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Brad_The_Lucky

iPhone compatability

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I'd love to be able to use my iPhone to control things while in the house. Remote access from the iPhone would also be extremely cool. Maybe at a minimum C4 could remove all the flash from the 4sight Web pages.....

Edited by Brad_The_Lucky

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I've used the new ipod that has wifi to view and control my home via my.control4.com...it's a pain because you have to zoom WAYYYYYYY in to be able to do anything...nothing I'd call "robust contol" by any means...

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Personally - I HATE surfing the web in general from an iPhone, Mogul or any "Internet enabled phone" - it's just too small... and to ask ANY vendor to customize a display for that device (when every 6 months they change) is out in left field.

FYI - newer phones (newer than the iPhone) allow Flash and Java just fine - Apple is a little behind there. BUT - that goes with my argument... every 6 months things are changing... pain in the a$$ from the stance of a web designer... a standard needs to be set and adhered to across ALL Internet phones - when that happens... then it's acceptable to ask vendors (ie: Control4) to program web sites for them.

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In addition to what slemay said it would be very impractical for C4 to devote someone to learn to work with the Apple SDK (which I think has FINALLY been released) or to hire someone out when they have their hands tied with their own stuff and not everyone likes or uses an i product.

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Not to mention that Applications for the iPhone platform have to be released *through* Apple.

They're really going out of their way to make it hard to develop apps for the thing.

RyanE

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Not to mention that Applications for the iPhone platform have to be released *through* Apple.

They're really going out of their way to make it hard to develop apps for the thing.

RyanE

Well, that remains to be seen yet. At least I can *wish*. Here's hoping that some enterprising individual will work on it at least. I've seen a myriad of nice apps already even before the SDK was out....

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Yes, but other than web apps for the iPhone, if you want to run an app, the phone has to be 'jailbroken'.

http://www.google.com/search?q=iphone+jailbreak&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=com.ubuntu:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

That *could* void your warranty, etc., and usually is wiped if you upgrade the phone, so you have to install another jailbreak.

RyanE

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In addition to what slemay said it would be very impractical for C4 to devote someone to learn to work with the Apple SDK (which I think has FINALLY been released) or to hire someone out when they have their hands tied with their own stuff and not everyone likes or uses an i product.

Couldn't this be done by having a web server capability on the controller? Then any device that can go to a web page - iPhone, PC, PocketPC, Blackberry, etc. could access it. Just think of a device like a router or an IP camera. They typically have web server functionality built in and this can be accessed by pretty much any web browser. Then you could use a tablet PC as a touchscreen controller for C4. I know you can do some of this via my.control4.com but it is rather limited in functionality.

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Couldn't this be done by having a web server capability on the controller? Then any device that can go to a web page - iPhone, PC, PocketPC, Blackberry, etc. could access it. Just think of a device like a router or an IP camera. They typically have web server functionality built in and this can be accessed by pretty much any web browser. Then you could use a tablet PC as a touchscreen controller for C4. I know you can do some of this via my.control4.com but it is rather limited in functionality.

Exactly. Well said. Currently our clients, (any Crestron customers actually) can control their system through any PDA, smart phone etc. They can also use a web browser so they can control the system away from home. The touch panel pages are duplicated as web pages so the end users experience is the same on the touch panel, PDA or web browser.

I believe C4 controllers have a built in web server. I am not sure, it's been a while since I poked around inside a C4 box. At any rate if it has a web server built in, then running the controls from a smart phone or PDA should not be that difficult. I am NOT a C4 programmer or engineer so they would have to be the ones to verify this.

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I am 100% sure you can write a native app for the iPhone to control c4 - NOT surf to it via a browser

All commands are just a connection to the MC. I swear I actually saw this app written already as a beta.

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The SDK is not to write a UI to control the Control4 system, the SDK is to write *drivers* for the system, so it unfortunately won't be of much use in making a UI.

RyanE

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Either way, have you ever seen a hacked iPhone, before the 'SDK' was released?

It is very possible to have this written already, take a look at some of the apps out there... it is very easy to control C4 equipment.

Might actually try it out.. hrmm..

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Is there anyone here with some knowledge on how to connect to the C4 system interested in getting together and writing a program for the iPhone/itouch? I have little knowledge of the programming end, but would be interested in funding the development of the program.

I think that the ability to use an iphone as a remote control touchpad would be an incredible idea that could then be scaled to a larger platform if Apple decides to release a larger sized tablet.

I understand that C4 might not be interested in going that route as it might take away sales of their touch panels, but I think it may open up a larger segment of the population to their product. See iControl.com as an idea.

Anyways, if anyone has the programming skills and would like to give it a shot, shoot me a message.

Joe.

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Here is a new application that might be released with the new iPhone Application Store.

It currently connects to Global Cache, AMX, Crestron, and Kaleidescape. I bet someone can figure out how to IP control C4 hardware.

http://www.cepro.com/article/airremote_for_iphone_greatest_little_tv_remote/

The AirRemote application is expected to retail for about $99 (from the iTunes Application store after July 11). Along with the AirRemote application for iPhone, the heart of the system is a low-cost communications box from Global Cache, which takes IP commands from the iPhone and converts them to infrared, serial or contact-closure for controlling everything from a home theater system to lighting controls to motorized blinds.

In addition to the basic AirRemote control solution, the application also enables control of AMX or Crestron automation system, allowing users to operate lights, security, audio/video, thermostats and virtually any other electronic system connected to an AMX or Crestron system.

AirRemote also supports the Kaleidescape media server "with all the album/cover art on the iPhone, and it links to the Web to bring you more artist/actor/director information," Moore says.

ipod-touch-Sky.jpg

iPod-Touch-Lights-one-hand.jpg

ipod-touch-Kaleidescape.jpg

Edited by Sbutter

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It wouldn't take much to make me prefer running software like this on an iPod Touch to a C4 Mini Touch Screen. Not only is the iPod Touch smaller and more portable, it's something like half the price of a MTS!

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I think this would be a very big selling point for C4 systems. I can't see it replacing a lot of remotes and certainly not touchscreens, since its always would be an extra step to get to the application. But it would let you carry a limited remote with you whereever you are in the house....there's a "cool factor" there that people would like. It seems easy to do on the surface, but I can see it being a little more complex. It would probably be even nicer if the C4 engineers used the iPhone SDK to develop a custom version...they could certainly charge for it on the iPhone apps store.

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Heck, I'd replace all my MTS's with good software on an iPod Touch or iPhone. For me, it's the little user interface stuff that Apple does extremely well and Control4 does poorly (ever try to scroll a list on the MTS without using the knob?) I could go on and on with comparisons, but the fact is that both the software and the industrial design of the iPod Touch & iPhone blow the socks off the MTS UI. The question is whether this difference is relevant in the market or not. It is for me.

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A zigbee or hardwired MTS would be much more reliable and fast than WiFi (even on a iPhone). Even on an iPhone I think the interface would be identical to the GUI you get on all the screens. Yes, you could optimize it for an iPhone sized touch screen but who wants to have their wife, friends, and parents to have to learn more than one GUI layout?

But BriPink, your point was that the C4 GUI could use some updating. It was supercool three years ago when it first surfaced, but it risks getting mainstream/dated. My bet would be it is in the works, but slated for the next major release after 1.6... which I would think has to be v2.0. Based on historical timing, that would be coming no earlier than Fall 2009, and probably Spring 2010...by which point I admit the current GUI will be a quite long in the tooth. But with $20MM of new venture funding, maybe C4 can speed up its roadmap a bit (which has seemed sort of slow/stretched lately).

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I disagree that the roadmap has been slow/stretched lately, but I'm seeing it from the inside.

The number of new features in the 1.6 release is amazing, even though it doesn't appear so because the GUI is still the standard Control4 GUI (plus the audio zones changes and Rhapsody).

IMHO.

RyanE

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Interesting. What about the C4 UI is "long in the tooth"? My family is huge fans of the overall simplicity of the interface. Overall, they (and I), love it. Certainly there are things I'd change (I'd love it if custom buttons were better integrated overall), but from an overall standpoint are there things people would prefer different? Or is "same", after a while, just something that needs to be changed? :)

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For its time, the screen on the MTS was pretty standard (3.5" @ 320x240), and the hierarchical UI is straightforward enough. So I think that whether (or how much) the Control4 UI is clunky depends on your frame of reference. If it's older cell-phone UIs or maybe a car navigation system (or even Windows - ha!), then I'd argue that the Control4 UI is aesthetically comparable and perhaps even easier to use.

But the UI doesn't have the fit and finish of other similar UIs, like that on the Sonos Controller, for example, which though it has the same screen size, looks a whole lot prettier. I also find the Sonos Controller a bunch easier to use for navigating a music collection. I can zip through an 8000-song collection to find that one song, or simply play those iTunes playlists that I set up for the iPod (yeah, having my music in ONE place is a killer feature.)

And if your benchmark is an iPhone, you've realized that the way people relate to a touch interface is changing. The screen on the iPhone has double the number of pixels, so even small text is readable (and it's antialiased, so it looks great). The iPhone's gesture-based interface is really intuitive (try to scroll through a long list of lighting scenes with the flick of your finger on the Control4 UI!) and the presentation is simply beautiful.

Good design (both industrial and UI) matters to me, right down to the teeny little details. But good design hasn't generally been necessary for success in the marketplace. The success of the iPod and iPhone is, though, one indicator that good product design can really make a difference, and hopefully that success will push consumers and other companies to raise their standards.

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