ipod touch remote control

The iPod Touch as the Ultimate Remote

As an Apple lover, it’s hard for me to come up with an Apple product I don’t have.  I’m typing this on my 27” iMac with both the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, right next to me is my iPhone 4, and my iPad 2.  In my desk drawer I have an iPod Nano for working out, and I have a 160 gig iPod Classic filled with all my music.  I’m listening to music being streamed from Sonos into my iPod HiFi.  My Apple TV allows me to listen to watch movies and listen to music on my home theatre, and of course everything is being streamed through the house using my Apple Airport Extreme, and I have an Airport Express sitting my briefcase, right next to my Macbook Air.  There are only two products missing the Mac Pro and the iPod Touch.  But that’s about the change.

To be honest, I never appreciated the iPod Touch.  It’s basically an iPhone without the phone.  If someone wants an iPhone, why not just get one?  I had a good talk with several people while at the last SXSW who had iPod Touch’s and they all had a good excuse.  They are required by work to have a Blackberry, but they love the App Store.  I have also talked to some younger people, with less accommodating parents than I, who would love an iPhone, but their parents won’t pay for it.  Damn near child abuse if you ask me.  But it looks like this is bound to be the case for a while, until IT people start loving Apple the way they should, and child protection laws finally protect a teen’s right to an iPhone.

But I have been watching a trend that has me thinking that it may be time for me to look into purchasing an iPod Touch.  The latest reason comes from Chelsea’s earlier post about the VooMote One, which turns the iPhone as a universal remote.  The VoomMote is just the latest in a line of devices that let you use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote.  These devices run about $100, which when combined with the iPod Touch as $230, gives you a $330 remote.  Sounds a bit steep until you really look the price of other remotes.  A decent Logitech Harmony remote is going to run you about $200 – $250.

But then there is the other things you can do with an iPod Touch.  First off, you can obviously check your email, which is pretty cool when you think about doing that from a remote.  Want to update your Facebook status, or maybe check-in to a show with GetGlue?  You can’t do that with most remote controls.  Twitter is another obvious feature.  This isn’t counting the tens of thousands of other apps, including games, sharing photos and videos, video chat, web browsing, etc… that you can now do on your remote control.

Let’s also add the ability to control even more devices.  For example, you can use Airplay right from your iPod to send music from Pandora or Spotify to your stereo, so you now have unlimited music.  I have a Sonos system, which has it’s own iPhone/iPod app to control all the music in every room in my home.

And let’s not forget about old school X-10 devices.  X-10 has been around for decades, and with the proliferation of iPhone and other devices, it’s become a popular choice for people in home automation.  With the X-10 iPhone app, you can control the lighting and heating/air in every room, and even set timers for true automation.  There is even an alarm system module so you can activate security protocols from your iPod.

The more options like these, the more the iPod Touch becomes an excellent choice as a complete remote control for your home.  And with AirPlay mirroring  coming out in iOS 5, the benefits will only increase.

Of course there is one thing the iPhone can do which the iPod cannot, take calls.  But this is not completely true.  Just install Skype on your iPod Touch and your off and calling.  And if you use Google Voice, like I do, you can set it so that it rings your Skype phone as well as your mobile number.

There is one more note I want to add to this idea.  As more and more people are dumping land lines in favor of a mobile phone only house, there is a problem.  Sometimes you don’t have your iPhone in earshot in your home.  It’s not like you will always walk around with it.  For that the iPod Touch/Skype idea is great, but there is another option that will allow you to return to the old days of actual phones in your home.  Check out the Panasonic KX-TG7645M DECT 6.0 Link-to-Cell via Bluetooth Cordless Phone.  This excellent phone system allows you to connect your iPhone via Bluetooth, which then allows you to pick up the cordless phone and make call, using your iPhone in place of a landline.  And since the phone system comes with 5 handsets, you can have these all around your house, and never miss a call again.

So finally you can keep your iPhone plugged into the charger while at home, leaving home duties to the iPod Touch.  If I wasn’t convinced before, I just talked myself into this idea.  Let me know if you try this and what experiences you have.

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