I still haven’t found a good iPhone app for remotely controlling my desktop. It’s not something I would use every day, but there a few use cases where it would really come in handy. Like wanting to stream something from my iMac to my Apple TV, but iTunes isn’t running. Like a fool, I’ve been walking all the way upstairs to open iTunes, or if I’m lazy and have my laptop close, connect over Screen Sharing to open it.
The only thing I really need from a remote is being able to launch apps. A few other functions like sleep/shutdown/reboot the computer would be nice as well. Bonus points for being able to perform actions on an app, such as pause a song in iTunes or quit the app. Thinking about these uses, I realized that it’s exactly what I use Alfred for on a daily basis.
I love Alfred. It’s an app launcher, but you can also use it for searching locally or the web and has many other features as well. I’ve tried quite a few of these types of apps (Quicksilver, LaunchBar, Spotlight), but Alfred hits the sweet spot for me. Fast and simple, and does exactly what I want. New features are being added slowly, but steadily without bogging down the rest of the app.
So, Alfred does what I want already, it would be perfect if it could just act as a server to an iPhone app with the same interface. Since this doesn’t already exist, I thought it be fun to mock it up and see what it would look like.
Here’s a few different screens. I certainly didn’t cover everything, but this covers the basics. I prefer Alfred with the “dark” theme, so I used that here as well.
Default Alfred screen after connecting to a computer, waiting for input. The machine you're connected to is shown at the bottom.
Typing a letter starts filling in results, as soon as you start touch the list, the keyboard is dismissed. List will scroll if all results don't fit.
Typed in full name of app shows a single result
Tapping an app launches it if not already running. If already running, shows actions to perform on that app. Actions unique to that app are in purple, actions for any app are white.
Of course it needs an icon, and I don't think any other app can pull off the purple.
Note: I'm not affiliated with the developers of Alfred, just thought it be fun design challenge.