Apple, please create an Apple TV for the conference room

The forthcoming ability in iOS 5 to stream screen displays from the iPad is great for conference presentations -- or could be

You can't go a day or two without seeing a story speculating on the iPhone 5, which I'm certain will not see the light of day this fall. Apple will instead offer an iPhone 4S (or some other 4-based name), a faster, perhaps thinner version of the iPhone 4. But what you almost never hear about is Apple TV, the $99 black box that connects not just the Internet to your TV, such as to rent movies or stream videos, but also streams content from your iPad or iPhone.

In the forthcoming iOS 5, you'll be able to wirelessly mirror your iPad 2's display to an HDTV via the Apple TV, or so Apple has announced. The iPad 2 could previously wirelessly send music and video to the Apple TV, but in iOS 5, you'll be able to stream presentations, your browser's screens -- anything, in fact, that's on your iPad's screen.

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Imagine what this will do for presentations. You can walk the stage with your iPad or have it at the podium and carry off live presentations complete with application demonstrations and Web pages -- but only if your display or projector has an HDMI port. (HDMI-to-VGA cables won't work, as you need a digital-to-analog converter box as well.) And there has to be a wireless LAN in the conference room for the iPad and Apple TV to connect through; unlike a Mac, the Apple TV and iPad can act only as Wi-Fi clients, not as ad hoc access points. In most facilities, these two conditions don't hold -- so my presentation fantasy remains just a fantasy.

Sure, you can physically connect your iPad to a projector or screen using a VGA adapter cable or HDMI cable, but that limits your mobility on stage. I've more than once walked a bit too far from the podium, causing the adapter cable to unplug from the projector. It's true that for Keynote slideshows, you can freely walk around the stage or room if you get the $1 Keynote Remote app, which allows your iPhone or iPod Touch to control the iPad tethered to the display or projector via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, you can show only Keynote presentations -- nothing else.

What we really need from Apple is the Apple TV Conference Edition. That enhanced Apple TV would have two capabilities the regular Apple TV does not: a VGA port (or a DVI port or DisplayPort with which you could use any of the widely available VGA adapters) and a built-in Wi-Fi access point.

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