Consumers always seem to ask: Why do I need an expensive touchscreen for home automation when I control the house through an iPhone or iPod Touch?
Two reasons: The iPod products don’t work as quickly and effectively as dedicated touchscreens and you can’t mount them nicely in a wall.
iPort, at least, is solving problem No. 2 with the forthcoming Control Dock, a prototype of which was shown in the Control4 partner pavilion during CES 2010.
Unlike other in-wall/on-wall docking stations, this one mounts your iPod for good. Also, it is targeted at home-control applications, rather than just accommodating an iPod for multiroom audio distribution. Virtually all home-automation vendors today offer an app for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
With the Control Dock, the iPod snaps into a cradle that is mounted to the wall. A magnetic faceplate seals in the screen. The dock supplies power to the device, and two exterior buttons on the faceplate enable access to the iPod power and menu buttons.
What else could you expect from the same company (Sonance) that brought us TruFIG, an architectural system that makes can lights, switches, electrical outlets, touchscreens and other electronics virtually invisible.
Will the Control Dock join the TruFIG lineup?
“We’re looking at that right now,” says VP of sales Jason Sloan.
Pricing and availability have not been determined.
Follow Electronic House
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.