Keynote on the iPad: Curious minds wish to know how many are playing with Keynote for the first time, and how many are Windows users. It might tells us why Keynote has disappointed so many

If you’re a Mac user who enjoys the results you get with Apple’s Keynote presentation software (“When your presentation really counts”, Steve Jobs, January 2003) you will no doubt be intrigued by the deployment of Keynote, and the other elements of the iWork productivity suite, to the iPad, released a week or so ago.

And if you’re like me, your hopes that the iPad could become an “outrigger” display device similar in functionality to your Macbook, allowing you to present with Keynote while leaving your Macbook at home, were dashed when you read the first reviews from the mainstream media, Mac media, and the blogging community of users.

Various reports suggest that there are serious hurdles to synching iPad and desktop created Keynote presentations, both in terms of what is transferred and the means by which the transfer takes place.

For now, without having first hand experience at the process, it’s hard for me to offer constructive criticism, nor to ask the iWork team direct questions because I want to be very specific when I do. In a few months time, in the Northern hemisphere autumn, Apple plans to release iPhone 4 for the iPad which may well resolve some of the general issues raised in iPad reviews, and may offer improved parity between the iPad and desktop Keynote apps.

I previously blogged that an updated Keynote is on the way (I saw no new features in Keynote in the iPhone 4 event this past week) and predicted it could see the light of day around the first sales of the iPad last weekend. That didn’t occur, but perhaps a new version, Keynote 6, will be revealed around the same time as iPhone 4 updates the iPad, allowing for much greater seamless file exchange and feature parity.

Just like the iPhone and before it, the iPod, introduced many Windows users to Apple products in a so-called “halo” effect – “if these products are this good, then their other products must be just as good too” – allowing some Windows users to lose restraint and actually allow Apple products into their households, one must assume all the hype over the iPad must be following a similar pattern.

An additional point to this join-the-dots marketing effort are the Apple stores, placed carefully in locations conveying sybaritic lifestyles. So what we have are likely hordes of Windows users as well as never-used-a-computer-before types with disposable income to venture into Apple stores to see what all the fuss is about.

We’ve seen previous Apple keynotes where Steve Jobs has referred to the number of switchers who have purchased a Mac in an Apple store, and it hovers around 50%.

That is, 50% of Mac sales goes to previous Windows’ users. One presumes then that the remaining 50% are a combination of Mac owners purchasing a Mac once more, as well as new computer users purchasing their first PC (in the generic sense of the term).

We know too that the vast majority of iPod sales go to Windows’ users, given that group’s massive numbers compared to Mac ownership. Given iPods and iPhone update themselves, new software, new music and videos, and new apps. through iTunes speaking with the mothership, Apple knows how many of these devices sync to Windows PCs versus Macs.

Returning to the iPad, as yet you need to connect to iTunes to get the device on its way first thing after purchase. So once more Apple knows something of the demographics of iPad use, from location through to which operating system is being employed.

So the questions goes begging: How well is Keynote selling on the iPad (you buy each of the iWork apps individually)?

Well, Apple conveniently lets us know (left) by showing a chart of the top selling apps., both paid and free. In the days after iPad was released, Keynote was in the top three. Now, on Monday a week later, it’s 7th with an advanced pdf reader (which I have bought in advance) at number 1.

And there’s a second question for curious minds: Given the ubiquity of Powerpoint as the presentation software default in corporations, universities and schools, what proportion of iPad users purchasing Keynote are Windows users? And if they like Keynote, what is the chance it will act in a halo fashion to cause Windows users to switch to a Mac with the full blown Keynote app installed as part of iWork, instead of Microsoft’s Office which doesn’t seem will see the light of day on the iPad.

At this point we can become playful with numbers.

During last week’s iPhone 4 special event, Steve Jobs announced that in the week since its launch, 3.5 million apps had been downloaded to iPads, which had sold 450,000 at that time – that’s an average of almost 8 apps per iPad.

Is it thus possible to assume that for Keynote to rate so highly on the sales chart, it was one of those  eight apps downloaded to each iPad? Now comes the difficult question: What proportion of iPads are hooking up to iTunes on Windows devices, thus letting us know how many users are using Keynote for the very first time (although they may well have seen it in action without knowing it)? On the first weekend, analyst Gene Munster of PiperJaffray estimated, based on a survey of 448 iPad purchasers, some 26% were PC owners. That same weekend, Keynote, as I recall, was number 3 on the chart of paid apps. So lots of PC users were sampling Keynote for the first time.

It then dropped four places in the next week as more apps came online and took away some spending and sampling dollars.

Sooner or later, I am hoping Apple sells enough iPads and enough iPad-exclusive apps to generate sufficient numbers to declare the iPad a growing success and not a flop. Perhaps this will happen at month’s end when the 3G version is released, when world wide sales begin and app prices begin to drop, as they will.

Perhaps then, Apple will let us know the if that 75/25 split between Mac/PC has shifted to something more like 50/50. Do remember that the initial sales that opening weekend of 300,000 were very much taken up by pre-orders, sight-unseen and touch-untouched, and hence the 75% Apple faithful figure.

But with the hype machine still running strong, the 3G and international versions on their way, word of mouth amongst friends and availability in Apple stores to play with, will the iPad only appeal to the Apple user community? 75,000 sales to PC users the first weekend suggests not, and I fully expect a forthcoming Apple event to show another Jobs’ graph showing trend lines of iPad sales to Mac uses and PC users, perhaps with a crossover where PC users outnumbered Mac users.

That of course has happened before with iPods, where Mac users had a year of exclusivity in a giant Economics and Business 101 course experiment to see if consumers would actually buy music rather than pirate it online. Once proven that they would, iTunes for Windows was released together with USB-powered iPods (via the 30pin dock), and the record companies sat back in horror as Apple drove the market for music and the mobile technology to listen to it.

Now with iPads and Keynote, the question for curious minds is whether Apple will release Keynote for Windows (not very likely) or work towards a same-same feature list and functionality for desktop and iPad Keynote in the next few months.

Frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that we will forever more be stuck with an underperforming iPad Keynote. Sooner, rather than later, only half, not three quarters, of iPad users will unaware of its inferiority as more Windows users purchase iPads and Keynote. That is not good for Keynote feature parity but good for better presentations!

The question for curious minds is whether Apple is prepared to do something about Keynote when iPhone 4 is released or let it sit there pleasing half of iPad users ignorant of Keynote’s possibilities. That would be a massive insult to Mac users and not assist the morale of the iWork team which takes much pride in its labours.

So unlike complaining Mac Keynote users who were hoping for an as-good experience with Keynote on the iPad, is it not likely that a huge number of Keynote on the iPad users are very happy with its performance, seeing that the iPad is the only place they will use Keynote? Yes, there is still the ugly matter of transferring files off the iPad, but if you’re a Windows user, where are you moving it to, other than backup? Unlike a Mac user who wishes to transfer the Keynote file they created on the plane ride from JFK to SFO over to his or her Macbook Pro via iTunes, Windows-tethered iPad users have nowhere to go.

In their case, ignorance is bliss. And there also is the situation of importing Powerpoint files into the iPad for Keynote to use. This presents little of the problems Keynote users are facing, it seems. I’m going to take a guess here, but I think the vast majority of Powerpoint slides you see contain very few animations or builds, and very few slide-to-slide transitions. Keynote users delight in using these features in an effort to elicit their own creativity, to stand out from the mostly Powerpoint crowd, and because of their ease of use. This is why their loss in the iPad version is being felt so strongly.

Windows Powerpoint users, especially in the sciences, use mainly text-driven slides with pictures and very occasional movies thrown in (usually with all the Windows Media Player bits dangling all over the place.. ugh!). These will easily convert to iPad’s Keynote, if in mp4 format, I believe.

So if the iPad and Keynote are part of an Apple long term plan to take market share from Windows (starting with the cheap notebook sector) then Keynote as is, is good enough. That’s the plan in the short-term perhaps. But in the long term, surely the plan must be to continue to delight ALL its users, and keep on innovating.

That’s why despite having my hopes dashed about how I wanted to use the iPad for presentations, I’ve been around Apple long enough to be both resilient and patient.

Coda: Take a look at this great video from a Sydney based Aussie creative team, Creative License Digital, and their animated infographic about iPhone statistics. Sooner or later, we’ll see a similar concept for the iPad. Expect to be blown away too.

8 responses to “Keynote on the iPad: Curious minds wish to know how many are playing with Keynote for the first time, and how many are Windows users. It might tells us why Keynote has disappointed so many

  1. I am still disappointed that presentations created using Keynote on the Mac get mangled when exported to Keynote on the iPad. And if that was enough of problems, Keynote files also get mangled when exported from the iPad. I would have thought that Apple have tested exporting and importing Keynote files to and from the Mac to the iPad. I love Keynote but this current situation means that I can only create a presentation on the iPad to use on the iPad and not have any chance of exporting it to my MacBook Pro laptop.

  2. Les, go to the article “How to Successfully Import Video into Keynote for the iPad in 7 Easy Steps,”

    By the way, I love your articles and have followed your dissertations for a long time. Keep up the excellent work!
    Thank you,

  3. Les, I was unaware of your blog here until I saw the link posted by Scott on my own blog’s stat page. I occasionally teach a public speaking class at the college level, and I will definitely point my students to your website as a resource from now on.

    For what it’s worth, I can tell you that I have so far used an iPad with Keynote in front of two audiences with good results. And while it’s not as easy or capable yet as its Mac platform counterpart, I simply love the portability aspect of walking into a room to teach carrying nothing but an iPad in hand and a VGA adapter in my pocket.

    I hope you’ve read the link that Scott posted above. You might also be interested in my impression of the iPad after two days, found here:

    I can tell you right now that Steve Jobs’ demonstration of the iPad with Keynote back in March was the tipping point for me. It was why I not only ordered an iPad for myself, sight unseen, but for my wife as well. Originally, I had my sights on a Kindle. But once I saw that I might be able to actually teach with the iPad, I was sold. For years, I’ve tried to gradually lighten my load, but it’s always been a struggle. I saw the iPad as the ultimate tool for teaching both in the classroom and at church.

    And then I started importing previously created Keynote files. My heart sunk. My iPad’s first crash came from importing a Keynote file from my Mac. And then there were the limitations. No presenter notes. I haven’t printed out notes in years! That seemed like such a step backwards and the antithesis of what the iPad stood for. The fact that the presenter screen on the iPad doesn’t even show a representation of the image means that I occasionally have to turn and look at the screen–something I tell my students not to do, but instead rely on the image on their computer.

    So needless to say, while I was thrilled with the iPad overall, I was initially very disappointed with Keynote on the iPad, which was my iPad’s primary raisons d’être.

    However, I’ve learned in life that things never look quite so bad in the light of a new morning. So I slept on it (not the iPad itself, but the issue in general!).

    Here’s what I realized. I and a lot of other Keynote users were hoping, or more likely expecting the iPad version of Keynote to be just like the Mac version. The reality is, however, that it’s Keynote in name only. It and the other iPad iWork apps don’t even share the same file format. Files have to be both imported and exported. This is not Keynote v. 5 as we’ve been used to; this is Keynote v. 1 for iPad. In fact, it would not surprise me if it has seen much less development time than the iPad itself, knowing of Apple’s secrecy, even within their own ranks.

    So, having slept on the issue, I began exploring exactly what the iPad Keynote could do and not do so that I could work within its limitations. One of the big hurdles for me was the issue with video. I found that some videos would import but others wouldn’t. Finally, I found the solution on Apple’s support forums, verified them, and published them on my own blog.

    I’ve also discovered that while it’s easier to create a Keynote presentation on my Mac, I make up the time by not having to worry with conversion issues if I just create the file on the iPad. That’s what I’ve done twice already and it’s worked well for me.

    The presentation I used at church two days ago worked quite well. Even with video. Let me know if you’d like to see it because I can upload it to and send you an invite. It translates back to the Mac pretty well with the exception of a missing font. Helvetica lite is on the iPad, but evidently not on my Mac.

    I do think things are more problematic for Windows users because, for instance, one cannot export a file out to PowerPoint format (at least not yet). I believe Apple could make some extra bucks by porting iWork to Windows.

    This next Monday, I’ll begin a new writing class. I plan to go into the classroom with just the iPad and a VGA adapter for the projector. I’ve already got my course guides, lesson plans, and textbooks on the iPad. All that’s left is to get my slides ready in Keynote.

    As already said, this is a version 1 product. I assume it will improve, and since I’ve committed quite a bit of cash to the iPad platform by now, I’ve a vested interest in making all of this work which is what I’m doing. My hope is that the iWork apps will receive quick treatment. The “iWork Team” actually emailed me directly a few days ago responding to one of my questions on the Apple Support forums. That makes me feel good as well. It sounds like they are paying attention to problem issues and trying to address them in an expedient manner.

  4. One more thing. I don’t know how much ranking from the iTunes store can tell us. Yes, Keynote was originally in the top three selling apps, but it was also one of the first significant apps out the gate. I thought to myself early on that it definitely wouldn’t stay there because I assume that only a minority of iPad users would actually ever give a presentation from one.

    Again, I am hopeful that we will see deficiencies in Keynote and the other iWork apps addressed quickly. While I don’t imagine it’s easy, obviously the coding of PowerPoint import and export is not impossible. There’s plenty of space right now for someone to come in with a better product on the iPad if Apple’s not careful.

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review | Les Posen's Presentation Magic

  6. I’m a bit confused – I find people complaining about not having notes in keynotes, but there is a definite option to show notes when the ipad is connected to an external screen. The way it’s shown doesn’t fit my use (too large, slides too small), but they’re definitely there.

    The only issue I’ve found, on a slideshow I made on the ipad for the ipad, was that it doesn’t reliably show on the external screen. Updating all my ipad software right now in hopes that solves it.

    Emailing the slideshow as PDF also didn’t work.

    • Make sure you have the latest version of KN on the iPad; early version were much simpler in their capabilities, such as no mirroring or presence of notes.

    • Katinka, Les wrote this post a year ago when there were no presenter notes in Keynote for the iPad. Thankfully, they are there now.

      Now, if only we had a bit more control over the notes, including the ability to change to a normal font and basics like italics and bold.

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