Apple Inc. (AAPL) is looking to step into the home automation business, after Google acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion the electronics giant must have seen prosperous times in the future for smart home appliances and wants to get in on the market before anyone else.
The way Apple will approach the home automation platform is rather curious and shows a change in the wind for Cupertino under Tim Cook, they will announce the platform at WWDC on June 2 and offer it out to third party developers and manufacturers.
Quality control and review will still be in place to weed out some of the worst applications and appliances, but overall Apple will be looking to third party developers to create interfaces and hardware, instead of building it themselves.
The hub for the platform will be the iPhone, Apple’s crowning jewel of hardware. Users will be able to interact with appliances through an app on the iPhone, similar to how Healthbook and Passbook work at the moment.
Apple did patent a home automation service back in 2013, allowing a relay service to connect the computers and electronic appliances to other miscellaneous items around the house, giving the home owner complete control of everything.
This is a plan Google wants to follow through on, we already seen on the Android Wear reveal the ability to open a garage by telling the smartwatch, something we hope Google will integrate into their smart-home platform, whenever that comes out.
Apple is stepping into a few new markets this year, wearables is big and has the potential to overlap mobile, but smart home is a whole new area. Offering developers a chance to create rich applications and hardware that integrate well with the users life could mean the difference for Apple in the future, when they are going up against Google and others on innovation.