Posted by: glasskeys | 06/12/2011

Remote desktop applications: iTeleport for the iPad.

(To view a larger image with a more detailed description tap or click a thumbnail.)

Today’s post is the first in a series about remote desktop/Virtual Network Computing (VNC) applications for the iPad. Some applications reviewed in the series will work with the iPhone, but be forewarned I won’t be expending any energy or time on this subject, as it is silly to use remote desktop applications on a tiny mobile screen using a miniscule touch keyboard.

The first application in the series is a remote desktop app dubbed iTeleport – a useful remote desktop application that allows you to control a remote Mac or Windows computer with your iPad.

Setup is easy enough, and easily permits you to connect to a remote computer providing you have a gmail account, and I don’t think there is anyone left this day and age that doesn’t have gmail, barring the occasional troglodyte or person professing to hate Google — mainly for attention seeking purposes or to “set one apart from the pack” — like everyone else that is apart from the pack and dislikes Google.

Continuing on, I find iTeleport most usefull for browsing folders, opening terminal apps to execute shell commands, or occasional document creation on my remote machines. I would not recommend using it to do tasks like watching a movie — that is unless you enjoy the exercise of finding the inner meaning of an incomplete movie scene every two to five seconds by way of rectangular jpeg image artifacts. Unintentional digital by-products that produce nothing more than bad Mondrian art.

Mouse pointer movement can take a bit of getting used to, and frankly I still don’t like the experience much even after becoming used to it. A simple touch of the screen moves the remote mouse pointer as one would expect, what one doesn’t expect is the remote pointer inexplicably hopping away from a “pointer finger” after scrolling on the side edges of a remote screen.

This leads me to another whinging rebuke: Why am I unable to see the entire remote desktop screen at once without having to move from side to side like a drunken sailor over an image of my desktop? I fail to see why this cannot be accomplished in 2011 as it was possible on Citrix via RAS connection circa 1997, yet seems difficult on this application and is my biggest complaint about iTeleport. Changing remote screen resolution helps, I changed mine to match the iPad’s native resolution, yet still need to scroll on the sides, and still produces the annoying pointer issue.

Not all is bad, a big plus in iTeleport’s favour is keyboard support and how keys are supported for specific OS platforms. This includes OS specific keys with correct labels (Mac OS command, control and alt keys as an example), arrow keys, function keys, etc. Another plus is stability, I have yet to have iTeleport “crash” or encounter odd connection errors as most software of this category is renowned for.

Verdict: At $19.99 (US) it is not in the “cheap enough to try, it won’t hurt much if it sucks” category of applications generally found on the App store. It is worth the price (probably not much longer as there are more apps that provide remote desktop capabilities), but be aware of its limitations. Try to keep your windows on one side of the screen. Available for purchase here on the App store.

Disclaimer: I am not associated or employed by any company producing software reviewed on this site.

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