Home automation controller specialists iPort have been talking about using an iPod touch as a budget A/V controller for years now - we last wrote about their in-wall docking cradle back in 2007, no less - but if you've been looking for a more permanent solution than a simple dock then they've a prototype that may appeal. At CES 2010 last week the company was showing off the iPort Control Dock, intended to semi-permanently mount an iPod touch for in-wall use.
The system consists of a docking cradle - which is inserted into a section cut out from your drywall - and a magnetically-attached faceplate that snaps in front. The iPod touch is powered via the dock, and two hardware buttons are used to control its power and Home keys. Both landscape and portrait orientations are possible, and since many companies have iPod touch clients for use with their A/V and home automation systems it's reasonably platform agnostic.
It sounds like iPort are yet to decide whether to put the Control Dock into production; VP of sales Jason Sloan told CE Pro "we’re looking at that right now." While sandwiching an Apple PMP in the wall might seem extreme, compared to how much many integrated color touchscreens cost even a brand new iPod touch starts to look like a bargain.