How to use your iPad as a Mouse – Mobile Mouse for the iPad

Mobile Mouse for the iPad (iTunes) is one of the most useful, and cool apps, I have found since I purchase the iPad a few weeks back. This $2.99 app turns your iPad into a huge multi-touch mouse surface — but it doesn’t stop there.

Mobile Air Mouse uses Wifi to connect your iPad to your computer, so long as they are on the same network which makes it a great for an alternate mousing experience, for giving a presentation or for controlling a Home Theater PC (HTPC).

On top of giving you a large multi-touch mousing surface there are some really cool features that set Mobile Air Mouse apart from other mice. First off it has a dock at the bottom of the screen that allows you to access the programs from your taskbar and as well as a few defaults. There doesn’t appear to be a way to customize what is on this list, or hide it which is disappointing because Internet Explorer takes up a slot and I find my wrist bumping the dock area when I use it as a mouse/trackpad on a flat surface.

But, that’s OK because the app is most useful when you are using an HTPC or giving a presentation. It has context specific toolbars that pop up to allow you extra access, and even a keyboard, depending what you are doing.

My favorite extra is great for giving a presentation or surfing the web from the couch. When you are in a browser, like Google Chrome, you get a web specific toolbar at the top of the mouse which allows you to refresh a page, open a new tab or window, go forward or back, search, open your home page or focus on the address bar and use the iPad’s keyboard to enter a web address.

To click you can double tap the screen anywhere, or use the left and right mouse buttons that are at the bottom of the screen. One of the things I really like from a usability standpoint is that if you start moving your finger across the screen, you can continue right over the top of the toolbar, mouse buttons or keyboard. This means you don’t have to give up mousing space when you are using an extra feature.

Another context driven situation helps you manage your media. If you are watching a movie or playing music you can use the music controls (shown below) to quickly take care of music related tasks.

In order for the app to work you will need to install a small server program on your computer. It is compatible with OSX 10.4+ and Windows XP/Vista/7 in 32-bit or 64-bit flavors. You can lock down the app with a password to prevent other network users from connecting and you can specify the IP address of the computer in case the iPad app can’t find it automatically; which I had to do on my work network.

There is no demo of the app, but if you have an HTPC, give presentations or just want a bigger trackpad; Mobile Mouse is worth the $2.99.

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