Apple's free iTunes iPhone remote app

As part of my work on my Mac speech recognition software, I've been digging into the use of an iPhone as a Mac remote control. While that hasn't been much of a success yet, I did stumble across the Apple iTunes iPhone/iPad remote app.

This iTunes/iPhone remote app is a free app from Apple that lets you control some iTunes functions. Apple's iTunes remote control app doesn't blow me away, however; for me, it has many flaws, including:

  • The app can't start iTunes on your computer, it must already be started.
  • The UI looks just like the iPod iPhone UI, so it's hard to tell whether you're using your iPhone's iPod functionality, or trying to remote control iTunes.
  • You can't get to radio stations from the iTunes remote app.

Actually, there are several other flaws with Apple's iPhone/iPad remote app, I just can't remember them all at the moment. I'll try to update this article as I run across them again, though it may be a while, because I quit using their iTunes remote control app once I ran across what didn't work for me.

iPhone Mac remote control

As for my Mac speech recognition software project, the most promising iPhone Mac remote control app I've been able to find is one named Control, from a company named Banana Glue. Control is priced at $1.99, and seems to be a much more thorough iPhone Mac remote control app than Apple's iTunes iPhone remote app. I'll try to review it more shortly.

FWIW, the basic concept of a Mac remote control app is very simple. Just create a server that runs on the Mac and listens for "commands", and then create a client that knows how to send the commands to the server, preferably with a bunch of security wrapped around it. Security can be a very important point here, as creating a "server" means opening a TCP/IP port your Mac now needs to listen to. (Unless this works by way of Bluetooth, which I know nothing about.) I wrote a similar server application for a client of mine two years ago, and with that server and the appropriate client software, we were able to remote control a whole fleet of computers from a command console.

In the meantime, if you know of any other good iPhone iTunes remote control apps, especially free and open source iPhone apps, leave a note in the Comments section below.

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