Originally Posted by samab
But is that necessary in order to achieve what you want.
A $20 coffee maker has a clock that will turn on the coffee maker in the morning. A $300 dishwasher has a 4 hour delay button. A simple $50 controller can water your lawn at night. How hard it is to make a clothes dryer with a time delay button?
But each requires that you RTFM and figure out how to work each gadget's particular system. These features tend to go unused by the vast majority of consumers, even if it would make their lives a little bit better. These kind of timers will be used more often if they can be set with a simple, intuitve consistent UI from the comfort of your friendly Mac. BTW, people often unplug coffee makers for thorough cleaning, so to continue using the timer, you have to set the time AND the timer all over again.
A cheap digital thermostat can already program to make your home colder or warmer when you are not home in the day time or after you fall asleep. Is it necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a smart thermostat so you can phone in by SMS and change your home's temperature by 1 degree because you have nothing to do in the office?
I don't think people will "fine tune" their home's thermostat remotely by their mobile phone to delay heating up the furnace from the normal 5pm schedule to 5:30pm because they decided to stop by the local supermarket after work that day.
Have you set one lately? It is a pretty harrowing affair! Also, you are neglecting that factors other than time of day can be used to adjust your home's climate. The presence of people is one that comes to mind. Instead of letting the indoor temperature to rise in the summer at a set time, it waits until everyone leaves. It might kick on when it "sees" you are five miles away and approaching.
And don't bother me with trivial examples. Suppose I notice that someone turned my thermostat down to 76F on a day where its going to be near 100F and left the house. If I let the temp go to 83F, I'll save a lot of money on A/C. It's not going to cost thousands of dollars -- existing models are still too expensive in the $200 range.
I don't think people will "fine tune" their lawn watering schedule because they saw on the weather channel that it will rain tomorrow.
What if the lawn watering schedule adjusted itself by measuring the moisture level of the soil, tracking barometric pressure and humidity trends and tracking weather forecasts to water only when needed and not watering before a storm? Water is not expensive, per se, but we are becoming more and more aware of how important it is to use it wisely.
As with your ipod example --- people spent a lot of money on structured wiring so that they can have audio in the whole house or route dvd's from the living room to the bedroom. But the price of a ipod drop so much that your entire music library can be store into a $100 ipod and you can buy a dvd player for $20 from walmart --- don't need to spend thousands of dollars on structured wiring. Same thing with the tivo's and blu-ray players in a couple year's time --- it's going to be so cheap that you can have one in every room.
And what about the poor bastards that ran Ethernet cable throughout the house only to see the advent of 802.11n that is fast enough for almost everyone? I guess some people need Gigabit Ethernet, but I don't know any of them.
Your point is, essentially, why pay infinity dollars for trivial functionality? My point is that with a pitched effort, Apple can make home automation have great functionality for a reasonable price.