4 Ways Apple’s iPad Will Change Custom Electronics

The chances of the iPad being a colossal failure: not very good. CE pros better start embracing the technology now.

Tom LeBlanc · January 27, 2010


Apple’s much-hyped iPad tablet could be a colossal failure.

But that’s not likely since everything Steve Jobs touches seems to turn to gold and have a huge influence on our culture.

Many didn’t think the iPod would impact the custom electronics industry, but it altered the way multiple generations find and listen to music. Plenty of CE pros have followed suit, using iPods or iPhones as epicenters of their multiroom audio/video systems.

Many didn’t think the iPhone would impact the custom electronics installation industry, but its prolific app store continues to shape home automation.

It’s early, but we wonder how the iPad will impact the custom electronics industry. Here are four guesses:

End of Channel Flipping

Consumers who walk around with an iPad in their bag, pocket or however one carries a 9.7-inch touchscreen, will search for content differently. They’ll be more accustomed to download movies, TV programs, Web videos and, music.

CE pros will have to do a better job differentiating their services and demonstrate why consumers need help with content aggregation beyond what their iPad already provides.

Launch of 1,000,000 Apps

The iPad can run virtually every app from Apple’s App Store. That means home automation manufacturers, installers and programs need to start building home control apps.

Apple-friendly home automation manufacturer Savant, for one, says it encourages installers to generate app ideas in the field. Expect a lot more of that going forward.

Control Manufacturers Must Step Up

We all know that custom-programmed home automation devices provide dramatic step-ups over currently available iPhone home control apps. That doesn’t matter.

What matters is how difficult it will become to justify the need to spend more money on tablets by traditional home control manufacturers.

The iPad costs between $499 to $829, which is much cheaper than most home automation touchscreens. It offers a degree of home automation with apps and kind of looks like other touchscreens.

Move to the Middle

The good news is that the iPad is shaped like a traditional home control tablet, albeit lighter. It’s 0.5 inches thin, weighs 1.5 pounds and has a 9.7-inch screen. This may serve to bring more home automation familiarity to the middle market.

CE pros will no longer explain why the heck this remote control is square-shaped.

How do you think Apple’s iPad will influence custom electronics?

  About the Author

Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

Blogs · Apple · Digital Media · iPad · iPhone · iPod · All Topics
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