We manufacture and sell an industrial product (not consumer-grade) that is currently being controlled using a traditional keypad and display. We'd like to replace this with an iPod Touch (smaller systems) and/or iPad (larger systems).

The iPod would act as an embedded controller to our product. It would likely be connected (via serial interface) to an internal control board by something like Redpark's serial cable.

Is this possible?

There seem to be a fair amount of hurdles to this:

  1. Activation - Each device needs to be activated with an iTunes account (and credit card?)
  2. Power - The Redpark cable only supplies signal, not power to the device
  3. App Deployment - Ideally, our custom app would be pre-loaded on the iDevice so our customers can be up and running with our product out of the box. However, it seems you cannot publish an app to the App Store that uses the 30-pin accessory port. "Enterprise deployment" is out of the question as it's limited to 100 installations.

Has anyone successfully used an iOS device as a front-end interface for their product?


  • 1
    Slight correction : Ad Hoc deployment is limited to 100 devices. Enterprise deployment is limited to employees and devices within the enrolled corporation.
    – hotpaw2
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


Contact Redpark. They may be able to help you apply for Apple's MFi program and get a custom cable manufactured to your (and Apple's MFi) specification after you are accepted into the MFi program. Then you can distribute your custom app for that cable (and your industrial product) via Apple's iTunes App store.

  • Thanks, I have contacted Redpark, and they are very informative and helpful. Also seeking advice from those who may have already gone through this (or similar) procedure.
    – Sean O
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 18:44

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