Are you one of those old-school types who still watches TV programs on an actual television? Then you probably also own one or fifteen of those cordless channel changer contraptions -- you know, the kind that use AA batteries and magic beams of light to command station and volume adjustments. Well, set down the remote, lean back in that oversized plastic-covered velvet sofa, and get ready to toss out your last pair of alkalines. Zero1's new VooMote Zapper remote module has been making the rounds at IFA, letting you use any iOS device as a universal remote. Sure, the concept itself isn't new -- there have been other iOS-integrated remotes -- but the Zapper is small, relatively inexpensive, and interfaces quite nicely with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Your programmed selections are stored on the Zapper itself, so you can easily use it with multiple iOS devices.
The $70 device can be matched with identically colored cases ($20 and up), and also includes rather comprehensive TV Guide functionality, enabling you to see local programming, watch previews of unfamiliar content, and send an infrared signal to your TV to launch a program -- during its scheduled airing time, of course. We took a look at the app / itsy bitsy hardware combo, and it seemed to work well, with an easy setup process (codes for nearly every device come preloaded) and fast response time. VooMote reps said the device has a range of 25 feet, which is more than plenty for our tiny apartment configs, but may not suffice in some stadium-style media rooms. At the end of the day, it's really just a (very) elegant touchscreen universal remote solution, so we'll leave it at that. Jump past the break to see the Zapper in action.