Instrument user interface on iPod or iPad with embedded server web page and WiFi

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I'm not sure if this is the place to discuss this, but I'm looking to=20
develop a series of electronic test instruments where one (or more) =
iPods or=20
iPads or similar tablet device may be used for an interface (rather than =
dedicated graphic display and touchscreen as previously proposed).

One idea was to use a Microchip PIC device with Ethernet and WiFi=20
connectivity to present as a web page on its own server, which means it=20
could be accessed from anywhere in the world through the internet. It =
use a standard iPod, iPad, or iPhone with a browser, and no special app. =

This may be useful, but not really necessary.

I think it would be better to use WiFi or even ZigBee or the Microchip =
wireless network protocol and hardware. This might connect to the =
with its own wireless hardware using a special app, perhaps written in =

Or, the iPod or iPad could be set up as a web server so that its =
of memory and database storage could be accessed by means of server side =

scripts in PHP and SQLite. There is an app for the iPhone called =

There are many possibilities, and I just want to figure out the best =
concept. Cost is not a major factor, so if a $500 iPod is required for =
instrument, replacing the otherwise dedicated touchscreen, that would be =
problem. The instruments will probably have some simple manual controls =
indicators for stand-alone use, but for anything more, a standard,=20
ubiquitous hand-held device would be ideal.

It would be a great selling feature to be able to have a customer simply =

purchase an iPad or iPod locally if it is damaged or lost. There is no=20
guarantee that a local WiFi network will be available in the field, so I =

think the hardware needs to be capable of creating its own network, even =
it's only a one-on-one connection. I want to keep the complexity of the=20
instrument at a minimum, using a mid-range PIC for basic control and =
collection and display, and offloading the more resource-intensive =
to the hand-held device.

I don't really have much experience with networking or iPhones or other=20
tablet devices, so I'll probably need to purchase some evaluation kits =
some sort of iPhone or iPod or iPad to get started. TIA for any =

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