I am seeing a trend in remote controls and that trend is the iPhone. Sonos is the latest wireless audio distribution provider to snuggle up to Apple and its two touch screen music players, the iPhone and iTouch. The company has now released software so that you can use either one of these Apple units as a controller for their audio receivers. Brier Dudley at the Seattle Times has a good interview with Sonos CEO John MacFarlane about why the company has hooked up with Apple.
This concept is not new, Apple rolled out a Remote application for the iPone and iTouch a few months back, that allows the units to control iTunes using WiFi. Zooloos music servers have that option as well. This is one bandwagon that makes sense to jump on. People carry their phones everywhere they go. By using the phone as a controller, it means you will seldom have to spend 20 minutes looking for a lost remote. Since wireless audio systems allow you can wander the house listening to tunes, the advantage is even more obvious.
The interesting part to me is that by using an Apple product you can conceivably reduce the cost of buy in for a Sonos system. You may already have one of these pieces. If you don’t, you can buy an iTouch for half the price of the Sonos controller. It is a curious business strategy but I suspect it might be a wise move in the end. Sonos is very much into integration. The well-received decco line of integrated amplifiers even has an access port built in that allows the complete internal installation of a Sonos receiver.
So often all these companies fight for control; it is so nice to see them play well together.