How would you like to be able to see your Mac’s screen on your iPad? Not just view the screen, but interact with it? Move windows around. Open and quit applications. Edit and save documents. In fact, how would you like to be able to do from your iPad pretty much anything you could do if you were seated in front of your Mac?
Guess what? This is not the future. You can do this today — via any of several iOS apps that support this sort of remote access. My personal favorite continues to be Splashtop Remote Desktop. Today, the makers of Splashtop Remote Desktop announced an upgrade to Splashtop 2.
Splashtop 2 retains all the features that I liked in the original version. After installing the matching software on a Mac, you select to connect to the Mac from your iPad. That’s it. The Mac screen appears and you’re good to go. Avoiding clutter, all you see is the Mac’s screen. All settings and controls remain hidden until you request them. Various combinations of taps and swipes mimic the actions of a trackpad or mouse.
So what’s “new and improved” in Splashtop 2? Two things. First, the app has been optimized for the iPad’s Retina display. Second, Splashtop has a new method for making remote connections. It’s called Anywhere Access.
If you only use Splashtop 2 to connect over a local Wi-Fi network, you don’t need Anywhere Access. You will need it, however, to link to your Mac from a remote location, via a WAN or 3G/4G connection.
The original version of Splashtop handled these remote connections through Google. You logged into your Google account from the Splashtop software. In Splashtop 2, the Google option is gone. Instead, there is Anywhere Access.
Anywhere Access is maintained directly by Splashtop via its own servers. This offers several advantages. First, it simplifies the login process. No longer will you need to enter port numbers, IP addresses, or any other technical data. Just provide your Splashtop account name and password and you are in. Anywhere Access also offers better security, via encryption algorithms that Splashtop claims “compare to what banks employ.” Finally, it offers improved performance. For example, if Splashtop notices you have a poor network connection, it attempts to maintain an optimal frame rate by downgrading the image quality a bit. Google could not do this.
There’s one catch. The Anywhere Access Pack is an in-app purchase that costs $0.99/month or $9.99/year. In contrast, the now defunct Google alternative was free. Again, LAN connections do not require the Anywhere Access Pack. But for other connections, you’ll need to pay this ongoing fee. However, you only have to purchase the Pack once to use it on any and all of your mobile devices.
As a “thank you” to existing customers, the upgrade to Splashtop 2 is free. Even better, the Anywhere Access Pack is also free — with no expiration date!
For new users, Splashtop 2 is available for the iPad at the introductory price of $1.99. Eventually, the price will go up to $9.99. Splashtop also plans to release versions for the iPhone and Android devices within the next few weeks.