For one, it will now dock and charge horizontally. It also adds 13 hard buttons for easy and quick navigation to certain control sections such as lights, music and shades. I personally like the feel of hard buttons when performing functions like channel surfing through a DirecTV guide. Even with the price estimated to be at around $500 for the Crestron iPanel, in addition to the price range of the iPad, it is still a much better and more functional deal than purchasing one of Crestron’s similar products, the TPMC-8X or the TPS-6X wirless touch panels.
In general, the wireless on the iPad has proven to be far more reliable than on the TPMC-8X in the numerous installations we have done. Another major improvement of the iPad is the ability to roam around a large house from access point to access point. This was and still remains a major issue with the TPMC-8X. While that is an achievable function with the 8X, it requires far more network resources. Keep in mind, the entire system with the iPad still works on a Crestron backbone with a Crestron processor. You will also need a certified programmer to customize the touch panel application for your specific system and needs.
The Crestron iPanel will be debut at CEDIA 2010 this September 24-26 in Atlanta. Give us a call at 1-800-224-5721 to schedule a visit to our showroom in Downtown Los Angeles to check out the iPad in action.