Just the other day I was thinking about how it might be possible to do something like this app reader Jason kindly dropped us a tip about: AirRemote is an application, soon to be released on the App Store, that's supposed to turn your iPhone or iPod touch into a television remote control. The first catch is that the app costs $99, and the second catch is that you have to buy an extra box (for about $150) to actually the signals to the TV. That's the hardest part about this whole iPhone-as-remote thing -- it's super easy to program the iPhone to do what you want, but it's much harder to get the TV or entertainment center to understand it. Most televisions aren't equipped with Bluetooth or WiFi, and Apple neglected to include an IR transmitter even in the 3G.
But surely it's got to be possible at some point, right? Apps like telekinesis easily let you do a little remote computing, so the real trick here is just getting the TV in on the communications. It's too bad Apple's own little set-top box doesn't make it too easy (though maybe the wifi might let hackers do something with a little tweaking), but then again, maybe they don't want any competition for their own remote.
Of course, buying an iPhone or iPod touch just to control your TV is a waste of money -- there are much cheaper remotes that will work much better. But in the interests of combining functions into one device, it sure would be useful to be able to do everything from one screen.