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iPad Trackpad and Remote Apps

The iPad has a huge touchscreen, making it a natural trackpad/remote replacement device. There are several iPad apps that can even control a hacked original Apple TV. This AppGuide will explore iTunes remote control apps, Apple TV remote apps, and trackpad/keyboard replacement apps. The majority of the apps are for the Mac; there are not as many Windows versions available.

Essential Apps

Rowmote Pro: Remote Control for Mac and Apple TV 1G/2G

by Evan Schoenberg

Rowmote Pro is the absolute essential trackpad/remote app for the iPad. The app is universal so it will run on all of your touchscreen iOS devices. The reason this app has earned the essential spot is the responsiveness of the trackpad. The other apps reviewed had a less responsive trackpad. Rowmote Pro is the only app that truly feels like I am using a giant Magic Trackpad. It is nearly identical in speed and includes many of the same multitouch gestures. The app is more than just a trackpad, though. The app can also be used as a keyboard replacement. The app features the standard iPad keyboard and additional desktop operating system keyboards. The real benefit of this app is that it is also a remote. The app includes remote gesture pad. This gesture pad mimics the official Apple remote for the Apple TV. If you swipe up or down you can change the volume of your Mac. When you swipe left to right you can change the tracks. The app also includes various buttons to control your Mac. The remote area can also be used as a mouse input simply by tapping the mouse icon. The app includes a way to easily access your dock and system commands. No app could compete with the responsiveness of Rowmote Pro. If you are looking for a great trackpad/remote for your Mac, this is it.

Notable Apps

RC Trackpad HD (mouse / touchpad / secure mobile keyboard / remote)

by m3me, Inc.

Conductor is one of the newest trackpad apps available for your iPad. The tracking speed and response is great. The app includes three modes: tracking, launching, and switching. The app launching page features an iPad-like app launch screen. Your Mac dock appears at the bottom and your app folder is right above it. The app launch screen really looks like the iPad home screen. When you tap an app you are automatically taken back to the trackpad. The app switcher/window switcher page is really unique. The app has a feature to lock you into this page. Apps that are open, but have no windows open, will simply show you the app icon. If the apps have windows open it will show you what is on each window. If you have multiple windows open of the same app it will scroll vertically to show you all of those windows. When you tap a window it will open up on the Mac. The app has tons of great and innovative features. The app currently only acts as a trackpad, launcher, and switcher. If the app added keyboard input and a remote control interface this could easily become the new essential iPad app for controlling your Mac.

Remote HD

by App Dynamic

Remote HD aims to deliver a ton of great features in a great user interface. The app delivers on the user interface, but falls short in how the features are implemented. The main screen shows a Mac laptop, an iPhone 4 with a remote app, and a Magic Trackpad. A nice remote interface is pulled up on the lower 1/3 of the iPad when you tap the iPhone 4. The remote allows you to control iTunes with a series of different buttons. These allow you to play, pause, and more. There is a speaker icon that attempts to stream audio to your iPad, but this feature has not been functional in our testing. When you tap the Magic Trackpad a giant trackpad comes up. The trackpad comes with three buttons on the bottom. The top of the trackpad allows you to quickly change apps.The tracking speed of the trackpad is far too slow on anything larger than a 13” display. There are no app settings to change this speed and the system settings did not help speed up the trackpad to a usable speed. The trackpad has a keyboard button which will allow you to type. The top set of keys are function keys allowing you to access many of the Mac only keys. The laptop on the main screen allows you to view what is being displayed on with your Mac and control it by tapping on the screen. The keyboard will actually come up when you tap on the keyboard of the laptop. When you tap on the laptop speakers it will attempt to stream audio to your iPad, but this has never worked properly in our testing. When you tap the power button the laptop you are able to disconnect, sleep, shutdown, restart or log out of your Mac. The app also has a full screen mode. Overall the app is very well designed and offers some great features. The real killer is the slow trackpad. Overall a great app and for some people it might be a replacement for Rowmote Pro.

Decent Apps

Mobile Mouse (Remote/Mouse/Trackpad/Keyboard for the iPad)

by R.P.A. Tech

Mobile Mouse is by far the hardest to use trackpad app for the iPad. The response rate is very jittery and is not a fun app to use. The app does give quick access to your dock by showing it at the bottom of your iPad. The app also has quick access to iTunes and your default web browser. The interface is great for both iTunes and Safari through the customized controls. The app falls short in the performance of the trackpad. If the trackpad was better it would be a much more usable and fun app to use.

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