Needed: Serious Presentation App for the iPad

John Nack from Abobe asked a few weeks ago for ideas for Adobe iPad and tablet apps. The comments section was filled with ideas and most were related to bringing Lightroom or Photoshop to the iPad. And while those are nice ideas, personally, I’d like to see some type of viewing and presenting application designed especially for creatives.

A Presentation App for Creatives

I find that the iPad is great for bringing to meetings and sharing ideas with colleagues or clients. I was recently at a meeting and unexpectedly needed to show a logo redesign I had been working on. Luckily, I had my iPad and a PDF and was able to pass around the tablet for the committee members to review the concept.

I also use PDFs for many of my lectures. And while I’ve used Keynote on the iPad, I’d still love to be able to present with PDFs. And it would be helpful to keep a portfolio on my iPad to share with prospective clients. There are apps like Good Reader (Warning: iTunes link) that allow some of this functionality, but what’s missing is an app to allow this to function seamlessly.

Adobe Presenter (or Portfolio?)

There are lots of apps that allow you to read PDF files or view image files. But I think Adobe could take it further and specifically target the needs of creatives. Here’s what I think the app would need to do to be successful:

  1. Support many formats. At least PDF, JPG, PSD, AI and PNG. And maybe TIF. And any other files you can support. The more file formats that can be supported the better.
  2. Video-out mode. The app would have to support presenting through the VGA adapter. And hopefully they can improve on Apple’s interface for presenting with Keynote on the iPad.
  3. Ability to assemble or modify presentation. I envision an app that would allow you to store assets – PDFs, images, native files – and select which assets you want to include in a presentation. You could combine files and rearrange the order of assets, including reordering the pages in a PDF. You could store a portfolio of your work on the iPad and customize your presentation before showing a potential client. Or rearrange a presentation on your iPad before a lecture.
  4. Integrated web browser. If you want to show a web site as part of your portfolio or lecture, you would have to leave the app. So include an integrated Webkit browser (like Twitteriffic does…) and allow access to links from within the app.

Other features that would be helpful, but wouldn’t need to be present in a 1.0 version… 

  1. Notes/Captions. I’d love to be able to add notes to each slide. That would be helpful if I need to see lecture notes or if I want to add details for the images that I’m showing. And in video-out mode, bonus points if I can see those notes on the iPad’s screen.
  2. Commenting. I can see adding comments to files as a nice feature. Not necessarily needed in version 1, though.
  3. Support for video files. I think this would be a great addition, but I think PSD and AI support is more important.
  4. Some mechanism for easily syncing files. For me, this is the biggest challenge for the iPad… managing files. Initially, you can use the hooks built into iTunes for file sharing, but I’d love to see a more sophisticated system, similar to Dropbox. It would be helpful to rate images, add captions, comments and keywords. And then have that data sync back with my Mac. However, I think this workflow would be challenging unless there was some kind of cloud-based sync service. Perhaps Adobe could try tying it into their Photoshop.com online service. I’m not sure what the best solution is here.

Why Adobe?

Looking at the features above, anyone could make the app. So why should Adobe build this app?

Well, I think it is an app that works for their target audience. Photographers could use it to show images to a client. Designers can use it for their portfolio or for discussions with clients. And it could double as a lightweight PDF presentation application for creative of all types. It enhances PDF as a presentation platform, could provide extensive support for their native formats like PSD and AI and possibly connect with their online services. Plus I think it would be a natural fit for Adobe to offer to the creative community.

How much are you willing to pay?

So far, Adobe’s iPhone and iPad apps have been free. Photoshop.com Mobile and Adobe Ideas are both offered as free downloads. I’m sure Adobe sees this as a service to their clients and a way to gain some positive PR.

But personally, I’m willing to pay something for an app that can do everything listed above. Apps with similar feature sets are priced in the 2.99 to 9.99 range. I’m sure Adobe could find a large audience with a price tag somewhere in the middle of that range.