What could be more engaging than presenting from your iPad to a roomful of seen-it-all colleagues or clients? Sure, it's keen and different, but when you come down to it, slides are slides. Pushing up involvement by distributing printed copies of the deck is one way to level up the amount of information you can convey -- but the back edge of that sword is watching your audience page ahead in your carefully-crafted content, getting distracted by shiny objects and generally splintering off in different directions.
A small team at publisher Condé Nast has come up with one approach to reining everyone in during a presentation: a new app called Idea Flight. This iPad application is free for the audience ('passengers') and a US$7.99 in-app purchase for presenters ('pilots'); it lets the pilot walk through the presentation on his or her iPad while the passenger iPads follow along in sync. Once the deck is done, the pilot sets it free -- then the passengers can roam about the cabin, so to speak, and explore the presentation at their own pace.
With full buzzword compliance (Dropbox integration, LinkedIn logins, GameKit and Core Graphics implementation), it certainly sounds good; you wouldn't even need a fully iPad-equipped audience, as you can present to screen from your iPad 2 while running the app. How well it will work in the real world of sketchy networking and complex PDF downloads is another question entirely. I'm going to check out a live hands-on demo of Idea Flight this Friday, so once I see it in action, I'll report back.