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Exclusive: Crestron iPanel Brings Hard Buttons to iPad

If only the iPad had hard buttons, it could be a great home controller. Crestron delivers with the 13-button iPanel, which snaps over the iPad and communicates via the multipin connector.


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Thirteen buttons on the iPanel mimic the performance of Crestron’s dedicated WiFi touchpanels such as the TPS-6X. A multipin connector is built into the case for power and communications.

Multitasking and hard buttons. When it comes to using the iPad as a home controller, those are the two big missing pieces.

Now Crestron is tackling the issue of hard buttons with the new iPanel, which snaps over the face of an iPad like a clam shell.

A total of 13 buttons grace the left and right sides of the iPanel:
  • VOLUME UP/DOWN
  • MUTE
  • LIGHTS
  • HOME
  • GUIDE
  • INFO
  • EXIT
  • LEFT, RIGHT, UP, DOWN, SELECT
The buttons look like the ones on Crestron’s flagship TPS-6X wireless touchpanel, and they function similarly.

As for details about the iPanel, we don’t have many.

[continues]
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We know that power and communications occur through the the iPad’s multipin connector. The buttons tap into the iPad’s WiFi capabilities, communicating with a Crestron controller just like the TPS-6X or any other WiFi-enabled Crestron touchpanel.

But the screen does not have to be docked for the hard buttons to work. That’s because the case itself contains a multipin connector. When you dock the unit, you’re basically stacking connectors.

Now for the biggest questions about the iPanel.

Can you engrave the buttons?
“We need to finalize, but we should be able to.”

Can the hard buttons be used for instant access to the Crestron app? “We’re still working through the Apple OS. More details soon.”

And the question we forgot to ask: How on earth did Crestron trademark the term iPanel?

We hear that Crestron is targeting a price point of less than $500, including the dock. We’ve also heard that the next generation of the dock will offer streaming media, although it’s unclear what that means.

Check it out at CEDIA Expo 2010.

In a gift-giving or joking mood? Wrap one of these puppies in an iArm prank gift box. Hilarious. Simply hilarious.




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Events · CEDIA · Cedia · Ipad · Crestron · Cedia 2010 · Ipanel · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

46 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Too Tall Jones  on  09/16  at  08:09 AM

Holy Moly that’s cool!!

Posted by Darryl Skinner  on  09/16  at  08:19 AM

This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” things. Both for the product idea, and to trademark the term “iPanel”...

Very cool add on.

Posted by Ron Callis  on  09/16  at  09:13 AM

Awesome! Can’t wait to see it next week.

Posted by Tuck  on  09/16  at  09:35 AM

Now THAT has value!

Posted by Navot  on  09/16  at  09:40 AM

AMX please learn!!!

Posted by Si Greenburg  on  09/16  at  10:00 AM

Now this is something I’m excited about!

An innovative “CI” add-on to a hugely popular consumer product with the Crestron name on it.

If Crestron has a patent on this thing it’ll be a golden egg for them. The table top dock is smart too. Lots of hands will be in this next week!

Posted by icontrol  on  09/16  at  10:08 AM

Once again, Crestron leads all other control system companies with this great innovation.

Posted by btown  on  09/16  at  10:38 AM

Oh yeah, I called it back in the (rather contentious) comments for this article on January 27th:
http://www.cepro.com/article/apple_unveils_ipad_tablet/

“Obviously the hard buttons (especially for volume) that you can get from a dedicated control interface would be missed on an iPad. I wonder if it would be possible to create custom shells for the iPad that would plug into the dock connector and provide the hard buttons that the device itself lacks? Maybe that would be a way to make the iPad a dedicated controller, so whenever the custom Crestron shell is plugged into the iPad the Crestron control app is the only app that will run. Plus since you’re using the dock connector you’d need an alternate way of charging the panel, so Crestron could sell a custom charging dock that works with the shell.”

Crestron stole my idea! smile

Posted by Smarter_than_u  on  09/16  at  11:06 AM

Not to completely rain on your parade…

Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote with Color Touch Screen

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Harmony-Universal-Remote-Screen/dp/B00119T6NQ

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  09/16  at  11:26 AM

Oh no!

Smarter_than_u has done it. To the other posters ... please don’t let this deteriorate into a Harmony remote vs. ipad + iPanel.

Just ignore the post and move on.

thank you.

Posted by Paul T.  on  09/16  at  12:14 PM

hmm…liked the button-less prototype from last month better…but thumbs up for the landscape mode!

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  09/16  at  12:14 PM

Welcome to why the iPad is no longer just an apple toy but an actual replacement for current control system wi-fi touchpanels.

Crestron is still king.

BTOWN! PATENT IT NEXT TIME! This might have been your ticket to early retirement smile.

Now who do i speak to about the text labels? Lights & Home? Who in their right mind would have a home button on a panel thats large enough for a fixed navigation menu and what if there are no lights being controlled?

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  09/16  at  12:18 PM

Sorry Julie smile... Smarter_then_u… thanks for the link.. i needed something to show the clients first.. something to illustrate how ridiculously better the iPad is when compared to other cheaper older remotes.

Posted by dkippy  on  09/16  at  12:25 PM

Very nice design and I think the entire industry is going to begin having a great deal of fun again offering custom clients cool options. The iPad and other new competing products are going to open up interesting opportunity’s to show clients why what the CEDIA channel provides is not an off the shelf or box house solution. Nicely done. CEDIA 2010 is going to be FUN!

Posted by CEDIA  on  09/16  at  02:13 PM

I hope CEDIA is more than just “FUN” and that it helps dealers generate new revenue

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