Apple is looking to carve out a slice of the nascent smart home market by developing a platform that will convert its iOS devices into controllers for lights, security systems and other domestic appliances.
According to a report from the Financial Times (FT), the platform will appear on Apple devices this year, and is likely to be revealed at WWDC next week as the company moves to take on rival technologies from competitors including Samsung and Google.
As momentum behind the Internet of Things builds, many technology firms are making a move into smart home controls and appliances.
Samsung showcased its Smart Home range that includes devices ranging from TVs through to washing machines at CES earlier in the year, while Google's purchase of Nest for $2.3bn showed its intention to move in the connected home.
According to the FT, Apple’s connected home system will make buying multiple iOS devices more compelling to customers, as each device will work in conjunction with its Apple TV system - due an upgrade this year.
Nick Dillon, senior analyst at Ovum, told V3 the move was not surprising given that many smart devices are already controlled on iOS via third-party apps.
However, given the number of smart devices from different manufacturers requiring different apps to control them, Dillon described the current state of the smart home market as a “disparate, fragmented experience”, adding: “There’s certainly a need for an improved end user experience.”
This is something Dillon believes that Apple could address by enabling devices to communicate with each other rather than just a central control: “There is an opportunity for Apple and others to smooth the [smart home] user experience. This will require integration and a common standard between different devices, making control of them smarter, rather than siloed.”
This is something Google is already looking to achieve by controlling end-to-end user experiences by developing smart devices along with the software to power them, starting with its purchase of Nest, Dillon added.
It is likely that the smart home innovations and aspirations of Apple will be a key focus at WWDC next week. V3 will be covering the conference all week so stay tuned.
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