iTap: Trounces Competitors; Takes Touchpad Top Spot
While hardly the first mousing app for the iPhone, iTap, created by Peter Honeder and Florian Pflug of Honeder Lacher Wallner Softwareentwicklung OEG, is to date, the most complete trackpad replacement available in the App Store.
From their website
iTap turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a WiFi-enabled touchpad and keyboard for your Mac or your PC.
- Supports PCs (XP and Vista) and Macs (10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard)
- Full mouse emulation including right clicks, scrolling and dragging
- Keyboard input, including multimedia keys e.g. for volume control
- Configureable layout (Portrait or Landscape) and number of buttons (Zero like the late-2008 MacBooks, one or two)
- Switch between different computers
- Autodetection of available devices – Usually no need to configure IP addresses or such
iTap’s visuals are perfect for a minimalist users who enjoy the simple elegance of one button and an uncluttered work area. The standard layout is MacBook like: one button at the bottom. You may select the new Macbook Pro trackpad-is-button design as well as split the bottom button into two equal halves if you are a dyed-in-the-wool Windows user.
The menu system too is Spartan but tastefully upholds the iPhone OS design ethic and is accessed through the Settings menu. As you can see, Most options available to typical notebook trackpad users are present: pointer speed and acceleration, gestures, scrolling speed and acceleration and a device sleep override. Included extras are changeable layout options, clicking sounds and finally, a full iPhone keyboard that is accessed through a three-finger vertical downward swiping gesture that features arrow keys and a volume control.
Ease of Use
iTap is a thing of beauty. Two downloads are all you need: one for the iPhone app and one for the Mac or Windows side. No fussing about with IP addresses. No app juggling. No Sweat. The author recommends carrying around a usb key with both a Mac and Windows binary so that you never have to download software but as this is a WiFi device, chances are that you will have access to internet just in case. Gestures are easy to learn and as of this writing, still few but useful but I hope their integration and number will increase.
The authors plan to release Linux versions of the OS integration software – no penguin needs to be left out in the cold which is often the case with many great pay apps. Wifi Touchpad for instance originally left out support for OSX and opted for a dated interface that fit very well with Windows. It is highly likely that Linux will never see support for Wifi Touchpad.
Since all new Macbook models have a glass trackpad, it should not be difficult to imagine the iPhone’s glass screen performing similar mousing tasks. In fact, iTap makes it as natural as the hardware will allow. Clicking, dragging and swiping all work great. There are no major delays and if your wifi signal is strong enough, you can surf from anywhere – as long as you can see your monitor or TV. iTap’s inclusion of trackpad-is-button emulation is however just a bell or whistle. The screen does not tangibly click like the Macbook and does not click and drag in the unibody trackpad emulation. Somethings exist just for looks.
After using iTap rather than my mouse or trackpad, I am impressed. It is a usable alternative not only as a remote, but also as a second or third analogue input device. However, there are two issues I can see that iTap needs to overcome: cylindric movements and typing. The first issue is no show stopper but annoying if you like to make circle patters with your mouse pointer whilst waiting for webpages to load. iTap’s cursor moves in squircles, rounded rectangles, Zunes – whatever you want to call them rather than elipses. Similarly, it does not do diagonal as well with horizontal or vertical movements. As far as I can see, no one will use this app for professional graphics applications so it should not be an issue unless you really make use of diagonals and circles in the OS.
Typing is a great feature to have in a remote application however, unlike Wifi Touchpad, iTap is devoid of zoom or text display functions. It would not be a problem if iTap were meant to be used in front of the computer, but as a remote app, it is perplexing. I am hoping for a few bundled extras like telescopes or binoculars for the next point update.
iTap is well worth the 3.99$ that Honeder Lacher Wallner Softwareentwicklung OEG are asking. It trounces Wifi Touchpad for style and usability and offers both Mac and Windows support from the get-go in an easy to use binary package. The interface is easy and well organised. After buying iTap, you may find yourself leaving your chair more often unless you need to input some text. Though typing is a chore that forces you to draw squircles, iTap is a great application that is well worth a Grab.
|Title:||iTap (V 2.4)||Developer:||HLW|
|Price:||$3.99||App Size:||0.5 mb|