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View Full Version : CES 2010: iPhone Universal Remote Accessories Debut




MacRumors
Jan 9, 2010, 02:39 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2010/01/09/ces-2010-iphone-universal-remote-accessories-debut/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2010/01/09/152248-newkinetix_500.jpg
The NewKinetix IR adapter and app

In addition to the other accessories by iLuv and mophie (http://www.macrumors.com/2010/01/07/ces-2010-iluv-and-mophie-with-app-integrated-accessories/) here at CES that use the iPhone's dock connector to add functionality with a companion app, two infrared remote accessories made their debuts at CES. NewKinetix (http://www.newkinetix.com/) and L5 Technology (http://l5technology.com/news/l5-remote-debuts-at-ces-2010/) both announced IR accessories that turn an iPhone or iPod touch into a universal remote to control TVs, cable boxes and other AV equipment.

The companion app for each device provides an on-screen button interface to control equipment via infrared with the ability to customize the button lay-out and learn the functions of other remotes directly. We saw the Rē by NewKinetix up close at CES - it offers a highly-customizable interface, allowing you to set control profiles for different rooms or locations and record macros to carry out multiple actions with the press of one virtual button in addition to button lay-out customization.

The IR adapter of the L5 Remote is a bit smaller than the one from NewKinetix though its app offers fewer features comparatively. Both devices are not yet available with planned releases in Q1. The NewKinetix Rē will cost $69.95 and the L5 Remote will cost $49.99 while the apps for each will be available for free in the App Store. Compared to universal remotes by Logitech and other companies that have a fixed button lay-out and can cost up to several hundred dollars, these iPhone/iPod touch accessories should provide viable alternatives to users at a lower cost.

Article Link: CES 2010: iPhone Universal Remote Accessories Debut (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2010/01/09/ces-2010-iphone-universal-remote-accessories-debut/)



AppEzzy
Jan 9, 2010, 02:52 PM
I think this could be really useful, hopefully the price comes down a bit. I'll stick with my few remotes vs. paying $60. Something half the price would be worth it (in my mind)

iphones4evry1
Jan 9, 2010, 02:53 PM
Absolutely awesome. I want one. I hope they will be sold in Apple stores by the end of the month.

And as you mentioned, just as the iPhone cut into GPS sales, it will likely do the same to universal remote sales.

I have a strong feeling that the next iPhone from Apple will have this feature built into it. For now, I'm buying this add on!
.

creator2456
Jan 9, 2010, 03:02 PM
My Logitech Harmony has been on its last legs for a while. The LCD screen on it no longer shows any information so using it is from pure memory.

This looks like it may be a good alternative, but I'll wait for someone else to try it out first.

Jason S.
Jan 9, 2010, 03:19 PM
There's no way I would leave something like that plugged into my phone. The time it would take to plug it in, then launch the app, compared to just reaching for a stand-alone remote would be more of an inconvenience for me.

For the people who don't mind leaving that plugged into their phone, it's pretty cool, I guess.

dugbee
Jan 9, 2010, 03:22 PM
I'm all for customization, but in my mind a remote needs actual buttons you can feel. I can operate most of my Harmony remote without looking. Having to look at the device every time I want to hit a button would get tiresome.

RichTF
Jan 9, 2010, 03:26 PM
There's no way I would leave something like that plugged into my phone. The time it would take to plug it in, then launch the app, compared to just reaching for a stand-alone remote would be more of an inconvenience for me.

For the people who don't mind leaving that plugged into their phone, it's pretty cool, I guess.
Agree entirely!

A much more practical (and I'd have though simpler and more obvious) solution would be a stand-alone WiFi-to-InfraRed device. I suspect that people might be trying too hard to think up 'clever' things to do with the iPhone's port...

It's a shame, as I've just been and bought a new Logitech remote -- but both me and my housemate have iPhones, and commented at the time how we'd much prefer to have an app for it. But not one that requires fiddling about adding stuff to the iPhone port every time we want to change channels. :(

riles9
Jan 9, 2010, 03:34 PM
I would not purchase this because I'd be constantly searching for the unit much as I do currently for the proper remote.

What I'd like to see on the market instead is a remote product that can be placed inconspicuously in the back of your living room that has infrared and Wi-Fi.

This way the iPhone can communicate with the remote unit via Wi-Fi (or perhaps bluetooth), and then the unit can send the commands to the various electronics via infrared.

Then it would not be necessary to have to locate & plug in an accessory to your iPhone each time you wanted to use it as a remote, nor would you even have to point the phone towards the electronics.

That makes more sense to me and is a product I'd actually spend $50 on.

PlayRadioPlay
Jan 9, 2010, 03:45 PM
Cool idea, but somewhat impractical. Someone needs to create a central hub where you can control your TV, garage door, thermostat, lights, etc all from your iPhone via Wifi.

jayducharme
Jan 9, 2010, 03:51 PM
A much more practical (and I'd have though simpler and more obvious) solution would be a stand-alone WiFi-to-InfraRed device.

Ask and ye shall receive:

http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2009/12/04/iphone-remote-control/

But it's not cheap....

pika2000
Jan 9, 2010, 04:22 PM
The problem with universal remotes are the hardware support. I have one of the Logitech Harmony remotes, and it sux. Sure, it seems to support a ton of devices, and they made it seems easy to program it. Reality is, even if your device is listed, doesn't mean it will work 100% seamlessly. My Samsung TV is considered to be a monitor by Logitech, and the software won't allow me to use the TV to change channels. WTF? Even worse, configuring each devices is a complete hassle.

What I want to see is an app that can mimic the original remote's interface. Now that would be great (especially for receiver remote, where sometime you do need the original remote to do some configuration and whatnot).

mattwolfmatt
Jan 9, 2010, 05:11 PM
This is the first app that I've seen (I haven't been looking too hard) that works in portrait mode, but upside down: home button on the top. Others have been landscape to the right or left, but this is the first I've seen that has it upside down. Note the time and battery info next to the home button.

Won't buy it. I like to feel my way around a remote. The smooth iphone interface doesn't allow that.

Jelite
Jan 9, 2010, 05:57 PM
I just got the Harmony 515 for £27.99 so this isnt really a cheaper alternative.

Spanky Deluxe
Jan 9, 2010, 07:02 PM
Meh, I'd rather have a Megatron (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XveT0dAznSk).

ventro
Jan 9, 2010, 07:35 PM
If someone made a really well designed remote app that worked better than the harmony, I would buy a dedicated iPod touch just for the TV to use as the remote.

mikeinternet
Jan 9, 2010, 08:09 PM
The link to the L5 Technology app looks alright.
But, the NewKinetix app looks like what a prototype should look like when they are just trying to get the thing to work. Why so ugly?

Where's the advantage to this over a dedicated remote?

cdinca
Jan 9, 2010, 08:11 PM
I could see this working only if there were gesture based options for ff rw stop. I use them too much to have to look at my remote everytime. I would also have to relearn how to treat my remote...no more sleeping on it.

fmmusic
Jan 9, 2010, 08:41 PM
We need an Apple TV universal bluetooth remote like the Sony PS3 bluetooth remote. But this would require all manufacturers to add bluetooth to each receiving device. Maybe 5 years from now or until Apple starts making TV's and stereo receivers.

optophobia
Jan 9, 2010, 09:08 PM
This is the first app that I've seen (I haven't been looking too hard) that works in portrait mode, but upside down:.....

Actually a lot of the apps that work in portrait and landscape mode will flip all the way round (upside down)

Anyway this would solve the option of lost remotes in the couch - just call your phone !

hendot
Jan 9, 2010, 09:08 PM
Too bad you can't pause or mute when you get a phone call...

bretm
Jan 9, 2010, 09:31 PM
For anyone with a series 3 tivo or TivoHD you already have this via wifi for free. It's built into the iTV iphone app. Also can program your tivo for you and manage your netflix account.

Mr. Gates
Jan 9, 2010, 10:24 PM
http://www.stormgrounds.com/media/dead-battery.jpg


More of the Same

Have we learned Nothing from the movie " Jurassic Park " ??? Hmmm ???

.........just because you CAN do something , It doesn't mean that you SHOULD !

Mr. Gates
Jan 9, 2010, 10:31 PM
Meh, I'd rather have a Megatron (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XveT0dAznSk).

LOL Is that why you are Spanky ?

seamer
Jan 10, 2010, 12:02 AM
I actually have a spare ipod touch laying around unused (bought an iphone). I can see having this paired with the touch rather than the phone.

Peace
Jan 10, 2010, 01:48 AM
Ask and ye shall receive:

http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2009/12/04/iphone-remote-control/

But it's not cheap....

The app itself is completely free to download, though itís the $188 base station that really makes the magic happen; your handheld talks to said dock via wifi, and if youíve got an AV device, home automation system or pretty much anything that responds to IR signals, your iPhone can now control it.

The price is $130 more than this item. I'd buy this just to save that money.

mrbrightside623
Jan 10, 2010, 02:10 AM
I actually have a spare ipod touch laying around unused (bought an iphone). I can see having this paired with the touch rather than the phone.

I have a spare iPod Touch that's unused as well as a first gen iPhone that isn't used... This could come in handy as long as they make a cleaner app. Maybe incorporate multi-touch gestures to do things.

-Tony

hollerz
Jan 10, 2010, 03:49 AM
One area that definitely benefits from real buttons. I'll stick with my Harmony! :D

Becordial
Jan 10, 2010, 04:36 AM
I'd never want something like this plugged in either.

What would be nice though is the ability for the iPhone to be able to control TVs (built-in) whenever you feel like it. Go to the dentist or hospital and they have nothing but Oprah on the TV there? Easy. Pull out the iPhone and change it to watch wrestling instead! I'm sure everyone (the guys at least in there) won't mind.

hanpa
Jan 10, 2010, 08:53 AM
There's no way I would leave something like that plugged into my phone. The time it would take to plug it in, then launch the app, compared to just reaching for a stand-alone remote would be more of an inconvenience for me.

For the people who don't mind leaving that plugged into their phone, it's pretty cool, I guess.

Agree. I have my iPhone in a dock when I listen to music from Spotify but every time I want to use the iPhone for another task I have to pull it out (the music stops), perform the task, start Spotify again and go to the previous playlist or tune and start manually. Not very practical. This remote is an interesting idea but not very practical.

wireddoc
Jan 10, 2010, 12:00 PM
How come no one is making a pass-through charging port on these devices?

That way as it killed the battery each day you could drop the whole thing on the charger without disconnecting the interface just to recharge it.

libertyforall
Jan 10, 2010, 12:24 PM
Lame! Something Apple should have built-in.

SthrnCmfrtr
Jan 10, 2010, 02:18 PM
Cool idea, but somewhat impractical. Someone needs to create a central hub where you can control your TV, garage door, thermostat, lights, etc all from your iPhone via Wifi.

Yeah, that's an awesome idea. What if someone started a company like that, that created all of the necessary products? You could call it like, "IntelligentHome." No, wait, "Smarthome."

Maybe there could be a lot of little modules that you could use for home automation, like light switch replacements, outlet replacements, or little plug-in versions of these guys if you don't feel like mucking around in your home's electrical systems. They could all communicate over the power lines in your house. You could control garage doors, thermostats, lights, coffee machines, security systems, irrigation systems, and so on. You could get notifications that the hot water heater is leaking, that there is new mail in your mailbox, that there are rabbits in the garden, that the humidity in your house is too high. When you go on vacation, you could have lights turn on and off to simulate the activities of a resident who is still at home, or feed and water your pets, or cycle the water in some fixtures to ensure your pipes don't freeze.

And because of the extreme simplicity inherent to these devices' interfaces, perhaps you could create a powerline modem and applications that would be able to utilize your standardized powerline communication protocol to, how you say, "control your TV, garage door, thermostat, lights, etc."

In fact, you might even be able to put such an application on your Mac mini media center (let's call this application "Indigo" and your company "Perceptive Automation") and you might even find a helper app for your iPhone/iPod Touch called "Indigo Touch" (for example) that lets you control everything in your house from that device through slick standard interfaces and even gives you the ability to create your own interface (say, an interactive floorplan) to control those devices.

casseur
Jan 10, 2010, 04:04 PM
The app itself is completely free to download, though itís the $188 base station that really makes the magic happen; your handheld talks to said dock via wifi, and if youíve got an AV device, home automation system or pretty much anything that responds to IR signals, your iPhone can now control it.

The price is $130 more than this item. I'd buy this just to save that money.

Can it be programmed like the Harmony remote? That would be very useful it it can be. I have four to five remote for all my devices. It would make no point to have a app like that what would just replace one of my remotes.

I mean this is besides doing its regular functions that in.

-------
Logistic Labs
iPhone Application Development Course
http://logisticlabs.com/university

senilebob
Jan 10, 2010, 06:10 PM
Check out CommandFusion (www.commandfusion.com). They have an app that can control any device via Ethernet, and even parse feedback for info display on the screen. I use it with a Global Cache unit which does IR, Serial (for my plasma) and relay control, and they are pretty cheap. They also have a new WiFi to IR unit coming out, I think it should be available any time now.

The interface for CF iViewer is completely customisable too, if you have some Photoshop skills.

Bob

Mr. Gates
Jan 10, 2010, 08:21 PM
Yeah, that's an awesome idea. What if someone started a company like that, that created all of the necessary products? You could call it like, "IntelligentHome." No, wait, "Smarthome."

Maybe there could be a lot of little modules that you could use for home automation, like light switch replacements, outlet replacements, or little plug-in versions of these guys if you don't feel like mucking around in your home's electrical systems. They could all communicate over the power lines in your house. You could control garage doors, thermostats, lights, coffee machines, security systems, irrigation systems, and so on. You could get notifications that the hot water heater is leaking, that there is new mail in your mailbox, that there are rabbits in the garden, that the humidity in your house is too high. When you go on vacation, you could have lights turn on and off to simulate the activities of a resident who is still at home, or feed and water your pets, or cycle the water in some fixtures to ensure your pipes don't freeze.

And because of the extreme simplicity inherent to these devices' interfaces, perhaps you could create a powerline modem and applications that would be able to utilize your standardized powerline communication protocol to, how you say, "control your TV, garage door, thermostat, lights, etc."

In fact, you might even be able to put such an application on your Mac mini media center (let's call this application "Indigo" and your company "Perceptive Automation") and you might even find a helper app for your iPhone/iPod Touch called "Indigo Touch" (for example) that lets you control everything in your house from that device through slick standard interfaces and even gives you the ability to create your own interface (say, an interactive floorplan) to control those devices.

Sarcastic Much ?

NewRevolution88
Jan 11, 2010, 03:16 AM
There's no way I would leave something like that plugged into my phone. The time it would take to plug it in, then launch the app, compared to just reaching for a stand-alone remote would be more of an inconvenience for me.

For the people who don't mind leaving that plugged into their phone, it's pretty cool, I guess.

Absolutely sir. It's of course very cool (albeit obviously inevitable) that this is now possible. I think I'll wait til the IR is built in to replace my remote with my iphone, precisely for that reason.

That said, I may actually be persuaded to get one of these despite the slight inconvenience if I might use it with my ps3...no chance of that I don't suppose?

SthrnCmfrtr
Jan 11, 2010, 11:35 AM
Sarcastic Much ?

*flutters eyelids innocently*

Liquorpuki
Jan 14, 2010, 10:51 AM
The Logitech Harmony's look better

And are more practical. A remote you can leave on the coffee table vs having to take out my phone which has a quicker battery drain and attach a transmitter just to change the channel

Also a lot of Windows Mobile phones with built in IR (IE Samsung i730) have had the ability to double as remotes for awhile. Once in a while you'll get an idiot at a sportsbar who'll use his phone to change the channel during a game.

syner
Jan 15, 2010, 02:31 AM
http://www.totalcontrolapp.com

or

http://totalcontrolapp.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=108&Itemid=92

no dongle
wifi so no line of sight
full IR dbase
IR learner
IR blaster + emitters
no pc required
other functionality

http://totalcontrolapp.com/images/remote/totalcontrolremotepr.jpg

Ashyukun
Jan 15, 2010, 09:08 AM
Can it be programmed like the Harmony remote? That would be very useful it it can be. I have four to five remote for all my devices. It would make no point to have a app like that what would just replace one of my remotes.

I mean this is besides doing its regular functions that in.

Assuming you're asking about the RedEye- yes, it can be programmed much like a Harmony remote: you can set up custom 'activities', totally customize the button layouts, and even make macros to assign to buttons. The folks at ThinkFlood were kind enough to send us at The Appcast two demo units to test out to report about it on our next show. It does have its disadvantages over a Harmony remote (which we'll of course be discussing on the podcast), but it also can do some things that at least the cheaper Harmony remotes can't.

I'm looking forward to getting to test out these new ones as well, but honestly what I'd still really like to see is for someone to design a nice, sleek case that incorporates an IR transmitter so you could a) use the iPhone/Touch right-side-up and pointing the end you'd expect to at the device you want to control and b) you wouldn't have to be taking it on and off or leaving a bulky box plugged in.

I also want one of them to be able to not only control the IR devices but also things that use Bluetooth like the PS3, but that's pretty pie-in-the sky (at least not without buying the Harmony adapter and figuring out how to program these to control it...).

zacknhs
Jan 21, 2010, 10:17 PM
This really should be a built in feature. I remember my old Hp ipac had a universal remote function built in. It was fully programmable and could learn from other remotes. this was all in my freshman year in collage (2004). i used to change the tv's in the commons from soaps and piss off all the soon to be stay at home moms glued to the tv. but they also used the IR port to transfer business cards, play games vs others. Technology has evolved past this to bluetooth and WiFi.

I'm surprised there isn't a Wifi solution already available so you can control it from you computer or iphone ect from home or away via internet. if the there was something out there that cost around $50 i'm sure that they would do alot of business.

lfhdez
Jan 27, 2010, 02:57 AM
Yeah, that's an awesome idea. What if someone started a company like that, that created all of the necessary products? You could call it like, "IntelligentHome." No, wait, "Smarthome."

Maybe there could be a lot of little modules that you could use for home automation, like light switch replacements, outlet replacements, or little plug-in versions of these guys if you don't feel like mucking around in your home's electrical systems. They could all communicate over the power lines in your house. You could control garage doors, thermostats, lights, coffee machines, security systems, irrigation systems, and so on. You could get notifications that the hot water heater is leaking, that there is new mail in your mailbox, that there are rabbits in the garden, that the humidity in your house is too high. When you go on vacation, you could have lights turn on and off to simulate the activities of a resident who is still at home, or feed and water your pets, or cycle the water in some fixtures to ensure your pipes don't freeze.

And because of the extreme simplicity inherent to these devices' interfaces, perhaps you could create a powerline modem and applications that would be able to utilize your standardized powerline communication protocol to, how you say, "control your TV, garage door, thermostat, lights, etc."

In fact, you might even be able to put such an application on your Mac mini media center (let's call this application "Indigo" and your company "Perceptive Automation") and you might even find a helper app for your iPhone/iPod Touch called "Indigo Touch" (for example) that lets you control everything in your house from that device through slick standard interfaces and even gives you the ability to create your own interface (say, an interactive floorplan) to control those devices.

You know, I used to work Tech support for them a long time ago (Smarthome)...I liked handling the Indigo questions because unlike everything else, at least Indigo worked. =P.

PS: I hate X10.

kavika411
Mar 17, 2010, 01:03 PM
Sorry to bump, but am curious if anyone knows of the status of this thing. Perhaps it's my connection or browser, but I can't even pull up the company's website. Anyway, interested in this or any IR-type app/hardware for the iPhone if anyone has used anything successfully. I welcome any links to other threads if this is covered elsewhere. Thanks.