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VGA Adapter iPad Failure

Last Friday Jeanniey Mullen stood in front of 500 people at the New York TimesCenter to present Zinio, a new media magazine reader app designed to bring the print world to life on digital devices. The Chief Marketing Officer wanted to show the way it feels to thumb through pages with the flick of a finger, but what the audience doesn’t know is that Mullen was never able to show off her product the way she wanted.

On the day before the presentation Mullen sent her iPad to the TimesCenter tech crew to make sure she could project the iPad optimized app onto the big screen for all to see. Zinio was, after all, one of the iPad’s early devotees.  They announced the iPad optimized availability of their 2,400 title library on April 2nd and quickly became one of the most frequently downloaded news apps on the device.  No matter which way you spin it, Zinio and Apple are on the same team.  Or at least they were until Mullen discovered that she wouldn’t be able to demonstrate the abilities of her iPad app from an iPad.

As it turns out, Apple’s $29 VGA Adapter only projects when users are running apps created by Apple.  In other words, anything anyone tries to do outside of Keynote, Videos, YouTube, Photos, and some video sites like Vimeo or FunnyOrDie in Safari) will render the adapter worthless.  Take the iPad out of the context of huge conferences and the average user may still have issues with the VGA adapter. The VGA adapter doesn’t work with Netflix, ABC’s video Player, and a bunch of other third party apps, and even if they did Apple didn’t invest much in the resolution for anything that projects. At 1024 x 768 users will see an experience that simulates that of watching something on a computer as opposed to a television.

Though many people have complained with the unsatisfactory VGA adapter experience, Apple hasn’t commented on whether this is an issue of control or just an oversight in the communication to third party app developers.  Whatever the case, media mavens and professional speakers like Zinio’s Mullen hope this will work itself out in the near future.  In the meantime we hope Apple will tell us what happened.  Or maybe we’ll at least receive some terse email commentary from Steve Jobs.

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