Developer: Nuno Pereira
Price: $3.99 Download on the App Store
One of the most useful, and universally loved apps in the App Store is the Apple remote, which allows you to remotely control iTunes from your iPhone. But what about controlling Pandora, PowerPoint or any other Desktop or Web App? The answer is Power Keys, a utility from Silicon Studios that has a single review on the App Store, and a cryptic informational web page.
Power Keys takes a while to figure out, but is well worth it. The idea is simple: provide a set of buttons for the iPhone, and allow each button to be assigned to a specific Apple key command-- for example, shift up arrow.
To show how this works in practice, lets take the example of Pandora. A quick Google search reveals a list of Pandora keyboard shortcuts. In this case, the right arrow key is used to skip to the next song. To program the PowerKeys app, click on "Config" to enter into configuration mode, click on an empty key, and type the word "Next" in the key description. Now -- and here is the tricky part -- scroll down to show the "Key Action" field. Assign the right arrow to the button and click "Save". You will now be able to skip on Pandora from a distance...
The interface and the documentation takes a while to fully understand. However, I can report that I have fully tested the functionality of the product, and it does do exactly what it claims. One of the problems I initially had was in saving assigned layouts. In the current version of the app it does in fact save the layout, but does not automatically pre-select it when you log back in. I've talked with the developers and they are aware of this bug -- it will probably be fixed very shortly.
Clearly there are still a few kinks to be worked out with Power Keys. But this has the opportunity to become a very useful utility...