These are reasons you might need a teleprompter: you are the president (probably of the United States of America) and you have to deliver a long-ass speech and look like you’re sincere and approachable; you sing in a church choir and you don’t read music so it’s no use looking down at the music; you’re a celebrity and you have to do a spiel on a fancy-pants awards show; you are Miley Cyrus and you can’t remember the words to your own damn song; you are Ron Burgundy?
Those are just some of the reasons you might need a teleprompter. But what about you? Average, everyday Joe-schmo you. What need have you for a teleprompter. Well, if you are an avid vlogger, you definitely want a teleprompter. But let’s think outside the box.
You teach kindergarten and your class is putting on a play. Teleprompter to the 5-year-olds’ rescue! Have to deliver a speech in school? Practice with a teleprompter! Want to have a conversation with your deaf grandma? Think outside the box by putting your text inside a box! Are you ready to explore the world world of teleprompters? Read on to discover our 5 Best Teleprompter Apps for iPhone, iPad, & PC.
I always said that I wouldn’t use a teleprompter, and if I start to sing real flat, I’ll hang it up.–Jimmy Buffett
5 Best Teleprompter Apps for iPhone, iPad, & PC
We here at Appamatix not only enjoy the “how” or “why” of apps, but also the history. So first, we want to tell you about the history of the teleprompter (wait! It’s actually really interesting and cool, we promise, but if you don’t care, it’s fine, whatever, we’re sorry you had a terrible teacher somewhere along the way who made it difficult for you to want to learn about the world you live in. It’s fine.
Really. Skip to the next section. We’ll just be over here having fun learning about the teleprompter and bettering ourselves). Then, we’ll talk about the best teleprompter apps out there right now. Finally, we’ll show you how you can turn your personal computer into a teleprompter in cases where you don’t want the tiny screen of an iPhone or don’t have access to an iPad.
The Teleprompter — A Brief History
Seriously, it is really interesting. It’ll get your creative juices flowing. If nothing else, it might help you finally beat Robert at Monday night trivia. That got your attention. The short of it is a Broadway actor named Fred Barton, Jr. had the idea when he was doing a lot of television. The year was 1948 and what you may have missed if you didn’t take History of Television in school is a lot of television was live during this early period. You see, in theatre and film, actors learn the lines, they have time to memorize them and even rehearse; whereas with television, actors have to learn lines on a weekly sometimes daily basis. No easy feat, especially if you are a guest appearing on several different shows in a week. And live? That’s in real time, so you forget a line, you’re screwed.
There were cue cards sometimes, but there’s a lot of room for human error. So Barton had the idea of lines somehow scrolling in a place where the actors could see and deliver the lines smoothly. It came in the form of a half of a suitcase encasing a roll of butcher paper! That’s some ingenuity right there. Barton took his idea to then vice president of 20th Century Fox, Irving Kahn, who in turn took the idea to Hubert Schlafly, an engineer and television research director. In 1949, Schlafly submitted the patent for the “television prompting apparatus” (TelePrompTer) and the rest is history. For a more in depth read on this topic, check out Smithsonian Magazine’s article, which explores the political nature the teleprompter has taken on throughout the years. That was fun, wasn’t it?
Top 5 Teleprompter Apps for iPad/iPhone
First up, let’s talk free. Because if you haven’t had experience with a teleprompter, you’ll want to practice a bit. As journalist and MSNBC political commentator Chris Hayes put it, “Reading off a teleprompter is an easy skill to do passably well and a difficult skill to do very well.” Just think how many Saturday Night Live awkward teleprompter moments you’ve seen. You know, when celebrities are so clearly reading lines from off stage? It’s awkward so let’s not go there.
Although, Fun Fact: In every Stefon sketch, the writers would sneak into the teleprompter at least one joke Bill Hader hadn’t seen in rehearsal, so Stefon’s habit of breaking up during his lines is very genuine.
But let’s do look at a free option if you’re just looking to get your feet wet. Go on, dip that toe in the water.
- iPrompt Pro: This app does everything it says it will do so really, what more could you want? iPrompt Pro was released in July 2012 and hasn’t had an update since iOS 6 but it works for both iPad and iPhone and gets the prompting job done, and how (using “prompting” like that kinda makes it sound like an expletive, right? “Get your mother prompting face outta my God prompt house!” Just me? Fair enough). Complete with all your prompting needs, iPrompt Pro has everything from font and background color choices to scrolling speed options to mirrored display for those known as pros (or call themselves pros in their heads). It also boasts an in-app text editing and timing changes for last minute changes. You can simply copy + paste your script or there’s the option to email and download. Pretty straight forward, iPrompt Pro is a great tool for both amateurs and pros on a budget. It should be noted however, that iPrompt Pro is all about their remote; they will make you sit thru ads about their iControl remote and constantly remind you if you don’t have it (and it and other accessories can run in the $100 range). But fear not, the app still works fine without the remote and you can stop that notification by turning the “Remote Type” in Settings to “None.” Check out iPrompter’s website to see their offerings.
Now let’s say you’re looking for something with a little bit more and you’ve got a little budget set aside for such expenses. These apps are kind of middle-of-the range as far as cost goes, but top of the class when it comes to performance.
- Prompterous: You won’t break the bank with this app and it has loads of nice features, making it a great app at a great value. Only $1.99! Prompterous boasts being able to support loads of file formats (24 to be exact) including DOC, TXT, and PDF. It also has a nice interface and guides you on its many uses and features, including customizable fonts, background, playback speeds, and document uploads (hello Dropbox!). Check out prompterous.com if you’re interested in this app.
- iCue: At $4.99, iCue offers a lot but is not the most user-friendly or intuitive of the apps featured here. But there is this nifty 31-page pdf that explains everything and if you’re like us and read the entire rulebook of Munchkin Quest before daring to play with anyone, you won’t mind the comprehensive guide to using this app. It’ll help you win. iCue’s features include a free remote app (you can use another iOS device to be your remote!) and Dropbox and Google Drive import options. But you can’t color code your text and as mentioned, it’s not the most convenient to use if you’re not willing to do your homework.
- Prompster Pro–Public Speaking App: This app cost a little more but has some nice features and a very nice and easy interface. It cost $9.99. What you get is the ability to create your document in the app or importing options via email or the iTunes file sharing system; and onscreen controls, which allow control over text size, speed, and audio recording. Prompster Pro might not have as many bells and whistles as other teleprompter apps, but we kinda like that about it. With time, the newest versions include the options to import from Dropbox or Google Docs, something fans had been wanting. And the fact that you can record yourself for practice purposes seals the deal. Prompster Pro has been a trusted app since 2010 and that’s saying something. It was, after all, voted iPhoneLife Magazine’s Best Public Speaking and Presentation App. Check it out in iTunes Preview.
Finally, check out this top-of-the-line-you-get-what-you-pay-for teleprompter app.
- Teleprompt +3: With their latest version (v.3.1.4) just released (October 21, 2015), Teleprompt +3 has it all. It is simple and sleek, has so many options (remote, text editing, scroll and import), and can pair with a MacBook! That option costs an extra $50 for the desktop app, but if you’ve got the budget, heck yes, you pair all the things. You’re a pro!
Turn Your PC into a Teleprompter
As promised, here a couple of websites you can use on your PC to meet your teleprompting needs.
- Cueprompter.com & Easyprompter.com are a couple of online options for setting up your PC as your teleprompter. You can write or copy & paste your text into the box provided and all of the controls are there on the screen. Both websites are free and pretty straightforward. We’ve chosen not to add links because as any website goes, you’ve always gotta be careful. Cueprompter.com had on their site “Use at your own risk.” We always want our readers to be safe out there in cyber-land, but if you are interested there’s a great tutorial on youtube for easyprompter.com.
Well, there you have it! There are so many options out there, though, really. LOADS of teleprompter apps to explore. Let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite and any other experiences you may have had with teleprompter apps.
It should be noted, some of these apps and plenty of others are also available for Android. That’s all we have for you now so we’ll leave you the way we began with the wise words of Ron Burgundy: “You stay classy, San Diego.”