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5 Ways the iPad Will Reshape Consumer Electronics Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 April 2010
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5 Ways the iPad Will Reshape Consumer Electronics
Home Automation and Video

ImageWe have been playing with iPads in our offices nonstop for the past few days.  It’s really a captivating device, specifically for media consumption.  Every time I walk around to take a look at the nearby iPads, I see great apps like Netflix instant streaming, Pandora and iBooks running.  If you read our 30 iPhone / iPod Touch Apps for Your Home Theater article, you would see that much of the consumer electronics industry is already jumping into the mobile touchscreen market for everything from system control to audio / video calibration.

For those unfamiliar, the iPad is a touchscreen tablet released by Apple a few days ago.  It sports a brilliant 9.7” LED-backlit screen at 1024 by 768 resolution and comes in three capacity sizes (16GB, 32GB, 64GB).  If you have used an iPad Touch or an iPhone, you will be right at home with the interface.  It’s laid out identically and utilizes the same App store to download new applications to the iPad.  But very different from the iPod Touch / iPhone, the developers of these apps have almost 3 times the size of the screen to take advantage of.  Here’s a few areas that we believe app developers will change the consumer electronics landscape:

Remote Control:

If there was any device perfect for system control, this is it.  Universal remote manufacturers, take note; this is the direction that you should headed.   Do I want to turn on my entire home theater system with the tap of a button on my iPad?  Yes!  Do I want to adjust the equalizer and separate speaker volume output on my iPad?  Yes!  Do I want to navigate all the on-screen menus with my iPad?  Yes!

Redy Eye Remote

Logitech should jump into this market full force with the Harmony platform.  The same goes for the high end controller companies like Crestron.  The large, high resolution screen is the perfect size for remote functions and the form factor of the iPad is made for sitting around your dedicated home theater.  There's already several universal remote apps on the iPhone app store, but they will need to be updated to take advantage of the iPad landscape. 

Device Integration:

What if that new Samsung Television you purchased allowed you to utilize all the apps that comes with their new line of televisions on your iPad, but without disturbing what’s happening on the screen?  What if your cable / satellite receiver allowed you to peruse the channel guide and offered live video preview of said channels on your iPad, all without overlaying that user interface on the main screen?

What if you could purchase HD movies on iTunes with your iPad and it would stream them into your television screen via your home network?  What if you could use the on screen keyboard on the iPad to search through your cable provider’s upcoming program lineup or perhaps type questions during a BD-Live chat session with James Cameron during a networked screening of Avatar?

Device integration will likely roll out fairly slowly, but companies that are already investing in iPhone app development are likely to release iPad versions as well.  Yamaha, Comcast, Denon, Dish Network, Sonos and Direct TV would be likely candidates to release official apps for their networked devices.

Music Selection:

itunes viewiTunes is already in a dominate position for digital music distribution and the iPad will only solidify that.  In addition, inventive music applications like Shazam (which identifies music by listening to a song playing) or SoundHound (another identifier that tags a song by a person humming it) are just scratching the surface at shaping how we can become introduced to new artists and genres of music.

Similar to the relatively unsuccessful Apple TV, we can see the iPad becoming a hub for selecting music.  For instance, if you are having a party, a guest with an iPhone / iPod Touch will be able to connect via Apple’s popular Remote application and queue up songs to play based on the stored music in your iPad.  This music will stream over your wireless network and play through your Internet connected sound system. 


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