There are no shortage of iPhone apps that function as remotes for your Mac, Apple TV, or just about anything else. Keymote (iTunes link), by Iced Cocoa, takes the concept to a new level by allowing custom “keysets” for all of your favorite applications.
So why would anybody need an app to do this when most apps have keyboard shortcuts already? Well the answer is simple if you consider the power of leveraging the large screen on the iPhone. When it launched sans a physical keyboard, Steve Jobs commented that it was a great idea to do away with it, because there are times when you don’t need a full size keyboard. If you are typing in numbers, it would be great to see large numbers instead of individual keys.
The same holds true for shortcuts. Why should I have to press “Shift+Command+Delete” to empty my trash when I could just use one button for that same purpose? Keymote addresses this usability blemish.
Keymote’s setup process is very simple and only requires that your iPhone and Mac share a Wi-Fi connection. Download the remote software on your Mac and it resides on the menu bar. Once you’ve paired the iPhone to your Mac from the app, you’re ready to roll.
Keymote comes with several keysets out of the box but also includes an in-app store that provides a larger wealth of free downloadable keysets for other popular apps, all contributed by users. Instantly download keysets for Aperture, Adobe Illustrator, Pages or any other app you use frequently. My favorite is the Numerical Keypad keyset which will help your stylish Apple keyboard feel a little more powerful.
If there’s not a keyset for an application you like to use, feel free to create your own and share it with others. If a particular keyset is not quite up to your standards, tap a key or spacer and hold. Then you can just drag it to a better location. If a shortcut is missing, just tap the plus and add it right alongside the rest.
The only thing to keep in mind is that you might find yourself using your phone more often than before. In case, my iPhone has become more of an auxiliary keypad and so I needed to adjust my sleep settings to keep my phone awake. Additionally, Keymote requires the software you’re using be the active application. This means if I call up Photoshop key commands and create a new document, it invokes “Command+N.” If Photoshop isn’t the active application, “Command+N” will apply to whichever app is active. The developers are aware of this limitation, and it’s something they are working to address.
With a stylish user interface that looks great not just on my iPhone, but as a “keypad” next to my Mac, Keymote is a great application for those whose regularly harness the power of shortcuts. Keymote is $3.99 and available for download on the App Store. If you’ve had the chance to try it out, please share your thoughts.