Apple has pretty much killed the wireless touch panel for the home automation market with the iPad and iPod Touch — and if you feel like they haven’t, then let me rephrase the previous sentence with, “Apple will soon kill the wireless touch panel…”. It’s really hard to sell a wireless panel these days that costs more than triple the cost and in most cases, of less quality and has 10x’s less battery life than the Apple devices.

Now, I understand the limitations of using an iPod Touch and iPad for home control and I have heard the argument that a touch panel that is dedicated gives the user quicker access than powering up the i-Device, sliding to unlock, then either launching or resuming the application, wait for a slight delay of the wifi to connect and a few seconds later, controlling the system.

Sure, I agree.

I also agree that some in-wall panels also act as an “embedded” server which needs to be on all the time — something the Apple device isn’t designed to do — those are all valid points. However, for casually controlling your lights, music, security, viewing cameras, adjusting temperature, and so forth, the Apple mobile devices are a home run!

That’s why I got excited to see the NOW SHIPPING touch/iPad in-wall mount system from iPort. The iPort CM-IW100T (CM100) Control Mount for the iPod touch encases an iPod touch in a wall-mounted chassis with a magnetically attached, rectangular bezel, as does the iPort CM-IW2000 (CM2000) for Apple’s iPad, transforming the handheld devices into in-wall touchscreens running apps from any control system over WiFi. The device is powered over CAT5 — audio output is also carried over the Cat5 cable which can be fed as an audio source into a whole house audio system — think Pandora App or even the iPod Player, however, that will require you occasionally pull the iPod/iPad out of the panel to sync as Apple doesn’t offer wifi syncing.

The iPort CM100 retails for $250.00, while the iPad version retails for $499.00. I’ll try to get one in for review soon…

– iPort – CM Series

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