Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

PowerPoint And iPad Get Even Friendlier

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 by Justine<

It’s been a few months now since PowerPoint and iPad got together after one of the longest ‘will they, won’t they?’ debacles that business presenters have ever had to endure.

After such a convoluted build up expectations were high but our initial excitement was tempered with a fair degree of disappointment. Our resident übergeek Matt Roper ran the whole thing through its paces and his review identified some annoying omissions.

Matt lamented the loss of functionality in several areas and it’s almost as if someone, somewhere was listening….

The Office for iPad 1.1 update includes some great stuff that iPad users everywhere will be really pleased to see and behind the headline about exporting to PDF there are some great presenter tools too.

The ability to play videos in PowerPoint was a particular sticking point and that issue has now been addressed (much to Matt’s relief).

The custom show issue may still be an area for concern although the news on hyperlink updates gives us a little ray of hope that everything is moving in the right direction.

Also a word of caution – while viewing a PowerPoint presentation on an iPad is now a viable (if occasionally frustrating) option; creating one is still a pipedream.

While the reasons for this are, I’m sure, deeply technical and devilishly complex, I’ll leave you with Matt’s words of wisdom on the subject “creating and designing a PPT on an iPad – that would be silly!”

Fortunately the team here at Eyeful have a number of tricks and tips up their sleeves to make sure that our customers can use their presentations in whatever format suits them , and their audience, the best – simply contact us to find out more.

ipad blog

Share

PowerPoint for iPad – The Übergeek Review

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by Matt<

A wise man (I think he was wise anyway) once said the problem with the iPad is that Apple made a big iPhone rather than a small Mac. Unfortunately I think he was right.

Now I’m a PC man, I don’t own a MAC and quite frankly if you put me in front of one I’d have trouble finding the on button. But I am Apple gadget mad, I have an iPod Touch, iPhone 5 and an iPad 4 – so I know my around these devices pretty damn well. I like to explore new quirky useful apps, for example I recently turned my iPad into a touchpad remote control mouse and keyboard for my Laptop which was connected to my home TV. So I think I qualify as something of a geek.

When I heard PowerPoint for iPad was going to be released, I should have been jumping for joy and chomping at the bit to get my hands on it and have a play.

But – I’ve been here before. With this app or that app claiming to be the one to truly put an Eyeful designed PowerPoint in all its glory on the iPad only to fail time after time. The closest we’ve got is through some software called iSpring. And by close I mean 96% (my official guesstimate!) to the user experience being truly replicated on the iPad to the level it is on a PC.

Then a couple of days ago, I finally got my hands on the official Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad app and, well, it’s not all bad, but it’s not all great either!

Let’s start at the beginning.

You have just received your lovingly created PowerPoint Presentation from Eyeful, it’s all there, the message is strong, design is sleek and the animation artfully carries your story through to its conclusion…

And there you are, with a piece of collateral ready for a formal one-to-many presentation. But as we’ve preached many times, that same collateral can be reutilised and used on mobile devices. Cue the calls to put the deck on the iPads ready for next week’s marketing event.

And why not? An interactive presentation on a booth at an event, is a great way for interested people to have a play and find out what your business is all about.

An iPad is a also a powerful informal sales tool for when you step into that 1-2-1 pitch meeting and really need to get across why you are the BEST!

So, surely whacking the PowerPoint file onto the iPad is easy right? WRONG!

It’s a right palaver, but it’s getting better. And due credit to Microsoft for finally getting this app released. Well as much credit as you can give someone for turning up to the party 4 years after it started!!

You have three options to get the file onto the iPad. Firstly, the easiest and simplest method is OneDrive – Microsoft’s free cloud based hard drive. Simply drop the file onto your OneDrive account on your PC and a few minutes later it will be available to download onto your iPad, assuming you have the OneDrive app installed on your iPad. Filesize and internet speed will determine how long this process takes.

Second up and also pretty simple is via email, simply email the file to yourself. The usual file size restrictions apply. So this would rule out a lot of the presentations we create.

And finally, the most convoluted, but possibly quickest solution if your file is pretty beefy is via USB cable and some third party software called File App, which is a bit fiddly at first, but is a really useful piece of software for exploring the inner workings of your iPad.

So, one way or another you now have your Eyeful presentation on your iPad. So far so good, but how does it playback?

This is usually where the apps have fallen down over the years. In the past there have been text spilling everywhere, shapes and images suddenly in the wrong place and a lack of animation that simply put, you may as well have just converted it to PDF and not bothered.

Well, I put the app through its paces with a lovely presentation we designed that features a host of features including great design and use of images, demanding slick animation, custom shows, hyperlinks to external websites and embedded video.

And I was pleasantly surprised on hitting play, as the presentation sprang into life in a smooth and sophisticated way, the animation played smoothly, no glitches were obvious and it all felt pretty solid. A simple swipe took me through the first slides and it was like viewing a PowerPoint on a PC – it was working!!!

But then, the first fail, an embedded video sat static and no amount of tapping, pressing and holding or shaking of the iPad would get it to play. GUTTED. It was all going so well.

Then onto a slide with custom show hyperlinks which gave me the option to view some hidden slides – which failed. The custom show links were deader than VHS technology…

I skipped on through the rest of the presentation and to the apps credit the only problems I saw were the two noted above, they were pretty big problems though.

But if, like the majority of Eyefuls presentations, yours doesn’t contain custom shows or videos then this is a pretty robust solution for playing presentations on iPads. And there is some further good news, the app does support hyperlinking from slide to slide and hyperlinking to external websites…

So the custom show route can be worked around. And so long as you don’t mind requiring a live internet connection, then the videos could be hosted online and streamed outside of the presentation. Get stuck in slow internet area though and expect the video to buffer.

Speaking of internet connections, further good news… when you initially add the presentation file to the iPad it stays on the hard drive of the device, meaning you don’t need to be connected to the internet for playback. An absolutely critical box ticked.

So, all in all, it’s not a perfect iPad  solution – but there is enough capability there to make the PowerPoint for iPad app a viable presentation playback solution.

In terms of editing and creation, the word fiddly doesn’t come close. Whilst a lot of functionality is there, a lot isn’t. Making it pretty pointless in an age where your sole piece of hardware isn’t going to be an iPad.  It’s far easier to create and edit on a proper PC or Mac.

The most I would be comfortable doing would be tweaking textboxes and changing colours of objects. Changing images without breaking animation sequences isn’t an option. In fact adding or amending animation in the app isn’t supported. Strangely enough though, if animation is already present (having been added during creation on PC) then this displays perfectly. Good, but strange!

And there you go the PowerPoint for iPad app is finally here. Right now it’s not perfect and it did turn up 4 years late. So all in all, depending on the project it could be the perfect iPad solution. But without video, custom shows and animation it just feels like it’s only part of the PowerPoint package. So, all things considered, this Übergeek scores it 6/10, Microsoft must try harder.

Share

Office for iPad est arrivé

Friday, March 28th, 2014 by Justine<

You may like to sit down for this one.

After four years of turmoil and less than ten days after our last hopeful speculation about rumour becoming reality, it’s actually happened…. Take a deep breath everyone – Office for iPad exists!

PowerPoint and iPad have finally said “I do” and we couldn’t be more excited.

For those of us who are passionate about presentations and get a little giddy about gadgets the world just became a better place.

Tempting as it is to wax lyrical about how much of an impact this will have on business presentations and what it means for effective communications in the ever changing presentation landscape, I’m going to cut this one short.

You could spend the next few minutes sharing my excitement or reading what the tech experts have to say, but the best thing you can do right now is get downloading.

PS Now the hardware/software challenge has been sorted, it might well be time to give a little thought to the presentations themselves and we’re just the people who can help!

Share

Office for iPad – The Truth is Out There

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 by Justine<

Some rumours refuse to die. For example it is estimated that 7% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive (although there is some dissension over whether he’s flipping burgers in Illinois or working undercover for the DEA). People travel around the globe in the hope of seeing paddling plesiosaurs or huge bipedal apes and I’m pretty sure that any facility that may (or may not) exist for the storage of aliens and their spacecraft must be pretty close to bursting point by now.

But as easy as it is to dismiss, or indeed subscribe to, any of these things, there’s a similar mystery that’s been bugging the presentation world for a while now, PowerPoint for iPad.

We’ve avidly followed the – will they/won’t they – can they/can’t they – it’s coming/it’s not coming rollercoaster for longer than we care to remember.

We began our voyage into this particularly murky topic full of hope that Apple and Microsoft could come together to help business presenters get the job done. We’ve looked at this conundrum from all directions, in hopeful times we’ve prodded the professionals for answers, and sought sanctuary in cloud computing . On a more practical level we’ve joined forces with others who stopped waiting and started making it work anyway and (in some particularly churlish moments) we’ve wondered whether it would all be worth the bother anyway. It’s nearly a year since Office for iPhone was launched and the hope that generated for an iPad version has long since faded.

But, like the most ardent Elvis enthusiast or committed crytozoologist, our thirst for snippets of gossip and desperation for every whispered possibility to bring hard evidence that our dream might become a reality, never really waned.

And this week the rumblings have begun again. Yesterday’s ABC Tech Bytes stuck in a sneaky reference between discussing the new 8gb iPhone 5c and the Hubble space telescope (both of which do actually exist if that’s any sort of barometer).  The stock market also seems to think there may be something of substance on the horizon with Microsoft shares reaching their highest level since 2000, but whether that ‘thing’ is Office for iPad remains to be seen. Some commentators have even stuck their necks out and given it a birthday – March 27th.

But what do Apple and Microsoft have to say about it? – not a word (pun intended).

So, here we are again teetering on the verge, of the possibility, of something we’re very eager to find out the truth about, and hopefully by the end of this month we’ll know whether it’s the real thing or just another short order cook who can hold a tune.

Share

Samsung Galaxy Pro – Pretender or Contender?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 by Justine<

Samsung has leapt head first into the on-going tablet wars with the launch of its new Galaxy Pro tablet range. Rumours have been circulating for a while but the official launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday brings a new contender to the tablet landscape.

So far there have been two main choices for would be tablet owners, the iPad and the Surface.  Regular readers will know that we’ve investigated the faults and merits of each on several occasions and tried in vain to negotiate a productive peace between the two camps.

Obviously our coverage so far has been somewhat coloured by what we want from a tablet – we readily admit to a certain business/presentation bias  – but we don’t think we’re alone in wanting functionality, connectivity and accessibility (and if it can throw in some stunning looks as well, then all the better).

Samsung have chosen to pitch their tent right on the frontline of the Apple versus Microsoft’s stand off and if early reviews are anything to go by we’re in for some really interesting times.

Galaxy Pro is armed to take on both sides and is pulling no punches, pricing has not yet been released but we know that’s an area where Samsung can kick a little butt. The Spec is right up there too – Samsung have obviously done their homework and rather than sidestep the competition by inventing themselves a niche they’re charging full speed into what other competitors seem to consider hallowed ground.

This is no imitator or pretender to the throne so if Apple and Microsoft are listening, now might be a good time to kiss and make up, because it looks like it might need the best of both of you to take this one on….

Share

Microsoft ReSurfaces

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 by Justine<

Tablet computing has been one of the most exciting recent revolutions in business technology. As soon as the idea of a compact, touch screen device was mooted presenters everywhere began to get excited and we’re not ashamed to say that we were amongst them.

The iPad is undoubtedly gorgeous and the interface is sublime but we’ve always been frustrated by its limited functionality when it come to business in general and presentations in particular. We’ve worked hard to make sure that our customers can get the best from their iPads but we can’t escape the feeling that it has consistently failed to fulfil its early promise. It’s almost as if Apple’s baby has a first class degree in business studies and takes cool to a new level but can’t progress from stacking the beans in Tesco.

When Microsoft first started talking about the Surface we hoped that salvation was on the horizon. Most businesses use Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office software and we dared to dream of a tablet that gave business users everything they needed in one place.

If we’re honest we weren’t disappointed, we got our USB port, full use of the software we love and a dinky keyboard attachment too. 11 months on and the Surface has failed to make the impact (or profit) that was hoped. Microsoft’s baby has a first class degree and a great job in the city but alas, it also seems to have become the oddball geek in the corner that everyone’s a bit unsure of.

Microsoft has stood their ground, they know that their product has great potential and they’ve not been shy in forcing direct comparisons. The video below is a great example of this, but unfortunately they’ve missed the point. People buy an iPad because they want an iPad, not because they need one.

Which brings us to Surface 2. Launched this week, the Surface 2 is much improved, it has better screen resolution, a two position kick stand, longer battery life, new accessories and is both lighter and thinner. It’s all great stuff and means that this iteration is a real improvement on the original and for those that buy tech with their heads it’s a real contender.

Unfortunately when it comes to a big ticket item like a tablet, it’s a stronger person than me that can rate need above want.

It does seem that Microsoft know that they simply can’t compete against the iPad because the spiel for the Surface 2 includes what I think is a very interesting comparison, Microsoft claim (and they’re careful about this sort of thing) that the Surface 2 is more powerful than 95% of laptops available today.

While the level of improvement that Microsoft have incorporated into the Surface 2 should improve their sales, I can’t help thinking that maybe the biggest difference will come from some strategic repositioning.

So, what should Microsoft be saying to business users?

How about this? ‘If you want an iPad, buy an iPad. If you need a laptop take a good look at Surface 2.’

 

Share

Why Apple always make an impact

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by Justine<

This week is a big one for Apple. Yesterday they released iOS7 into the ether and tomorrow sees the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C go on sale in the UK.

But the products themselves are not the exciting part for us here at Eyeful.

Whatever you think of Apple products, it can’t be denied that when it comes to creating and sustaining a buzz about what they’re doing, Apple leave the competition far behind.

Apple products are distinctive but that’s not the secret, the secret lies in how Apple presents those products to the world. Apple have moved from niche market innovators to mass market providers by knowing and growing their audience.

There have been glitches along the way and even the late, great, Steve Jobs has contended with audiences that were less than enamoured with his message. But overall Apple has kept their audience on side by knowing what they want and communicating with them in a way they respond to.

Apple product launches have become events in themselves, they appear seamless and unforced but it has been well documented that behind the scenes it’s a different story. Every technical part of the show has a back-up for its back-up and every word and action is rehearsed and rehearsed before the audience even knows the event is taking place.

Apple uses a very simple presentation formula: the product, the presenter, the slideshow and the audience.

There are very few people who would refuse the opportunity to make the sort of presentation impact that Apple does, indeed many have tried to emulate them and failed because the simplicity of it all can be intimidating.

But just like the production, the simplicity of the presentation belies its true nature.

You might think that as a presentation design company we’re about to have a five minute rant on how much more exciting the slides could be, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The slides are the least important part of the presentation, without a powerful, engaging story and a presenter who knows what they’re doing the slides would be useless, however visually fantastic they were.

The thing is we’re not just a presentation design company, we’re a presentation consultancy company too. We help our customers get right down to the heart of their proposition and understand their audience because that’s how engaging stories are born, the slides that tell those stories are simply a means to an end.

Apple demonstrates to everyone just what a difference this approach can make and you don’t need a multi million pound budget to achieve it either, just a little Eyeful expertise can make all the difference.

Share

Office mobile on iPhone – well most of it…

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by Justine<

The Office for Apple debate has been like a frustrating box of chocolates – filled with the promise of wondrous enjoyment but delivering only coffee creams at every bite. The whole thing has been so disappointing that we are currently being enticed by the prospect of paying for the pleasure of nibbling at a caramel barrel.

Chocolate aside (not for long I promise) I am, of course, referring to the launch of the Microsoft Office mobile app for iPhone. Which on the face of it sounds like a step in the right direction and indeed it is – if you consider continental drift to be travelling.

There are two key issues before we even look at functionality. Firstly the app can only be used with an Office 365 subscription. Secondly the app can only be used on iPhones and the iPad mini.

Office for iPad is a dream for many business users and not only have we been denied it again but there is a real, *sticks tongue out, turns up nose with thumb and wiggles fingers while singing  na,na,na,na,na* feel to the whole thing being denied to us again. So near and yet so far…

But even for those of you sitting smugly with iPhones and 365 subscriptions in hand, the dream remains diluted. The new app will allow the non myopic among you to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. But you can only create Word and Excel documents. PowerPoint creation is not allowed. You now have access to the fruit creams (orange and strawberry) and the Turkish delight but that’s your lot.

From the Microsoft perspective they’ve thrown in some excellent functionality.  All edits applied through the app will be there when you access the docs from your desktop. The Slide Navigator lets you page through PowerPoint presentations quickly. The ‘Speaker Notes’ feature helps you practice presentations on the move. And the Resume Reading feature takes you the precise point in a document where you last left from. It’s almost like they’re saying ‘see who’s trying here; see who cares’….

Microsoft office has over 1 billion users, over 300 million iPads have been sold and I don’t need a venn diagram to illustrate the size of the overlap. Every bone in my body wants to lock Apple and Microsoft in a room together and not let them out until they’ve decided to be sensible about the whole thing, but sadly, that’s never going to happen.

So here we are, iPad users of the world, almost able to taste the merest hint of smooth chocolate but with all the luscious caramel stuck to our chins, and no-one likes to be sticky….

chocs

Share

In Defiance of Gravity…The Apple Way

Monday, May 20th, 2013 by Justine<

Modern tech is, for the most part, beautiful. When we use smartphones and tablets to present they’re often more than a tool – they’re a statement of our techie credentials.

Sleek lines, intuitive interfaces and portability are all key features, but as many once proud owners know the fragility of design that we all seem to love results in, well, fragility.

Over the years this has been approached in two ways;

Some smartphones have taken the Mr T approach and bulked up .The Casio G’zOne Commando is rated for complete water immersion, driving rain, dust, falls (up to four feet), vibrations, humidity, -13 to 185 degree temperatures, low pressure, salt fog, and solar radiation. It can survive being run over by a truck, a trip to the zoo  and relaxing in a Jacuzzi – but , let’s be honest, James Bond wouldn’t give it pocket space.

Other attempts have been of a more aftermarket effort. Anyone hoping to make their smartphone or tablet look like it’s been wrapped in a recycled truck tyre has plenty of options and replacement screens (along with the associated embarrassing/hilarious/plainly stupid explanations) are a revenue/entertainment stream all by themselves.

Now Apple are doing it their way.

They currently have a US Patent Pending  for the tech equivalent of a cat. A device that will sit inside your smartphone or tablet, detect when it is falling and reorientate itself to land in the least damaging position.

Using the level of tech usually associated with a lunar landing craft (thrusters included) as an over engineered reaction to the weakest link in the tech chain, (Home Sapiens),  is undoubtedly as Bond worthy as it can be.

 

fly phone framed

Now to find a way to apply it to buttered toast…

Share

Guest Blog – Apple Product Development Animation

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 by Simon<

Despite a comparitively bumpy ride recently, Apple continues to be held up as an example to businesses the world over.

They inspire, they lead and they challenge…

So it was with interest that we were contacted by Emily Stewart of OnlineMBA who wanted to share her insight into Apple using a strong story structure supported by simple animation.

Whilst there will always be debate around a brand as emotionally charged as Apple (just check out the comments on the YouTube clip) but as a presentation approach, we think it works a treat and worthy of a spot in our week of Guest Blogs (yep, even the marker squeak!).

Let us know what you think…

Share