According to a report on Tuesday, Apple could be planning a way to use the iPad as a remote for the rumored Apple-branded HDTV. The story is far from certain, but the source claims that the iPad could run special apps in tandem with the television set that would display special information not available on the television screen. The example given was, while watching ESPN, a dedicated app could show upcoming games, statistics and scores.
In theory, this is definitely a cool idea. But I don’t think the iPad would realistically be a viable alternative to a classic television remote simply because it’s so expensive. Sure, there are people who have very expensive universal remote controls, and I even know a few who use iPads as remotes via third-party applications, but personally I would never do such a thing.
In my family, the remote control is thrown, dropped, lost, buried and generally abused. Most of the time this treatment is fine for the plastic rectangle. However, for the expensive, glass and aluminum Apple tablet, such behavior would take a serious tole on the device. What’s more, even if there’s a way to make sure an iPad remote stays safe, it would be incredibly inconvenient. It’s great not to have to worry about the remote when flipping through channels. I know I wouldn’t want to have to get up and carefully place an iPad down every time I wanted to change the channel or raise the volume.
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And, as far as the additional content is concerned, it’s entirely possible to provide apps via the App Store that can display the information without incorporating it into a remote control. Perhaps when the iPad is connected to the same WiFi network as the TV, the additional content would appear. But to have such a feature built into a remote control app seems unnecessary.