This one is obvious but cool nonetheless.
With the launch of the App Store next month, Apple will release free software that lets you control iTunes on your Mac (or PC, we presume) via an iPhone or iPod touch. MacRumors notes the discovery in a pre-release version of iTunes 7.7 seeded to developers last night. “In the Read Me of the iTunes installer is a hint at a previously unannounced iPhone/iPod Touch application”:
… the new Remote application for iPhone or iPod touch to control iTunes playback from anywhere in your home — a free download from the App Store.
To keen followers of all things Apple, the new iTunes remote software will come as no surprise. A patent application highlighted last July but filed in 2005 describes the possibility of the use of an iPod or iPhone as a media remote control for a home entertainment system.
A portable multimedia player (such as the iPod. manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.) is used to wirelessly access and control a media server (such as a personal computer running iTunes software) that is streaming digital media by way of a wireless interface to a media unit (such as a stereo/speakers in the case of streaming digital audio).
Of course, the iPhone/iPod touch’s Multi-Touch UI is perfectly suited to such an application. One of the main advantages of Apple’s reliant on virtual keys for its device is the ability to reconfigure the interface contextually for different purposes. It also helps – once again – that Apple controls both the software and hardware in the iTunes eco-system, even if, at times, it would be better if the company embraced industry standards for media streaming and control. That way, for example, iTunes could talk to my PlayStation 3 without the need for third-party software.