This app has been updated (as of 8-15-13) to allow up to 30+ iPads to connect to the "pilot" and has additional presentation features.
Normally, we don't do app reviews, but this app caught our eye today as a harbinger of the great things yet to come on iPad (and hopefully, iPod touch). This is for those of you without a projector, and 15 or less iPads that need to connect to your shared presentation (at this time, only PDF is supported).
Condé Nast Digital released Idea Flight, a crazy-simple way for presenters to "screen control" and share PDFs with a group in real time across the same wi-fi network. Yes, we know what you're thinking, "but what about across the Internet," or "what if I have more than 15 devices," or "what about something else than a PDF", or any number of other requests and features that would be great. Up until today, not even the features of Idea Flight had been used in many other apps in such a focused way. Here's your ideal situation: you've got a small group (up to 15) you need to show some slides or photos, you don't have or don't want to use a projector (meeting-buster), and you have a wi-fi network available (required, actually). Idea Flight allows one person to be the "pilot" (a $7.99 in-app purchase), and the others can be passengers (passenger mode is free).
Each person in the group chooses a role, either pilot or passenger. Obviously, the pilot is the one who will be doing the sharing and talking, so only one pilot at a time, please.
As long as you're on the same wi-fi network, the pilot will see the passengers and can immediately transfer the file to be used (either from Dropbox- which is ideal, or from locally-available PDFs on the pilot iPad). Once transferred, the pilot has control of the passenger devices, and the presentation can start.
Then, both pilot and passenger see the same presentation, with the slides changing on the other devices in real time. It's pretty slick. Normal controls you'd expect: open/email/print PDF, scrubber to get through multiple pages quickly, swipe (or tap triangles at bottom) to advance pages.
Additionally, the pilot can unlock the presentation so that the passengers can go through the PDF and look around in any order. When the pilot decides to "lock" the presentation again, all passengers are returned to the page that the pilot is currently viewing.
Finally, if you accidentally get out of the app (or just want to check a quick Twitter post), Idea Flight keeps your "session" open, so it's easy to jump back into the app and be right back where you should be.
Again, this seems like an excellent start to many possibilities in the future. Although it's not perfect, it's set a lot of feet in the right direction. The document "syncing" from pilot to passenger reminds us of a feature that the eMates had when the connected with our old 5260s running some teacher software to easily collect and send out documents (eMates, for the uninitiated, were basically Newtons with keyboards attached). This kind of easy document sharing and collaboration features would be a welcome addition to many apps that we already use (Keynote, anyone?), and we hope to see more of this kind of app available to educators and non-educators.