What if the next iPhone update was universal remote control?


What if instead of selling us something new in 2008, Apple simply updated its 1 million+ iPhones already in circulation with a little gift: Universal remote capability? If all those iPhones suddenly could control your DVD and cable and stereo with a few glowing icons, purchasing Apple’s new video players might be more appealing.

The thought is spurred by a Fast Company article, which throws cold water on Apple noting that Steve Jobs has his work cut out to outdo the iPhone hype. The big problem, FC says, is that Apple’s current stock momentum is based on the rare luck it had by breaking both the MP3 player and music download market at the same time. Back when the first iPod and iTunes were released, there was a huge vacuum in the entertainment content market and Apple filled it. The iPod took off, then the iPhone, and Apple’s computer sales have rode the wave. Now, with the market awash in good technology and with videos all over the web, video entertainment won’t be so easy to dominate. If Apple doesn’t do something brilliant soon, its momentum may run dry.

Which is why we find it interesting Apple has filed patents No. 20070189737 for a Multimedia Control Center and No. 20070230723 for a Portable Media Delivery System. The first is a method to manage different devices with a media control center; the second would help current Apple products talk to non-Apple products.

Are iPhones a Trojan Horse for Apple to gain access to your beloved living room? Would a million users given sudden access to a remote that actually ran everything be more interested in downloaded Apple iTunes videos for the Apple TV system? Just a thought. This may sound radical, but then, so is an MP3 player that talks to your Nike sneakers.

2 thoughts on “What if the next iPhone update was universal remote control?

  1. I disagree with FC. Apple didn’t just rethink entertainment content, they rethought entertainment content delivery.

    They are poised to do the same for video delivery as well. They don’t need to focus on content. All they have to do is convince people to give up their Lazy-Boy and watch stuff on a 3″ screen.

    Adding a universal remote to the iPhone though may not help that cause because it’ll encourage people to keep on watching their regular-size plasmas/LCD screens.

  2. Good point of view. It’s interesting that the Apple TV hasn’t taken off, despite such loyal fans. I think Apple might crack the code … but they’ll need to do something big to get attention and start grabbing the video market now available for free on the internet. This whacky idea about the iPhone was just a suggestion … but Apple does have an opportunity, with devices already out there than can be reprogrammed to do different things.

    Check out Netflix’s move today — video space is getting crowded!

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