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Consider this scenario: a mom and her kids are reading a single book using iPad. The mom is on a business trip and kids stay at home. Each of them has a iPad. The mom hopes that when she turns to next page the kids' iPad can do the same thing so they are always on the same page.

Any idea how to do that?

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Teach the kid to turn the page when asked :) –  Pitto Aug 2 '11 at 16:50
    
@Pitto ROTFLOL! –  daviesgeek Oct 31 '11 at 17:52
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 3 '11 at 10:25

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3 Answers

Ok, I like this question..

In order to accomplish this we need the following components:

  1. A VNC server running on the children's iPads. VNC basically shares screen over the network. A VNC for iOS is called Veency and it's available in Cydia once the iPad is jailbroken.

  2. A VNC client. I recommend iTeleport - works and feels great.

  3. Since Children's iPads are probably with a fake (NAT-ed) ip, we should somehow connect to the home network. A VPN server on the gateway should do the trick. Once connected to the vpn server, the mother's iPad should see all devices in the home network.

Once connected to the children's iPad via VNC, you'll be able to see everything the kid sees on the screen. This can be accomplished also from computer or iphone.

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If the mom uses a computer rather than an iPad, you can easily do this with Google Plus:

The child should be able to see exactly what the mom is seeing on her screen, while at the same time being able to hear her voice.


The problem with both parties using iPad's is that Apple's SDK prevents applications from capturing images of the screen outside of that application. If this is a necessity, then the only hope would be to jailbreak the iPad and find a solution that let's you do that.

The only other way is if you had an application which had both an e-book reader and screen sharing capabilities into it. The most popular e-book applications (iBooks, Amazon Kindle, etc.) don't have such a feature at this time.

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There are several possible approaches, all of which require a central server.

  • quick and dirty: just poll an http server every 10 seconds to save/read the status (current page)

  • use apple push notifications (the device can recive and act upon them silenty if it's already running). This is a bit more complex but may put less charge on the server than a million users polling for changes

  • use socket connections: you'll need a dedicated server for that too but this will probably provide the most instantaneous effect (just like a realtime chat does)

Then there's the whole part where you link devices into the same reading session. You could send an email with a clickable link featuring a protocol handled solely by the app (eg. Myappbooklink:userid,sessionid)

In any case such a system would require a server system that is able to scale in case of success.

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