personally I feel a hard button remote with an touch lcd is the best solution in an area that will have a lot of watching hours racking up.
having a touch only is pretty gay and here is why. With a hard buttons you really do learn the remote quite well with time and you don't have to even look at it to perform common tasks like volume up/down, ch +/-, pause/play/fwd/rwd. You can pretty much nail it every time without looking.
Having to look down at a touch screen all the time for the proper button is not imho the best user experience.
So no questions asked a dedicated hybrid remote in each area where your going to spend some time watching video.
I also love having my iPhone programmed to control the entire house but I sure wouldn't want it as my sole method. Not a chance.
I have also lost much interest in using ipads over control manufacturer branded touch screens. By the time I deal with keeping ipads charged, the mounting frame (and most mounts aren't as nice as flush looking in the wall as the dedicated touchscreens and that's big to me I like a flush clean look) the costs are almost right in line with a dedicated screen. Depending on the mount and charging solution it could be more. Then add in setup time and zero margins and how ipads won't automatically wake when you walk up to them. Then the constant resolution changes and programming work required to accommodate all them... I've pretty much written them off. I am happy with RTI's in wall solutions and the variation in sizes and i'd pick them over ipads for sure in most situations.