I've got Crestron automation and home theater system in my house, and I was looking at the IPAD as a potential remote control device (the ones from Crestron are thousands of dollars). Right now I've been using my various PCs in the house and a couple of Dell Axim PDAs as the remote control.
The PDAs aren't very good because the screen real esate is limited, meaning that the functionality had to be implemented on many screens, plus when the PDAs go into sleep mode it takes a good 15 seconds for them to wake up and connect back to the wireless network.
Controlling the system from a PC or laptop is fine functionally, but it's a bit combersome except in my study where I control the TV from the PC on my desk, where I sit all the time. The PC interface is an IE ActiveX control loaded from a web server that's part of the Crestron system. All the controls inside the ActiveX are mouse based, by that I mean that you have to click on the ActiveX's representation of the remote keys, you can't use the keyboard or a macro.
What I'd like to do is get a IPad and use some sort of remote desktop software to connect to an instance of WinXP (could be Win 7 if needed) that I have running on my VMWare box. I'd have the RDC session maximized on the Ipad and the IE web page with the ActiveX control set to automatically start maximized when the user logs on to windows.
My questions are first, in these remote desktop scenarios does the Ipad allow you to use it's touch screen capability to simulate mouse movement and clicking in the remote desktop session? It would be nice to just touch the ActiveX control's representation of the buttons, just like you could on the multithousand dollar remote from Crestron, to make them work, but I would be OK with moving the mouse with my finger on the touch screen and then tapping the screen once the mouse got to the right spot if I had to (just like how RDC works on a smart phone). However, if I have to do more than that, it might not be worth it.
My second question concerns controlling how the Ipad sleeps when not connected to AC. One big issue with the PDAs is that they go to sleep after a few minutes and it takes 15 seconds or longer for them to wake back up and connect to the wireless. That wouldn't work in the scenario I'm looking at for the Ipad. What I'd like is for it to just blank the screen after a while, but leave the wireless connection active so that as soon as I touched it the screen would come back, again just like the multithousand dollar Crestron remote. Lastly, if it's possible to configure the Ipad's power management to work like that, any idea of how long the battery would last in that configuration?
Suggestions and comments welcome.
P.S. I've never owned an apple product before, so when responding please assume that I know nothing about Apple equipment and software.