Screens is one of many VNC apps available for the iPad and iPhone. Screens 2.0, which was released today, takes the concept of remote controlling a Mac or PC to another level. The update offers some very nifty features to the two year old app including integration with iCloud Siri, and AirPlay.
Screens isn’t one of the cheapest VNC solutions for iOS – it has a price tag of $19.99. The software backs up its somewhat steep cost by delivering a great user experience.
VNC apps for iOS do double duty compared to their desktop counterparts. They serve as a way of working on a remote computer, which is useful for tasks such as troubleshooting or server maintenance. They also serve as a way to run desktop software on an iPad or iPhone – something that can be very useful if you need to use a specific piece of software for which there isn’t an iOS equivalent.
The developers at Edovia took both of those uses into consideration when designing Screens. As a result, the app has features like an always available toolbar, an extended keyboard that includes a row of special keys like the command and arrow keys, and a customizable “shortcuts keyboard” (shown above) that contains special key combinations. It also includes significant gesture support that can be customized to your working style.
The new update offers a handful of really great additions. There’s support for syncing configurations across your devices using iCloud, the ability to integrate with Siri’s dictation features, and AirPlay mirroring – which effectively gives you access to one of the features of Mountain Lion. Edovia also introduced a new service called Screens Connect that is designed to make it easy to connect to computers over the Internet.
The big advantage to Screens isn’t so much its collection of features even though they’re pretty impressive. It’s more the mindset that went into developing the original app and the update. It’s very clear that a lot of thought went into how and why people would use the product. The result is a polished and user-centric option that takes VNC from being a very basic set of capabilities and makes into the basis of a truly useful solution.