Apple expected to unveil new smart home platform at WWDC - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited May 2014
At next week's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple is apparently planning to make a big splash in the connected "smart home" market, introducing new ways for the iPhone, iPad and even Apple TV to control lights, security systems and other household appliances.

Hue


Apple's apparent plans were revealed on Monday by the Financial Times, which citied unnamed sources as saying that the iPhone maker will unveil its new initiative at next week's WWDC 2014 keynote.

One example given by the report include lights that automatically turn on when an iPhone carrying user enters the home. Third-party device makers will apparently be able to tie into the ecosystem in a manner similar to Apple's current "Made for iPhone" licensing.

Even the Apple TV is expected to play a role in Apple's smart home initiative, as the report said an upgraded model released later this year will also be able to connect to household appliances.

Home Automation
An Apple "smart home" patent was first discovered by AppleInsider last year.


In next week's anticipated presentation, Apple is expected to focus on privacy in an effort to alleviate users' concerns about data collection and government surveillance. Such a move would be seen as a snub at Google, which has been scrutinized for its privacy policies and is also in the smart home business thanks to its $3.2 billion purchase of thermostat maker Nest earlier this year.

Apple has shown interest in smart homes over the years with various patent filings, many of which have shown the use of an iPhone as the centerpiece for connected appliances. In one filing, a new iPhone application is shown allowing users to build custom "scenes" that involve specific settings for devices like home lights, speakers, a television set and more.

Nest


There are a number of connected home devices already available on the market and compatible with the iPhone, most notably the Philips Hue smart LED bulbs which debuted exclusively at Apple's retail stores. The Hue allows users to create and save combinations of lighting in their home, thanks to the array of colors that can be displayed by the connected bulbs.

With devices like Hue and Nest already available, but controlled via separate dedicated applications, Apple's smart home efforts may serve as a way to unify these different products. By becoming certified as an Apple-sanctioned appliance, devices would be able to connect into Apple's ecosystem, and also will be able to display an authorized logo on the product packaging.

Such moves would allow Apple to establish a place in the growing connected home market without the need to build its own products and devices. Instead, those responsibilities could be handed off to third-party companies, much like has been done with speakers and docks in with Made for iPhone and Made for iPod licensing.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 150
    Well if anyone can do it right, it is Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 150
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,833member
    Sounds great, another thing that apple could prove software can do, vs android using hardware.
  • Reply 3 of 150
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Sounds interesting. If Apple does go down this route, I hope they really invest in it and really push it. Not have it be something like Passbook or the MFI game controllers that haven't really taken off.
  • Reply 4 of 150
    Interesting but wouldn't the home need to be hard-wired for Apple to be able to enable this?
  • Reply 5 of 150
    snailersnailer Posts: 51member
    Yes, this is the next frontier of how Apple can change the world. Basing it on a strong security is smart, because then the control of your house will not come at the expense of even more of your most personal data being sucked into the information superhighway and ads being shoved in your face when you want to dim the lights. It would be fantastic to have an app on the AppleTV that lets me view and control everything around my house and yard and/or with an iPhone or iPad, too.
  • Reply 6 of 150
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    oh, yes. bring it.
  • Reply 7 of 150
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Sounds interesting. If Apple does go down this route, I hope they really invest in it and really push it. Not have it be something like Passbook or the MFI game controllers that haven't really taken off.

     

    you can't really blame apple for third-party API initiatives.

     

    that being said -- there are a half-dozen different game controllers? and every major airline and venue ticketing system uses Passbook? not sure why thats a failure in your eyes...i use Passbook every time i travel and it's great.

  • Reply 8 of 150
    Microsoft research has been studying a home platform via HomeOS for over five years, yet they've released no product whatsoever.

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/homeos/
  • Reply 9 of 150
    I kind of hope this isn't what they'll be announcing. This sounds like "Nest" meets iOS and Nest is pretty boring. But it is Apple, whatever they do, it'll be done with grace and beauty.
  • Reply 10 of 150
    disturbiadisturbia Posts: 563member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by smaceslin View Post



    Well if anyone can do it right, it is Apple.

    Yes and ... if any company can shit all over it with "Buy Viagra without prescription" ADs right under our a$$ .... was / is / will forever be ... GOOGLE! :smokey:

  • Reply 11 of 150
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member

    iOS in the car

     

    iOS in the home. 

     

    iOS in your brain.

  • Reply 12 of 150
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    nolamacguy wrote: »
    you can't really blame apple for third-party API initiatives.

    that being said -- there are a half-dozen different game controllers? and every major airline and venue ticketing system uses Passbook? not sure why thats a failure in your eyes...i use Passbook every time i travel and it's great.
    Maybe it's not a failure but I don't think either of them are as successful as they could be. I hope Apple shows something off that will be the "ah, this is why they didn't go after. Nest".
  • Reply 13 of 150
    imatimat Posts: 211member
    Nice! Would love for the "green" effort from Apple to enter our homes! Now that would be cool (and explain why they didn't buy NEST).

    Important is that they gather enough partners (something which Apple needs to become better at).
  • Reply 14 of 150
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,399member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Sounds interesting. If Apple does go down this route, I hope they really invest in it and really push it. Not have it be something like Passbook or the MFI game controllers that haven't really taken off.

    MFI game controllers won't be that popular until the 2nd gen ones come out, being cheaper and better and most importantly, fit the next iPhone.

    Once the new iPhone comes out and AppleTV gets an App store, that's when they'll become popular.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post



    Microsoft research has been studying a home platform via HomeOS for over five years, yet they've released no product whatsoever.

    And there's the difference. Apple wouldn't openly study something that long and not either do it or drop it in 5 years. Microsoft are just clutching at straws to try and find the next big thing to get them on top.

  • Reply 15 of 150
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,228member
    Nice to have something coming out of nowhere instead of something that leaked all over the place for months.
  • Reply 16 of 150
    Perceptive Automation has a great piece of software in their Indigo product. It would be nice to see Apple%u2019s approach work well with established Macintosh/iPhone products like this.
  • Reply 17 of 150
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    Maybe it's not a failure but I don't think either of them are as successful as they could be. I hope Apple shows something off that will be the "ah, this is why they didn't go after. Nest".

     

    If you even use it once, it's successful. Every event that I attend that takes advantage of Passbook I utilize. So much easier than having to deal with paper tickets or looking for the email with the PDF ticket, or even looking for the PDF for that matter. Maybe you do not think it's successful because you do not personally use the product?

  • Reply 18 of 150
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,385member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thegreatcaesar View Post



    I kind of hope this isn't what they'll be announcing. This sounds like "Nest" meets iOS and Nest is pretty boring. But it is Apple, whatever they do, it'll be done with grace and beauty.

     

    Nest is insanely limited compare to other home automation solutions on the market- home automation potential is anywhere but "boring".

     

    If this happens, it would be absolutely stunning, since there really hasn't been any solid rumors about it at all. Proves that Apple will continue charting its own path instead of doing what everyone predicts (TV/smartwatch). Home automation is extremely exciting, its a nascent market with a million players in it, but still a complete mess with no standards. Apple could make a massive splash and pretty much dominate it if they really do it right. They already have many pieces of the puzzle to make it a seamless, intuitive experience. I'm thinking they will start simple initially (lights, etc) then branch out to more complexity once consumers get used to the idea. 

     

    This is also a sensitive area where Apple has a major PR advantage, given the privacy stigma of Google. Many would not be comfortable buying home automation hardware that tracks your every move from an advertising company. 

  • Reply 19 of 150
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,865moderator
    Well, there's only one company I'd trust to create a keyless lock for my front door. And that's Apple. Hopefully this will be one of the capabilities they enable so that lock companies can make a bigger push into the 21st century. Everything along these line I've seen on the market thus far doesn't quite gain my trust.
  • Reply 20 of 150
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,407member
    I am skeptical that anything can happen soon. A connected home is still many years away. The current setup for wifi (via cable or phone) is suboptimal for this type of thing.

    Perhaps this is a bit pie-in-the-sky, but until someone finds a way to get us wifi via power lines, this is a 'pipe' dream.
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