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Apple's Keynote Remote arrives at the App Store, priced at $0.99

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hicago (IL) - When Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller introduced new Keynote '09 at the Macworld 2009 keynote, the audience cheered as he announced accompanying iPhone application for remote controling Keynote presentations on a Mac using toucscreen on the handset. What's more, no-one blinked when he casually said it will be a 99 cents purchase. If you create presentations to actually show them to someone, not just for fun, this is a small price to pay for an excusse to pull out your iPhone during the presentation.

Before you can start using Keynote Remote, you first have to discover and connect to Keynote Remote that's running on your iPhone - similar to how Apple TV and desktop iTunes pair with Apple's Remote application for the iPhone.

To do this, open Keynote on your Mac and go to Preferences found in Keynote menu. Click the Remote tab and then choose "Enable" to have the application automatically search all device on the wireless network that are running an instance of Keynote Remote. When found, Keynote Remote running on the iPhone will show a password that you need to enter into the Keynote running on your Mac to complete the pairing process.

From now on, Keynote Remote is linked with this copy of Keynote '09 on that particular Mac. The application displays a list of all Keynote documents found in the home directory of your Mac and you simply tap desired document to take control of the presentation. Keynote Remote displays an iPhone-optimized image of a current Keynote slide, in addition to your annotations at the bottom which comes quite useful when you're giving live presentation because you don't have to be tied to a computer anymore to view notes as you speak. Instead, you just glance at your iPhone.

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The application also works in landscape mode. And when you turn the handset upside down, current and next Keynote slide are displayed at once - but no annotations are displayed in this view. A simple left or right swipe of your finger advances presentation one slide backward and forward. Tapping on the screen advances through set key points and transition within current slide.

On the downside, the iPhone does not process slides instantly, which can be a problem if you want to quickly advance through the next couple of slides for whatever reason. It would be handy if the application had an index page with thumbnails of all the slides in a presentation, too. Finally, we'd like to see audio playback and volume controls since we often embed videos and audio content into our presentations.

With that in mind, if you create presentations to actually show them to someone and not just for fun, Keynote Remote is a no-brainer - of course, if you own an iPhone. Applications like Remote and Keynote Remote continue to amaze us with how cleverly Apple ties the iPhone with its broader ecosystem purely through the power of software.

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