron Albu, the President of the Hawaii Macintosh and Apple User Group, click here.
2. From Gary Bowman’s blog, here.
The picture at top was taken by Gary who kindly allowed me to post it here.
I will give an extended description of the full day workshop in a blog article to come, but I was very fortunate to have two senior members of the Apple Keynote team attend. They observed the workshop and listened closely to other attendees and their desires for how Keynote ought to evolve. Of course, I also offered demonstrations of Keynote’s strengths and weaknesses in the hope it might add to some future feature set.
The day after the workshop, I offered a User session of 75″, featuring Keynote on the iPad. At the time, Keynote had just been updated so that it could now operate in presentation mode, just like its older sibling on the Macintosh, and it also featured presenter notes.
I had to admit to the group present that I only occasionally use Keynote on the iPad for presentations, as usual files have until now been much too media rich to survive the transition to the iPad. I do use the iPad version almost as a sketch pad to jot down ideas for a future presentation much the way others might use a “back of the napkin” pen and paper technique to record ideas.
That said, as I do for most workshops, I started this session by placing the iPad in some kind of historical context, by firstly saying that I had written about my desire for a tablet and Keynote application for it in later 2004, here.
Here is a partial screen shot of what I wrote:
I include this screenshot (do go and read the rest of the article where I mention Keynote magic) so as to give you a date at which I first thought about tablets and Keynote for presentations.
So after this curious introduction, I then spent some time showing screenshots from the webpages of some fairly well-known iPad naysayers who shortly after January 27, 2010 when the iPad was first shown (my presentation also fell on January 27), roundly criticised the device as Jobs’ folly. It so reminded me of the reviews the first iPod received almost ten years ago, when it was greeted with much mirth from pundits who wondered who would spend $399 for a 5GB mp3 player. Who, indeed!
Now a year later, I showed the same critical pundits display long term memory loss (or active avoidance of their own short sightedness) since they were now lauding the iPad and criticising the wannabees still to find their way to the marketplace. I suppose when a device has been the fastest selling device in history (according to some estimates) and has 90% of marketshare, it would be awkward to not laud it.
With the humorous pokings at the tech media out of the way, it was my turn to take aim at what might be a surprising target: Keynote for Macintosh users.
If there was a group who were most vocal in their disappointment with Keynote 1.0 for the iPad, it was Keynote 5 users. Like me, they too had long hoped for some other ways to use Keynote, and when the iPad was shown on January 27, 2010 in a demo by Phil Schiller, the belief was formed by many that it would merely replicate the functionality of its bigger, older sibling.
Of course, once they paid their ten bucks and began bringing in their large, multi-build, multi-transition and multi-font desktop Keynote files, disaster struck. Keynote for the iPad lost many of their carefully constructed builds, could not handle animations, lost fonts, and worst of all, lost the ability to maintain groups, whereby images and text could be grouped as one image for various builds and effects.
Oh, and not to mention the absence presenter notes and no presentation display such that current and next slides could be seen adjacent to each other (since corrected in the current version, 1.0.3). Keynote could display out to a projector, but it couldn’t even operate in mirror mode.
All this meant that well-versed users of Keynote for the desktop were in for massive disappointment and frustration. Essentially, these were independent presentation softwares, and unless your desktop file resembles a very simple but all too typical Powerpoint slideshow – all text and minimal builds and transitions – there was no point in creating a super show in Keynote and then moving it over to the iPad. Which by the way required such circuitous efforts as to make many of us scratch our heads and wonder, “What were they thinking?“
Truly, the various comments I received was that Keynote 1.0 was a rush job, done at the behest of Steve Jobs in order to give the iPad the semblance of a business tool, rather than a toy for kids to play games with…
But in laying some criticisms at the feet of my Keynote-using brethren for having such high hopes even though we all knew the very low processing and graphics power of the iPad, I also suggested to them that if one had come in from the cold of the land of Powerpoint for Windows – again, all simple text slides and minimal use of animation and transitions – Keynote on the iPad would prove to be a delightful revelation!
I suggested that such users, perhaps purchasing their first Apple product (or their second after their iPhone) would nonetheless be wowed by Keynote for the iPad with its albeit limited transitions and builds. But limited in this case is a subjective term, given the low level of advanced presentations one sees in workshops and conferences. For this group, Keynote on the iPad could open up new possibilities, in much the same way those of who first began using Keynote for the Mac in 2003 had discovered a new way of producing visually rich presentation styles.
I went a little further, and noted that Keynote for the iPad was clearly a very popular app on the App Store to judge by its published rankings, and that the engineering team had produced three updates in a year, while the desktop version was still waiting for its impending update after more than two years waiting. Now we know where all that energy has gone – the Keynote team is not a big one, and Apple has limited resources after all.
What I did say too is that I expected there to be increasing parity between the feature sets of the two Keynotes, so that one day there will be easy transfer between the two platforms with no loss of functionality. Indeed, in at least one respect, Keynote on the iPad is ahead of the desktop version, in ways that suggest what we may see in a the next update. I’m referring to the ability of Keynote to layer objects on a slide, and move them forward and backward relative to other objects.
I make great use of this undervalued property of Keynote in my workshops. On the desktop version, its implementation is in dire need of improvement, and indeed Powerpoint 2011 for the Mac has a “coverflow” type means of showing and moving slide elements. On the iPad it’s also down with a slide control, as you can see in the screenshot below:
I see feature parity between the desktop and iPad versions as the next goal, with perhaps feature sets unique to the iPad to take advantage of its useability much like we see now in its versions of Garageband and iMovie. Who knows what the gyro might mean for presentations! Now that iPad 2 has arrived with its twice as fast processor and “up to nine times as fast” graphics processor, I fully expect Keynote to be updated on the iPad perhaps to version 2, and coincide with the release around the same time, of the desktop version. Don’t lay bets on this, however, as guessing when Keynote will be updated is like asking when QuarkExpress would move from System 9 to OS X (for those who remember what a laggard it was).
So with sales of iPads exceeding even Apple’s expectations (as was told to me by the Apple crew who attended my workshop), I return to something else I discussed and showed in my User group presentation: that I believe the iPad, and Keynote with it, is acting as a Trojan Horse to move Apple products into industries and sectors where they have been unwanted by the IT leadership for various reasons, cost and security being primary, and “it’s not Microsoft compatible” being in the mix too.
The story of the Trojan Horse is of course a wonderful metaphor for the secret intrusion into well-guarded locations of troops who would bring mayhem once released from the wooden beast in the dead of night.
In the iPad story, it’s not CTOs who are asking for the iPad to come into the enterprise, but it’s coming from both ends – workers bringing their own iPhones and iPads so as to better get work done – and CEOs who have discovered the delights of these products, much to the chagrin of the security minded IT departments who inwardly scream about another system to learn about, especially after years of sniping at the little computer company who could.
So for my workshop I created the video below to represent the story of the iPad acting as Trojan Horse. Watch it to the very end, and I’ll tell you more about it.
The video was gathered from YouTube clips of the movie of the Trojan Horse from a few years ago, and the mp4s downloaded moved into iMovie 6HD for editing so as to get the sequence I wanted. The sound was also heavily edited.
The video was then exported as an mp4 into Keynote, where the pictures of the iPad were duplicated into a grouped array, and then used with a motion build to move in almost precise timing with the Horse saddle as it moved into the walled city.
This got quite a laugh at Macworld, especially as I explored the metaphor of the serfs dragging the Horse in. I described these as the enterprise workers usurping the IT department and playing their role in deciding how they should work with available technologies, as you can see from screenshot here:
Later when the beast has come to a halt, the city leaders inspect it (pictured below), and I described these as being the C level personnel: CEO, CTO, CMO, CFO etc, all somewhat flummoxed by the appearance of this beast, little knowing what was in store for them.
At the conclusion of the video, I use various rotate, scale and motion path effects to create the images of the Horse basically taking a crap using iPads, metaphorically suggesting the iPad would crap all over its competition, as well as making the early naysayers (neighsayers?) look like horses’ asses.
As I read the various reviews of the iPad 2, there is a curious dichotomy.
One group expresses disappointment that iPad 2 didn’t go far enough in improving upon iPad 1, yet their suggestions as to what ought to have changed are the same old laments: no USB, no Flash, not 128GB, and the all too familiar wail of Apple’s closed garden.
Others are delighted to see the evolution of the iPad with its cameras, new form, and improved processing power. I fall into the latter camp, and look forward to seeing if my predictions of parity between the two Keynotes come about due to these improvements which now doubt will occur on an annual basis.
In fact, I fully expect Keynote on the iPad to one day have unique features not in the desktop version which might make some consider it as their primary presentation creation tool. Now that would truly fulfill the role of the Trojan Horse!