With a 12.9-inch mini-LED screen boasting a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels, using the iPad Pro for just reading books or checking email seems like a waste of tech. The Luna Display dongle makes the iPad Pro a more valuable productivity tool by turning the tablet into a secondary touchscreen display but until now it worked exclusively with Macs. Starting today, it officially works with Windows PCs.
The Luna Display was originally a Mac-only product. It plugged into the USB port on an Apple computer and streamed data to an iPad, allowing it to not only serve as a secondary display but also as a drawing tablet for Mac-specific apps that would otherwise require a device like a Wacom tablet for pen interactivity.
Even at $130, the tiny dongle was still much cheaper than a second screen, and it was such a clever idea that Apple decided to Sherlock the functionality into macOS Catalina. If you haven’t heard that term before, Sherlocking is the unofficial name given to Apple announcing a new operating system feature—be it in macOS, iOS, or iPadOS—that replicates the exact functionality of a third-party app or service. The term dates back to the early aughts when the Apple Sherlock search tool was updated with a new feature that was previously only available through an app called Watson.
With the macOS Catalina Sidecar feature (which turned iPads into external displays) introduced in 2019, Astropad had been officially Sherlocked, but instead of calling it quits, the company decided to expand the functionality of its software and streaming dongle to Windows PCs. That started with a Kickstarter campaign over a year ago, followed by pre-orders, but today Windows users can officially buy a Windows-compatible version of the Luna Display dongle for $130 (available in either USB-C or HDMI versions) and officially download the Windows-friendly versions of the Luna Display desktop and iPad apps.
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Functionality for Windows PCs is promised to be exactly the same as it has been for Macs, with quick setup, full support for touch gestures as well as the Apple Pencil features on the iPad, and just 16ms of latency between a PC and the tablet. The experience might not be exactly as responsive as using an iPad with a native iPadOS app, but the Luna Display dongle and software means your pricey tablet suddenly works with any Windows desktop app, be it productivity tools like Excel, or something more creative like Photoshop or even complex 3D modelling applications.