As if the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad family wasn't already encroaching on distributed audio and home automation control systems, Onkyo announced that its future A/V receivers will come with free iOS remote control apps. This is a good idea for Onkyo on several levels: it allows Onkyo to tap into Apple's marketing momentum, and gives it the ability to market a rich touchscreen remote control without having to add anything to the bill of materials for the receiver.
Of course, using a phone as a remote can be problematic - what happens when someone wants to use the system and you're on the phone or out of the house? Dedicating an iPod touch to remote control duty - especially if you invest in a charging dock so it stays charged and doesn't wander off - solves this problem, and gives retailers who carry both Onkyo and Apple products a nice add-on sale at time of purchase. Consumers may balk at the added price, but the truth is that Apple's component prices are so much lower than specialty A/V vendors that it would probably be cheaper for Onkyo to buy an iPod touch and include it in the box rather than try to build an equivalent product for use as a remote control.