Blog Post

iPhone Informer — Touching the iPhone This Week

Time for our Wednesday feature that highlights some of the latest iPhone (s aapl) news. I suppose now that Apple has unveiled the iPad and the device runs on the iPhone OS, it should be part of this weekly roundup. But don’t worry — I won’t cram every little iPad tidbit in here. Look for nuggets of useful information instead, and of course, any hands-on thoughts of the device or its apps once the iPad becomes available.

Some third-party developers and services are already gearing up for iPad availability, which is expected around the end of March. And one of them is already touting a very interesting virtualization solution that could seriously quell concerns of those who think the iPad is simply an oversized iPod Touch. Citrix yesterday blogged that its Receiver software for iPhone might be just the thing for folks wanting to run a full-featured, desktop operating system from Apple’s iPad.

The application is essentially a virtual machine that connects back to a Microsoft Windows 7 (s msft) workstation running Citrix (s ctxs) XenDesktop and while geared towards the enterprise, it starts to open up interesting iPad possibilities with other remote and virtual solutions. LogMeIn’s Ignition software, for example, is already available on the iPhone to access and control a desktop using the handset. Wouldn’t a larger display make the experience even more effective? While there are likely to be challenges for these situations — lack of mouse support, connectivity requirements and the need to have a computer on and available — I’m not sure that iPad detractors have thought much about these possibilities, although I’d certainly agree they will impose some limitations.

Speaking of limitations and remote controls, I’m trying out a Roku box for my Amazon and Netflix streaming, and I find the included remote adequate, but limiting. It probably doesn’t help that we have too many remotes in the house and I never remember where I put them all. But I do know where my phone is at all times and two iPhone applications can actually control the Roku box. i.TV is one of those and works on both the iPhone and iPod Touch. Version 2.1 already included Roku support, but v2.2 just hit today, so I may install it to see if the support or interface is improved. Plan B is to look at DVPRemote, another similar remote app that works over Wi-Fi and automatically finds any Roku boxes on a home network. I already like the on-screen keyboard with DVPRemote as opposed to using the Roku remote arrow buttons to “type” a search item.

i.TV is a freebie while DVPRemote is only $0.99, so I’m not looking at any major invetstments involved to try both. If any readers have used them as Roku remote controls, I’d love to hear feedback on the pros and cons!

Image courtesy of LogMeIn

Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

5 Tips for Developers Targeting the iPad