One thing that is beginning to disturb me about modern technology (electronic gadgets with software) is that everything does everything.
The latest is that Apple’s iPad 3 will be the remote control for Apple TV. Anthony Wing Kosner asks the question in Forbes. Remember, you can say anything ludicrous so long as you put a question mark at the end of the sentence.
The premise is straightforward. Apple’s iPad 3 will be the ultimate remote control for Apple’s soon-to-be newly revamped Apple TV.
I don’t mind the fact that Apple TV can be the controller for Apple TV. Ditto for the iPhone. But I’d rather use Apple’s Remote to control what I watch from Apple TV. In a pinch, I’d go for controls on the iPhone.
Hello? Size matters.
The iPhone is small. The Apple Remote is small. My hand is small. I don’t need either in my hand all the time while watching content from Apple TV (or, my television).
The iPad, for all the wonders it provides (great reader, good for personal viewing of movies, but lousy camera experience) can be a remote, but just because something can be, doesn’t mean it should be.
Kosner brings up half a dozen points that seem plausible for the iPad to become the ultimate remote control device for your viewing pleasure.
Universal Remote: It could control every TV in your home; except every TV isn’t easily controlled by Apple TV. So much for universality.
Room Control: Create device bundles for any room. That’s a line from a PowerPoint. Not something we’re likely to do in real life.
OneView: Bring TV and DVD player remote functionality to one screen (the iPad). DVDs are so 1999. The 21st century is all about streaming media.
Gesture Control: My father already has a gesture for all the gadgets that sit with me on the sofa. I’m already having trouble remembering all the gestures to do whatever. Give me an old fashioned icon or buttons.
TV Guide: This isn’t a bad idea, but it’s nothing new. TV guides are rampant on the iPad already. What I want is control over my cable company DVR from the iPad.
If I’m to fall in love with a universal remote that controls my Apple TV (in whatever incarnation may exist, oddly shaped hockey puck, or full-fledged and expensive TV), it will be a handheld device first, an iPhone app second, and something on the iPad last.
That said, I like Kosner’s take on multi-channel streaming previews via the iPad or iPhone, but I’m not sure it’s something that will catch on.
What we haven’t seen yet, and what I think will happen quickly, is the television will become center stage for social media and video communication.
Let’s all hang out together in front of the TV.