WiFi Touchpad in Review – Turn Your iPhone into a MousePad
WiFi Touchpad is a recently released app that turns your iPhone/iPod Touch into a wireless touchpad. According to the App Description:
Need a wireless keyboard/mouse for a presentation, or when you connect your PC to the big screen TV? The WiFi Touchpad is the application for you! It can turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a wireless touchpad and text input device. Sleek and simple, you can sit back and relax while you control with ease.
You will notice right away that it makes no mention of any Mac support. This is a shame since WiFi Touchpad is easy to use for the most part and works as advertised. Since I am not able to test this out on my Macbook, let’s have a look at how it performed on my desktop with Windows XP.
Once you install the PC iReceiver application, connecting to your desktop is just a matter of tapping on the ‘Connect to…’ button on app. My IP address was already detected , so I didn’t even have to enter any IP info. Once connected, the trackpad was responsive and smooth most of the time. I did experience a slight lag with the mouse cursor from time to time, though not nearly enough to detract from the whole experience.
Besides the actual trackpad, you will find 3 mouse buttons (left, middle and right) as well as a handy zoom button. It does support multi-touch, so you can scroll a page by sliding two fingers up and down the pad. Tapping the pad with two fingers will also enable the right mouse click. The zoom feature will enlarge a section you hover over should you need to see things a bit more clearly. I can see this as a nice to have option for those sitting far away from the TV set with a PC hooked up.
WiFi Touchpad also incorporates Text Input for those who want to type directly from the iPhone. Again, this is useful for people who have a home enterainment PC wired to their Plasma/LCD TV. On the Text screen, you will find your standard iPhone keyboard along with the Esc, Alt, Tab, Backspace and Enter keys. As you type, your text will appear only on your iPhone screen. Tapping on the ‘Send Text’ button will then send it to your monitor or TV. While this does work, it would be more intuitive and user friendly if the text appears on your monitor in real time, as opposed to hitting send all the time. One final note on the input system: it even recognizes handwritten Chinese characters, so this is a bonus option for those who can take advantage of this feature.
Other than the fact that it does not support Mac, there are some options missing that could make it a better trackpad app. There is no setting for changing the cursor/scrolling speed and acceleration. Having the option to change this will allow the user to set the responsiveness of the trackpad just the way they like. Another feature that would have been nice to have is landscape text input. Those wanting to type out longer messages or strings of text will benefit from the larger keyboard found in landscape view.
Bottom Line: WiFi Touchpad works as advertised and performs rather well. It really is too bad that an app developed on the Mac doesn’t actually support it. At $2.99, Windows users looking for a wireless trackpad app should be quite satisfied with all that WiFi Touchpad has to offer.
Update: mbpowertools has just notified me that support for Mac will come early 2009.