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CES 2010: iPhone Universal Remote Accessories Debut


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The NewKinetix IR adapter and app

In addition to the other accessories by iLuv and mophie 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 and L5 Technology 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


macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2010
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)


macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
California, USA
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!


macrumors 68000
Jul 10, 2007
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.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2007
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.


macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2009
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.


macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2007
London, UK
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. :(


macrumors newbie
Jan 9, 2010
How about an infrared sending unit with iPhone Wi-Fi connectivity?

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.


macrumors regular
Sep 5, 2007
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.


Jun 22, 2007
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).


macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
"Upside down" interface?

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.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2006
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.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 1, 2006
Oaklnad, CA
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?


macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2007
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 more sleeping on it.


macrumors newbie
Jan 9, 2010
Woodland Hills, CA
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.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2007
Hudson MA
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 !


macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2002
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.


macrumors 6502
Jul 24, 2009
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.


Apr 1, 2005
Space The Only Frontier

The app itself is completely free to download, though it’s the $188 base station that really makes the magic happen; your handheld talks to said dock via wifi, and if you’ve 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.
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