In line with the growing need for connected homes in an aware consumer-centric market, Apple Inc. is apparently going ahead with its smart home initiative through Worldwide Developer Conference scheduled next week. Apple is said to be planning to announce the introduction of new ways for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV to control household appliances—primarily lights and security systems.
Apple’s plans were revealed by the Financial Times on Monday, in which unnamed sources were cited as saying that Apple will unveil its new initiative at WWDC 2014 keynote next week.
With a number of connected home devices compatible with the iPhone such as the Philips Hue smart LED bulbs, which had made their debut at Apple’s retail stores, already making a splash in the smart home market, Apple can unify these products by certifying them as Apple-sanctioned devices. Devices such as these that help create a personalized wireless lighting environment would then be able to become a part of Apple’s ecosystem, bring in an authorized Apple logo on the product packaging.
The iPhone user, on entering home, would have provisions such as having lights automatically turning on. Third-party device makers would be able to connect to the Apple ecosystem in a manner similar to Apple’s current Made for iPhone licensing. The Apple TV is expected to be upgraded later this year, thereby, being able to connect to household appliances in the way the iPhone and the iPad will apparently function.
Over the years, Apple has filed various patents showing the use of an iPhone as the focal point of connected appliances. In one of the filings, a new iPhone application shown allows users to build custom scenes with specific settings to control home appliances.
This strategic move would allow Apple to make its place in the growing connected market, without bringing out devices of its own. Third-party companies could shoulder the responsibility, like has been done in the case of docks and speakers with Made for iPhone and Made for iPod licensing.
In the well-anticipated presentation next week, Apple would apparently focus on privacy of users so as to address concerns regarding data collection and government surveillance. This move is a likely snub at Google, criticized for its privacy policies.