iWork for iPhone: Keynote

They say that the best tool for the job is the one you have with you, and when it comes to giving a presentation, that’s what Keynote for the iPhone is all about. Instead of lugging your laptop all over the place just to handle a presentation, instead all you need is your iPhone and a projector adapter cable and you’re good to go. Plus, your amazing technical skills could really impress the boss.

In this, the final installment in our iWork on the iPhone series, we’ll get into just how functional Keynote for the iPhone is, and whether or not its made the transition to the mobile arena well, or if there are still a few more kinks to be worked out. Find out after the jump.

Design and Interface

The Keynote interface is separated into three main functionality areas: browsing and opening presentations; creating and editing presentations; and viewing presentations. When opening the application you’ll see the presentations view. This is a thumbnail view of all of the presentations that you have currently saved on your iPhone. The view is very much in the same vein as many other Apple products, in that it’s simple, clean and very easy to use to navigate through your presentations quickly.

View all your presentations

View all your presentations

The portion of Keynote where you’ll no doubt spend the most time is actually building and editing your presentations. If you’ve ever worked with Keynote on a Mac, or any other presentation software for that matter, you’ll feel right at home using the Keynote interface. You’ll see a scrollable list of thumbnails of the slides that have been created on the left hand side, and the slide you’re currently working on in the main window. The functions to interact with your presentation are accessed by buttons at the top of the screen. Tapping on elements on the slide itself allow you to work with aspects of your slides. It’s certainly a small interface, but much to my surprise, it is actually quite easy to use.

Modifying the style of text

Modifying the style of text

You’ll be able to play your presentation on your iPhone as well. This can be useful for checking how your presentation works and could also be used to actually present if connected to a larger display. Tapping on the screen will advance to the next slide, swiping to the left will take you back one slide, tapping on the far left side will slide out a thumbnail list of all the slides in the presentation, and double-tapping on the display will take you back to presentation editing mode.

Playing a presentation

Playing a presentation

The application is capable of quite a bit and I have to say that it was extremely easy to learn. It’s designed so that it just makes sense. What I mean is that whenever I was confused about how to accomplish a specific task I would just do what I thought should work and it almost always did. Being built by Apple it is essentially a model iOS application and utilizes iOS and the hardware perfectly. It is quick, easy, useful and fun.

Edit mode

Edit mode

Working with Presentations

I think the best way to give you a feel for how the application works is to just run through some of the functionality. We’ll work through the sample presentation that has been created for you to help you learn the application.

Starting at the presentation screen, any presentation you’ve created can be accessed by tapping on the corresponding thumbnail. Creating or importing a presentation is as easy as tapping the plus icon in the upper left-hand corner of the display. Starting a new presentation will take you to a screen where you can select one of a dozen templates to start from. All the templates are in Apple flavor and tastefully done.

Open a presentation or start a new one

Open a presentation or start a new one

This view and functionality of editing a presentation is very much like any other presentation applications on your computer. You’ll find the thumbnails of all the slides in your presentation on the left side of the screen. You can swipe through the slides and tap the one you’d like to work on to activate it. Adding a new slide is as simple as tapping on the plus sign below the thumbnails, then you’ll get to select a layout within the theme you are using. There are a nice variety of layouts to choose from so you should be able to find a solid starting point for any new slide. If not, you can certainly customize it.

Picking a template to start a new slide

Picking a template to start a new slide

Working with Slides

The amount of functionality when working with slides is almost surprising, but it really isn’t difficult at all. If you tap on an image you can manipulate it. If you tap on text you can edit it. Inserting images, charts, graphs or shapes is as simple as tapping the ever-common insert image button. Tap on the wrench to get to more settings and adjustments. You get the picture. Working with your slides and presentations is extremely intuitive and very easy to figure out.

Tapping on an image to edit

Tapping on an image to edit

Conclusion

This is the last of the iWork for the iPhone review series and I’d say it is probably the most useful from an actual production standpoint. It’s very possible to get some actual work done with this application on your iPhone. As we’ve mentioned with Pages and Numbers, they’ll probably find their biggest value in those emergency type situations, but it is not unrealistic to say that it is very possible to create a completely professional presentation using Keynote on your iPhone.

Priced at $9.99, it is a fairly expensive iPhone application comparatively speaking. It is, however, iPad compatible as well so if you have an iPad you’ll be getting two apps for the price of one. That always makes the cost easier to take. Pages and Numbers are a bit more on the viewing side of the fence. In my opinion Keynote is a little different and can actually be used to create. While it may not be as high powered as the desktop version, it is very capable and some may even find the experience more enjoyable. With that in mind, if you’re someone that has the need to give presentations it is absolutely worth the cost and even if you’re not I could still recommend it. Maybe you’ll be like me and after a little Keynote for iPhone time be thinking of more opportunities for using presentations.


Summary

Create and edit Keynote presentations right from your iPhone.

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