We covered the Gorenje Made for iPod fridge and the iGorenje home appliance program at IFA last Sunday. I've spent some time with both and I like what I see, although I have some doubts about how practical this can be.
Like someone pointed out before, the life of a fridge is very long, so the iPod dock would probably become obsolete down the line. I also don't see the point of having your fridge acting as your amplifier: as you can see in the video, you can connect extra speakers to it. The Wi-Fi connection and iGorenje program makes a lot more sense, as it can be expanded in the future to accommodate new appliances and functionality. Plus, it is device independent. Although you can use any device, however, the interface has clearly been optimised for the iPod touch and the iPhone, which is the handheld they were using for their demos. According to them, they have some kind of collaboration contract with Apple, so Steve or someone else in Cupertino must be a fan of the brand.
The iGorenje system works quite well. It uses the Wi-Fi network in your home to connect your web-browsing device to your oven and washing machine, and when it's released later this year you will be able to control all Gorenje appliances.
iGorenje's interface is very easy to work out. Just touch the function, select the options you want and click Start. The appliance will get the parameters, start working and give you feedback in realtime, back to your iPod. For the oven, you can start from a recipe, a wizard that allows you to set the oven according to the kind of food and weight, and a custom program, which can be easily created in iGorenje and then stored. The process is fully automatic, so if you have something that needs to be cooked first slowly, then a really high heat in the last minutes, it will handle it for you.
For the washing machine, it's exactly the same thing. This time you have different programs according to the clothes you put in, making it very easy to operate.
But while the whole thing seems polished and works well, do we really need this kind of sophistication in our kitchens? I may be too old school, but I like to cook in the kitchen, not by remote control. I like the idea of programming the oven in an easy way, although I will still be controlling it myself. What do you think? Is this the kind of evolution everyday home tasks need? [More IFA 2008 Coverage]