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While there are several apps designed to turn the iPad or iPhone into a secondary display for a Mac, the most popular options use Wi-Fi, which can render them all but unusable at times due to unavoidable lag. A new app from developer and former Apple Engineer Rahul Dewan aims to solve these lag problems with a tethered solution that turns an iOS device into a more reliable secondary display.
Duet Display, which is launching today, is the one of the first apps that transforms the iPad and the iPhone into an extra display for the Mac using a Lightning or 30-pin cable. By sending data over a cable instead of Wi-Fi, Duet Display is able to greatly improve on the lag is typically present when an iOS device is used as a secondary display.
Duet Display offers both a Retina mode and a non-Retina mode, along with options for 30 or 60 frames per second, and it’s easy to install and setup, requiring just the Mac app, the iOS app, and a cable to connect the two devices.
The Duet Display app is inarguably an improvement over other options today, but it is not a perfect solution. As detailed in the video walkthrough of the app below, MacRumors experienced some issues when testing the app. On a 2012 Retina MacBook Pro, Duet Display’s Retina mode caused a significant amount of cursor lag, rendering the app nearly unusable, and the CPU usage climbed to well over 200 percent.
Non-Retina mode (which is enabled in the app by default) offered a more lag free experience, but the trade off caused the secondary iPad Air 2 display to look fuzzy — a disappointment given the inherent clarity of the screen on Apple’s newest tablet. Non-Retina mode in Duet Display degrades the quality of all Retina displays to a noticeable degree.
According to the developer, performance is better on Macs released in 2013 or later, and users who only want to view one static window may not have any problems. Furthermore, many users may find the utility of a secondary iPad or iPhone display to be enough to outweigh the lack of a Retina experience.
Though the iPad Air 2 and other Retina devices don’t look good in non-Retina mode, Duet Display is a great solution for older iPads that people might have little use for. An original iPad or iPad 2 does not have a Retina screen, and will work well with older Macs as secondary displays.
Along with the Retina issue, potential buyers should be aware of some other small issues that we ran into. Even in non-Retina mode, on a 2012 Retina MacBook Pro, there was some slight cursor lag, and we also had problems with visual artifacts on some apps. When watching YouTube videos, for example, there were some occasional performance blips.
The developer assures us that he is working on improving Duet Display, and he plans to release iterative updates in the months to come to clear up lingering problems. As he suggests, it’s better to have an app that works most of the time with just a few problems rather than one of the existing Wi-Fi solutions that can be almost non-functional.
The Duet website claims that all Macs using OS X 10.9 or later work with the app, as well as all iPads and iPhones, but MacRumors was unable to get the software to work with a 2010 MacBook Air running OS X 10.10.2. According to the developer, the issue was due to the beta software, which does not work with the app. Along with a Mac running 10.9 or later, the app will also work with all iPads or iPhones running iOS 5.1.1 or later.
Duet Display may not provide the perfect secondary display experience, but in our testing, we found that it was more reliable than current Wi-Fi options, and we believe it’s a fantastic way to make good use of older iOS devices.
Duet Display for the Mac can be downloaded from the Duet website for free. The accompanying iOS app can purchased from the App Store for $9.99 for 24 hours, and then the price will go up to $14.99. [Direct Link]
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Point-of-sale manufacturer ShopKeep today updated its official iPad app with support for Apple Pay, now allowing customers to pay with their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Merchants can accept Apple Pay payments if they have a ShopKeep terminal and an Ingenico iCMP Bluetooth Credit Card reader, which sells for $249 and also supports mangetic swipe and contactless payments. The reader will also be able to support EMV chip card payments in the future.
What’s New in Version 2.5.2
Introducing support for Apple Pay.
ShopKeep has partnered with Ingenico, the global leader in secure electronic transactions, to integrate support for the iCMP card reader. This reader allows merchants to accept various forms of credit card payments, including magnetic swipe and contactless. This reader also supports chip card (EMV) capabilities, and support in the app will be available early next year ahead of the liability transition deadline.
ShopKeep’s move to accept Apple Pay comes a few weeks after payment processing service Square announced that it would be supporting Apple Pay at some point in 2015. Square would have to release all new hardware with built-in NFC connectivity to support Apple Pay, as its current reader is not able to accept the payment method.