It won’t be long before we start living like the Jetsons. Using voice commands and iDevices as remotes, our home appliances will soon be at our command every second of every day, all thanks to iOS. With the next showcase, Apple plans to make its foray into home automation, sources say.
This, according to people familiar with the matter cited by FT.com. These sources say, “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’.” This undoubtedly includes Siri support, allowing us to voice out any desire, like “turn on the lights.”
The plan is to take on Google and Samsung, two rivals already making serious investments in this market. Google, for example, has acquired Tony Fadell’s Nest Labs, which makes a smart thermostat for homes. Fadell has worked at Apple for a decade and is directly responsible for the iPod music players. He is regarded as the grandfather of the iPod.
The sources also said that Apple is in talks with “a select group of other device makers” to feature their smart home products in the Apple Store as “certified” appliances. These devices will most likely receive Apple’s coveted made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod license.
Angela Ahrendts, the new retail chief coming from British fashion house Burberry, will reportedly “play a key role in [Apple’s] plans for the internet of things.”
The sources offered feeble examples as to how iOS 8 would kickstart the home appliance revolution, saying only that “a home’s lights might automatically come on when the owner enters the house, using their iPhone to wirelessly signal their arrival,” according to the report. Apple is known to have actually patented such systems.
Home automation is ripe for the picking, with devices like the Nest Thermostat becoming more and more widespread. The Apple online store carries many other home appliances, such as devices that water your plants or light bulbs that come on and set a particular mood for the people in a room with a few taps on the iPhone’s display.
Apple would theoretically enable iOS integration with every one of these devices through a specialized app, one that includes categories like living room, bathroom, kitchen etc., with sub-sections involving different appliances, like water, lights, and heat. Note that this is mere speculation on our end, based on the way Apple designed the Healthbook app, another iOS 8 novelty expected to launch at the Worldwide Developers Conference next week.
At the five-day conference (June 2-6), developers from all over the world will catch a glimpse of iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 and perhaps will even be offered previews for testing on their respective Apple gadgets. As usual, the event will host more than 100 technical sessions and plenty of hands-on labs to help developers integrate the latest technologies in their apps.