4 cool iPad apps that make it easy to create great presentations

April 23, 2013

Today a new class of iPad apps allow you to create visually appealing presentations completely from your tablet. Given that a good presentation uses minimal text, engaging illustrations and useful graphics creating it on a tablet is not as challenging as word processing or spreadsheet management.

The following applications provide an easy-to-understand interface with some innovative takes on slide show creation and presentations.

Haiku Deck brings easy images

One of the most innovative applications in this space is Haiku Deck. A Haiku Deck presentation is designed to be a visual experience. After entering text on a slide the app recommends a series of copyright-free images for filling out the page. Then choose from among the text templates to create the desired formatting. The end result should then be several slides dominated by an eye-catching image with small bursts of information.

At first the concept of creating an entire presentation just from one’s tablet may seem laborious, but it works together rather nicely.

Haiku Deck is also built to be easily embeddable on a web site (I was able to create a Haiku Deck rather easily). This would be highly useful for those who want to keep a presentation available for a longer period of time after a meeting. And instead of being asked to re-send that PowerPoint presentation 20 times, just keep the link to the Haiku Deck live and anyone can access it.

Haiku Deck is free in the App Store, with additional templates available as an in-app upgrade.

Prezi zooms in on content

Prezi was introduced prior to the iPad, yet it has adapted itself for editing and presenting on Apple’s tablet.

With Prezi, presentations zoom and pan instead of moving through linear slides. Users can begin a presentation with a word, then write definitions or further details about it inside one of the letters. To get there, the camera flies in closer, much like when Google Earth hones in on a new city. It is a good break off from the side-scrolling style of presentations, allowing users to be truly imaginative when it comes to their creation.  

Prezi is free on the App Store, with a series of upgrades available for power users. For $49 per year you get private presentations and increased customer support. The $159 per year package provides offline support and 2GB of online storage.

Deck's unique take on presentations

Deck has a moderately higher learning curve than Haiku Deck, but it provides its own unique take on what a presentation should look like.

The presentations are offered in more of a scrolling storyline with plenty of animation and graphics. Your main point of entry is to choose text, a template, then let Deck handle the rest. 

Deck is also free with in-app purchase options for some better-looking presentation templates. Expect flying paint, brick walls, and building blocks to fly across the screen as choices among high-powered images.

Keynote offers Apple-style presentations

For those who want to stay in Apple’s ecosystem, Keynote will be an ideal choice. The app, which launched alongside the iPad three years ago, sticks very close to the Apple design aesthetic and of course syncs with iCloud. The advantage here is a consistent look when syncing up Keynote files from a Mac to the iPad.

Keynote, like most of Apple’s applications, features elegant images and attractive animations as part of its presentations. The interface makes effective use of multitouch for inserting or tweaking images. Working with Keynote feels very similar to its desktop component, just using multitouch gestures and swipes instead of a mouse and keyboard. 

In an app world dominated by free and .99 cents  to $1.99 programs, Keynote is relatively expensive at $9.99. Also, for the full syncing effect you will need a Mac and iCloud enabled. 

Re-imagining presentations

As you can see from these four programs, developers have substantially re-imagined what a presentation should look like and how it can be accomplished in the tablet era.

Perhaps the next time you need to create a presentation, particularly on the go, you’ll find it faster to grab an iPad and get to work.


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