After seeing the device mentioned on ViolaJack’s blog, I decided to purchase the PageFlip Cicada as a Bluetooth page turning device. The device was $79.99, including shipping. In my own performing and conducting, I don’t need a page turning device–however, as I teach parts and work with the choirs, it can be difficult to interact with a piano and the iPad at the same time. And should I dust off my tuba this summer (my stepson starts playing the Horn in F later this summer) I will want a page turning device for my tuba music (or his horn music).
The device uses 2 AA batteries, but can also run from the wall or even off the USB port on a computer. The batteries should last for 200,000 page turns, and the device will power itself down after a couple of hours. You need to pair the PageFlip Cicada to your device first, and then you can customize how you want it to work.
One of the challenges of a Bluetooth page turning device is the ability to use the onscreen keyboard. forScore has a setting which allows you to force the use of the keyboard if an external Bluetooth page turning device is connected (which is really acting as a keyboard), and UnrealBook requires you to hide the menu bars to turn pages. As far as I can tell, Keynote for iPad cannot be controlled with the foot pedal.
Ultimately, this is the device I had been waiting for. The AirTurn, although receiving far more publicity and public interest, costs more and requires additional pedals off the device. The Footime pedal required a cord to be attached to the device.
I contacted the company and inquired about the possibility of group discounts, such as for a high school band in an 1-to-1 iPad initiative, and it sounded like the company would be willing to deal with those types of situations on an individual basis. (For the record, I bought my PageFlip at full price).
One final note: although mirroring is coming in iOS5 (there’s no guarantee my school/district will make it possible for me to take advantage of that feature), I have been trying to remove wires from my life. Late last year, I purchased a small bluetooth receiver from Monoprice to connect my iPad to the external speakers of the digital piano I use in class every day. I have discovered that the iPad will connect to two different types of Bluetooth devices at the same time–the foot pedal and to audio. Obviously, the iPad will not pair to two audio devices at the same time, but it will allow a keyboard and audio connection at the same time.
The PageFlip Cicada is also capable of supporting several devices for people with disabilities. See their webpage (address linked below) for more information.
If you’re looking for a Bluetooth page turning device that is all-in-one and affordable, check out the PageTime Cicada.
(My only complaint so far? The “Bluetooth Pedal” sticker is unnecessary. How great is it when your biggest complaint about a product is about a sticker you can take off the device?)