Keynote for iOS 2.0 vs. the Satechi Bluetooth Remote

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Among the many updates for its hardware and software products that Apple released this week was an all-new version of Keynote for iOS, now sporting a 2.0 version number.

I haven't looked into the actual feature set yet, but the most obvious change is that it now comes with a UI in the style of iOS 7. It also features better support for the iOS accessibility features, something that the previous version had implemented only partially.

What's good news for those who have to rely on better accesssibility turns out to be bad news for users of the Satechi Smart Pointer Bluetooth Remote, though. In short, the 2.0 update renders the remote pretty much useless for controlling a presentation.

What's still working, more or less, is the ability to control a presentation running on the iPad itself, i.e. without a projector or monitor connected. There's one change here, though, that can get in the way: Keynote now highlights an element on the screen, e.g. a bar graph, by drawing a frame around it. If you're using full-screen photos, then that photo is highlighted, but you won't really see it since the frame is around the entire photo.

But that is of course not why you bought the remote - you want to control a presentation that's being displayed on a projector. This, unfortunately, barely works now.

With an external monitor or projector connected, the accessibility feature - and, therefore, the Satechi remote - controls the presenter screen on the iPad. With the remote's up and down buttons, you can jump between the elements on that screen. Only when the focus is on the text above the current or the next slide can you use the remote's play/pause button to advance slides - but nothing more.

The left and right buttons on the remote don't do anything. If the focus is elsewhere on the presenter screen, you can activate the function but can not advance slides. Most of all, there's no way to go back to the previous slide! Which, as explained elsewhere, is a function you really want to have easily available to you.

You can actually browse through the entire slide deck (while the audience still sees the current slide), but this always starts with the first slide, so it's taking a really long time if you want to go to a slide somewhere in the middle of your presentation. Also, I didn't see a way to get out of this browsing mode with the remote alone.

To summarize: If you want to control a presentation running on your iPad, the update to Keynote for iOS 2.0 is a huge step back, at least if you want to control it with the only available 3rd party remote control. I wouldn't really recommend giving a presentation with only a forward button in your hands.

I'm not sure if Satechi - or Apple - can do anything here to fix this. I'm wondering, though, how you are supposed to go back a slide in accessibility mode anyway, i.e. without the remote. So maybe Apple will have to make a change here. Right now, I wouldn't count on it, though. It's back to Keynote Remote, I guess.

Update: The problems were finally resolved with Keynote 2.5 for iOS. If you're having trouble with Keynote for iOS and the Satechi remote, make sure you're using the latest version.

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Creative Commons Licence "Keynote for iOS 2.0 vs. the Satechi Bluetooth Remote" by Dirk Haun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.