Maide Control is an exciting new app for your iPad from Maide that does two things. First, it allows you to control SketchUp or Rhino on your computer wirelessly and present your model from your iPad. Second, it lets you use your iPad as a 3d mouse (like a 3dConnexion device) during the modeling process as another input device. It costs $4.99 from the App Store, and you also have to download a free piece of software for your host computer to establish the connection between the two.
I bought the app as soon as I heard about it because I'm always looking for new ways to present my designs to others. I installed the server app on my Mac and setup an ad-hoc wireless network to connect my iPad to. Then it was a simple process of authenticating the connection. The nice thing about this system is that you can actually connect multiple iPads to the host computer so a team can interact with and collaborate on the model.
I tested it with SketchUp 8, which is currently the only app it talks to on the Mac (Bonzai3d soon please?). If you're using Windows, Rhino is also controllable. Once you're in the app and have established the connection, you can draw, zoom, pan and orbit with the iPad's multi-touch interface. A single finger is used for pointing and tools, two for panning (and pinch/spread for zoom), and three for orbiting. You can also bring up contextual menus and switch views on the fly by double-tapping hot spots on the screen. It doesn't stop there - you also have the ability to grab screenshots of the current view of the model right on the iPad and send them off to others via email.
The other way to use the app is to use it as another control surface. You could use it soley by itself or in conjuction with a mouse during the modeling process. It can compete with other 3d mice out there, although I think it still needs some work to truly be comparable. It would be great it it had a walk or fly mode for the best results during presentations of building designs, instead of just zooming through a model. Access to the "look around" tool would be nice as well. It's also entirely possible that I'm just missing something. This is where 3d mice truly shine.
For a first release, Maide Control is really polished. I like the nicely designed, minimal interface and the responsiveness is amazing. I didn't notice any lag from screen to screen. If you're on the fence about spending a Lincoln for a nice piece of software, czech out the following videos and decide for yourself: