By Curtis Joe Walker
Air Display by Avatron Software ($9.99) is an app available for both iOS and Android that turns a tablet or smartphone into a wireless touch display for Windows and Mac. Other versions can turn computers (such as an iMac, or an otherwise useless old laptop) into a wireless secondary display as well.
Wireless linking means there's a bit of a delay in the mouse movements. Using Air Display as a primary screen while editing photos is not the purpose of the software. Rather, it allows a mobile user to eke out a bit more desktop from their laptop screen for parking toolbars and other essential clutter. It allows a desktop user to actually walk around the house with a screen backed by a full-powered computer in the den, driven by a virtual keyboard and a touch interface.
While the device is in use, jumping between other iOS apps will cause the connection to the desktop app to be interrupted, however Pandora can still play in the background, thankfully offloaded from the precious CPU cycles of the main computer. Accessing basic functionality through the 4-finger-swipe method will not interrupt the connection, and many iPad functions are unobtrusively maintained.
The software may not revolutionize one's workflow, but it gives a very powerful and useful capability to something otherwise likely to be sitting unused on a desk for part of the day.
Bonus: When used in conjunction with an Apple TV ($99), an iPad can wirelessly mirror itself onto a big screen TV or projector, effectively turning any HDTV into a wireless computer monitor.
Geek Bonus: Users itching to try out cutting edge operating system touch interfaces as they are being developed in Windows 8 and Mac OS 10.7 will now have an inexpensive means of testing out OS-level touch interface integrations using a tablet they may already have lying around.
iOS - http://itunes.apple.com/app/air-display/id368158927?ign-mpt=uo%3D6&mt=8
Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avatron.airdisplay