Just prior to the iPad’s U.S. launch on April 3, developer Nate True of Tap Tap Revenge fame announced the pending release of his latest app endeavor, Wormhole Remote. Now available in the App Store, Wormhole Remote is a new iPad app that lets you operate a Mac on the same local Wi-Fi network remotely.
Pairing an iPad with a Mac running OS 10.6 (no other versions of OS X, or Windows, are supported yet) is easy. First, you’ll need the Wormhole Remote Server application for your Mac, which can be downloaded here. Once installed and running, opening the Wormhole Remote app on an iPad on the same local network will reveal a pairing prompt.
Selecting the iPad in the Wormhole Remote Server task bar menu on the Mac will confirm the connection (this only needs to be done once between each iPad and Mac).
Once paired, the Mac will be listed in the app as a host.
Selecting the host computer reveals icons for all of the apps currently open on it.
Tapping on an application’s icon reveals all of its open windows and selecting one brings it to the forefront.
In order to enter text, a button in the top left can bring up the iPad’s on-screen keyboard.
Wormhole Remote handily offers additional keyboard buttons not available on the iPad’s virtual keyboard, including the tab, control, alt/option, and command buttons, as well as all of the function buttons – these can be accessed with the “…” button on the top right edge of the keyboard. Access to an application’s full menu is provided by tapping on the Menu button in the top right corner of the screen.
Switching to a different application is as easy as tapping on the Applications button in the top left corner. Note that Wormhole Remote only allows access to applications currently open on the Mac and it’s not possible select new applications to open.
We found that entering text via the iPad was almost painfully slow, with a noticeable delay before the text appeared in the application on the host Mac. Deleting typos took some time and it was easy to delete too many characters since the delay gave the impression that some key presses did not register. Also, though you’re using the iPad’s keyboard, its predictive text entry and spelling correction features don’t work since it’s simply emulating a regular keyboard attached to your Mac. However, if you are a careful and patient typist, using Wormhole Remote for quick bouts of text entry while you’re in another room away from your Mac is definitely doable.
Using Safari remotely is intuitive since you can use the same multitouch gestures you’re used to using on the iPad already to navigate web pages. Standard mouse controls, like clicks, double clicks, and secondary clicks are also possible. The “?” button in the top right corner shows a Quick Reference guide listing all of the available navigation gestures.
While web browsing remotely through Wormhole remote worked well, it was not as quick and fluid as using the iPad’s own Safari browser.
Since Wormhole Remote works only between iPads and Macs on the same local network at the moment, it’s only truly useful if you’re in another room away from your Mac with iPad in hand and you really don’t want to get up and go to your Mac. However, True is planning on adding remote access capability via 3G and non-local Wi-Fi networks, plus additional compatibility with more Mac OS X versions and Windows, which will greatly enhance the utility of this app.