Apple’s CEO recently stated that while the company can do a lot of things, it sometimes prefers to let others do them because they’re better at it. With its home automation program, the company is expanding its presence in our homes, but not in the way it has been reported.According to people familiar with Apple’s plans, “Apple is readying a new software platform that would turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances, as part of a move into the ‘internet of things,’” said an FT.com report from earlier this week.
Naturally, people took it to heart and spread the word. Designer Martin Hajek, known for his iDevice concepts, immediately drew up something that might support the rumor. His work is brilliant, as always, but the iHome apparently isn’t happening any time too soon.
Gigaom’s sources have a slightly different approach to the subject. While there is an iHome plan of sorts underway, Apple is not making a revolutionary new control panel, or anything like that. The company is simply expanding its MFI program to cover things like air conditioners, fridges, light appliances, thermostats, etc.
“My sources, who spoke only on background because of their involvement or knowledge of the program, explain that the smart home effort will have a heavy focus on connecting devices easily via Wi-Fi and will likely offer voice control via Bluetooth as well.
“Instead of worrying about hubs and what might work with other devices, consumers can look for the MFi label and be assured that they can pull their smart home setup together — and control it from their iOS device.”
So that’s basically what’s going on. Nothing major like Martin Hajek’s admittedly beautiful iHome device. Just Made-for-iPhone extended to all kinds of home appliances that will have a much simpler setup process, and easier ways of controlling them.
We probably still have a long way to go before we live like the Jetsons, but Gigaom’s sources say this is the first step in that direction. Apple is reportedly dissatisfied with the fragmentation in home appliances today and is dipping a toe in the sea trying to get a feel of the whole situation and determine if it can do something to turn it around.
So, expect your next washing machine to have the MFI logo on it. Visit Apple’s web site to learn more about the Made-for-iPhone certification.