September 9, 2009

iPhone App of the Week: Air Mouse Pro

When I first saw this app in Revision3's App Judgment show, I said to myself, dang, that's pretty neat looking. So I downloaded it and it wasn't working!

Turns out that the next thing I needed to do for it to work was the Air Mouse Pro desktop app (for Windows, Mac and Linux). Then again, I would've known that were I to actually look at the app description (and listen to the show's host) in the first place!

Anyway, I finally got the app up and running.
It starts off with a little trackpad reminiscent to that of a laptop's.
When the iPhone or iPod is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it automatically connects to the computer with the Air Mouse Pro desktop app without much user intervention.

By default, the portrait view of the app has the keyboard enabled. To hide the keyboard, shake the iPhone or iPod touch downwards.
The Shuffle button lets you choose between two trackpad configurations. By default, the trackpad has a larger scrolling area, and the left and right click buttons are found below. The other configuration has you pressing the central part (the one with the yellow streak) of the mouse so you can control the cursor using your accelerometer.
This makes up the "air mouse" part of the app. It takes a little getting used to, but it actually works if you know how to maneuver it well enough.

The app also has a landscape view where only the big scrollable area with the left and right mouse click buttons located at the bottom.
This enables the user to apply simple multi-touch gestures like zoom in and zoom out, but not the more advanced 3 or 4-fingered gestures on a Macbook trackpad.

The app also features separate keyboards for several apps like the browser and iTunes. These custom controls can be accessed through tapping the keyboard icon on top of the keyboard.
You have the function keys...
The browser keys...
...and the playback controls.

Several apps can use these custom controls, and you can tweak the settings of the Air Mouse Pro desktop app and even add more apps that can utilize these custom controls.

If you own a computer that's also your DVD player (aka, wired to your TV as a home theater PC) or you just want to type stuff from afar, Air Mouse Pro suits your needs. While the accelerometer-based air mouse needs work (and thus a gimmick), you get your money's worth.

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