March 16, 2015

Attaching a second display screen to your PC (or Mac) can boost your productivity by a huge margin - and a huge number of people are already doing it.  A study cited in NYT in 2006 estimated a 20% or 30% increase in productivity by adding a second screen, while older research by Microsoft indicates a much wider range - from 9% to as high as 50%.

Whatever the quantum, a second display indeed boosts productivity. You can easily use and switch between several applications, get one display to collect actionable information, or simply show reference material.

Mac users can also benefit from adding a second display - especially people like me that use the smaller 11-inch screen version. A large percentage of Mac users also own an iPad, and can easily use it as a second display. In fact, there are a host of apps available that let Mac owners use iPad devices as a second display - but they all use Wi-Fi to connect.

While connecting iPad and Mac using Wi-Fi is definitely convenient, the instability of the network can result in performance lag and poor image quality. Also, these solutions will not work offline.


Duet App for Apple

A group of former Apple employees have introduced Duet Display - an app that will address this issue by connecting the devices using a cable.

Once you download and run this app on your iPad, you will also need to download a free companion app (from the Duet website) for your Mac. Then, you will need to connect the two devices using the tablet’s standard charging cable. That’s it - you are done!

You can use the display setting on your Mac to customize the display on iPad.

I can see three immediate benefits of using Duet: first, obviously, you get an additional display; second, a retina screen than can be of greater help in certain scenarios (such as when working on images), and third, the touch control ability on iPad.

Some users have reported a possible issue when using the app - it can reset the Mac display to “Best”, which will drain the battery power faster. To prevent this, the users can simply switch off the Retina Display feature - when using the Mac on its battery.

Duet Display is available on the App Store for $ 14.99.

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