Correct, you must use the hand control or an external computer to focus. That is the big drawback of this focuser, it mounts right onto the focusing knob (after removing the rubber cover) and there is no easy way to remove it out in the field should you need to resort to manual focus.
Those who only use SkyPortal/SkySafari in place of the physical hand control may not be so interested although it is likely the physical hand control could control the focuser without disrupting SkyPortal/SkySafari.
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
I am not sure if this is a major issue. Depends on the wider functionality of the device and the supporting software and details in the public domain are currently imited.
My first point is for Astrophotographers that sit with laptop at the scope that switch to visual it isn't a problem to use a Nexstar + HC instead of twiddle the regular focuser as both are within reach. The challenge here is a question of remote control of the focuser from a distance when you cannot reach the Nexstar + HC and/or compatibility with the APPs. But consider this...
I have a wireless MKIT20-WL Autofocuser, but came to realise the non-wireless version was actually the more flexible for my purpose. I no longer use its wireless receiver. I simply affix its Hand Controller at the scope where its tangible buttons can be used to adjust focus in visual mode when using an eyepiece. This HC is then connected by USB cable to a Intel NUC at the scope which I remotely control from indoors (see EAA Forum). I can then alternatively adjust focus from inside my warm 'Mission Control' using FocusMax (or SGP or Maxim DL etc). Works independently of software like Infinity and Sharpcap. The fact that I might use SkySafari to control other scope functionality (like GoTo) is irrelevant.
The new Celestron Focuser instead uses the regular Nexstar + HC which (like my Focuser HC) is located at the scope. The relevant questions therefore are;
1. If aligned with SkySafari/wireless will the Nexstar + HC Focuser buttons still work?
Like Mike Swanson, I suspect yes, as the regular direction buttons and <Menu> still work after alignment with an APP (but don't try GoTo except in the APP). If so, there would be no issue with controlling focus when sat at the scope whether doing AP or visual.
2. Will Focus adjustment be added to SkySafari?
Frankly, I doubt it, and with no tactile feedback from a Tablet screen buttons I think it would be frustrating.
3. Begs the question; can a Nexstar + HC be controlled remotely?
The answer is yes (Stellarium, NextRemote etc), but it can be tricky and it will need an item of Windows software similar to FocusMax to control focus (unless SGPro or Maxim DL compatible etc) . I would be astonished if Celestron has not thought about challenge (3). However (1) should resolve the problem for those that are always outdoors whether visual or AP. But if it doesn't offer remote capabilities (3), it will not (IMHO) be a game-changer.