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Apple's Keynote Remote: first impressions

Keynote A remote control device is required equipment for the serious presenter — my favorite remote (and I have many) is the Keyspan Presenter. So I was rather skeptical about Apple's Keynote Remote, an iPhone (or iPod Touch) app that turns your iPhone/Touch into a basic remote if you're using Keynote '09. It's ridiculously easy to set up (the devices communicate over Wi-Fi), just works. It won't replace my Keyspan (the Keynote Remote app does not have a black-out-screen function and the iPhone is a bit bulky in the hand compared to a tiny, plastic remote), but if I ever forget my remote control, my iPhone will do the trick just fine. Below is a rough cut of my impressions with the Keynote app today.

Here's a good review of the application on



Hehehe. You always have Spam on your desk?


Thanks for the review and the video. I have been debating this app since they announced it. I have read both good and bad reviews as well so seeing it in action was great. My only problem is that I am sure this will really run down the battery in the already crumby battery life of my 3g. But as you said it will most likely be a great back up. I use a kensigton that I really like and I just bought the Targus made for mac remote. I have not used this one yet in a presentation but so far I think it is overly big and bulky.

I have also messed with stage hand form the app store and it was ok.


Good review -- the app works for me too, in testing. I notice that I tend to look at the screen a bit more than I would with, say, a push button remote that I basically forget about and just click. I couldn't help but notice that it drew your eye in a few times. :)

It's bigger, brighter and a bit more distracting so I think I would use it more for a back up as well.

-- Morgan


I have to admit, I think it's cool that you can see the slide in miniature on the iphone, this generally smells like the darker side of apple.

During a presentation, the last thing you want is to have to look at the thing in your hand rather than at your audience, so the best remotes are the ones with buttons you can find by touch.

That said, if Apple wants people to use their iPhones as remotes (and it's good for Apple to have more people visibly using their stuff), it seems to me that charging $10 for the app is in poor taste when we've already bought a mac, an iphone and keynote, too. Shouldn't they just magically work together?


The remote that ships with all Apple computers can also be used to control your Keynote/PPT presentations (and is very compact). It doesnt do the blackout screen though.


1) the iphone remote for keynote is only 99 cents not 10 dollars

2) the new laptops do not ship with a remote anymore

Also I have used the apple remote (white one included with older laptops and desktops) and it is pretty much line of sight with the front of the computer where the IR port is. so this has been a problem for me in the past. I am not always right next to or in front of my laptop when presenting.


just curious: do you know by chance what kind of remote Steve Jobs uses at the apple events?


Thanks for the review Garr. A quick question: do you know what happens if you receive a call during the presentation?


Great App! Seriously.
But just a thought.. what if the phone rings in between the presentation?

It's great to have such useful stuff on iPhone but sometimes I wish everything was not on one device :(



Great video - I especially dig the Spam on your desk!

Marijn de Jong

Here's two "Powertips"

1. If there's no WiFi network available, create one on your Mac. Using this AdHoc network works just as well as a regular WiFi, and since the remote communicates over Bonjour, you don't need to set up any IP stuff.

2. The remote also works on an iPod touch, if you don't own an iPhone, a touch is a great remote too.

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