iPad? Make mine a simpler remote, please

Andrew EverardFri 4th June 2010

What are the iPad's implications for music?

Gramophone shares a building with What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and Stuff magazines, so there are feeding-frenzies whenever significant new products are launched. Everyone wants to have a look, have a play, and give an opinion.

So it was when our editorial director returned from the States with the Apple iPad, having coincidentally (?) found himself there the weekend the product hit the shops amid much hullabaloo. And so it also was that the editor suggested I might find a way to use this column to discuss the implications of the miracle device for music, audio and the world in general.

The last of those three is simple: I’m sure at some point in the future you’ll be able to read this magazine either on the iPad or a similar device. The first is easy, too, in that you can download music onto it, just as you would to an iPod or iPhone, plugging in some headphones when you want a listen.

Note I said “just as you would…”: I really don’t see any benefits of the iPad as a music player, unless like me you resent having to put your reading specs on to change tracks on an iPod and would like the larger display. It’s a bit cumbersome when an iPod/iPhone will do the job just as well.

Yet I reckon audio might just be the “killer app” for the iPad: already manufacturers such as B&O, Naim and Sonos have “apps” to control their products from the iPod Touch and iPhone, using a home wirelesss network. As I peer across the room trying to read the display on the NaimUniti, I can just see myself “driving” it with a sleek tablet on the arm of the sofa.

While I gather the dedicated “app” for the NaimUniti is coming soon, I've been trying out a universal remote control “app”/hardware package for the iPhone and iPod Touch, said to work with a huge range of equipment and give multiroom control.

And very well it works, too – you can read about it here.

Andrew Everard

Andrew Everard, Audio Editor of Gramophone since November 1999, read English at Queens' College, Cambridge a very long time ago, and was a member of the Westminster Abbey Special Choir even further back in the mists of time. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, High Fidelity, Audiophile and Home Cinema magazines, as well as contributing a monthly column to Japanese title HiVi.

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