As tech companies rush to capitalize on the so-called “Internet of Things,” many have taken an interest in the idea of a “smart home,” in which most appliances and devices are connected to the Web and each other.
A new rumor suggests that Apple is planning to make the iPhone into a control for the connected home. Imagine tapping a button on your screen to control your security system, or your washer. In theory, the iPhone could signal various systems within a house to activate at preset times, or shut down whenever the owner leaves the property.
According to unnamed sources speaking to the Financial Times, Apple will unveil this new iPhone platform at its Worldwide Developer Conference, scheduled to kick off next week in San Francisco. Apple reportedly plans to structure the associated developer program along the lines of its “Made for iPhone” initiative, which provides everything from technical support to product certification and testing tools.
If launched, a “smart homes” program wouldn’t be Apple’s only attempt to expand its influence to everyday objects. Apple’s CarPlay integrates iOS into automobiles’ dashboard screens, allowing drivers to do everything from dictate messages to receive turn-by-turn directions. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and other auto manufacturers are early participants in that initiative.
Apple’s biggest competitor in any “smart home” push, arguably, is Google, which recently purchased appliance-maker Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest’s sleek and ultra-connected devices include the Nest Protect ($190), which contains an embedded system-on-a-chip and sensors, and can connect with other devices via wireless. Google likely hopes that Nest will help it carve inroads into this nascent subcategory; but it could soon face serious competition from Apple.
- Apple’s CarPlay Brings iOS to Vehicles
- Is Apple Doomed?
- Apple’s Magic EarPods and the Dangers of Rumor Frenzy