The new iPad, which is going to cost around $599 when it launches in Australia in April, will be capable of replacing current Crestron touchscreen controllers that cost up to $5900.
Just like its iPhone and iPod touch app, the iPad app “transforms the Apple iPad into a full Crestron touchpanel”.
In Australia, the iPad will use 3G or Wi-Fi to communicate with the Crestron system, which in turn will be capable of controlling lighting, music, room temperatures and content for TVs and entertainment devices.
The Crestron iPad application announcement, which is set to be followed by an announcement from AMX, which currently controls all of the content being posted to Apple Shops around the world, is set to stir debate among custom installers that are seeing profit opportunities decline due to falling TV margins and new products like the iPad.
Len Wallis of Len Wallis Audio in Sydney said recently, “For devices like those from Sonos and Olive, the iPad will be wonderful because it will allow for easy management of music and videos.”
Deb Noller, a Director at Switch Automation, said, “The device will kill the custom tablet market. We are already working on delivering our Switch Automation system on the iPad. We will have an iPhone and iPod Touch beta version within 10 days.”
Ms Noller said that she is getting at least 10 requests a week for an iPhone application.
“We are currently working on new icons for the Apple platform. The iPad is smart, affordable and works with open systems. It will hurt the proprietary manufacturers like AMX or Crestron”.
In the US, Savant CEO Jim Carroll said, “When we look back on this two years from now, we’re going to say this was a watershed event, not just for Savant but for the industry in general. The days of making margins on expensive touch panels are winding down.” He said consumers will see the iPad as having “the same or similar touch hardware” to other control offerings.
“Crestron is committed to offering great solutions for integrating Apple products into the home, school and office,” said Vincent Bruno, Crestron director of marketing. “Our Mobile apps are fully compatible with the iPad, and we’re delighted to add the iPad to our selection of Apple-based solutions.”
Mr Carroll, whose company plans on releasing an iPad app, said the iPad will redefine the home automation industry, adding, “The days of living strictly off hardware margins are numbered. If anyone thinks they can hold onto that model, they’re going to be extinctâ€”a dinosaur.”