According to a report from The Financial Times, Apple is working on a new software platform that would “turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances.” Apple’s iOS ecosystem is of course already home to an increasing number of connected products for the home like the Philips Hue WiFi connected light bulbs, the Nest thermostat and a number of iPhone controlled appliances, but the report claims that Apple will soon unveil a new central platform that will make for a more seamless experience:

Apple’s integrated system will make it easier to set up and control new “smart home” devices. For example, a home’s lights might automatically come on when the owner enters the house, using their iPhone to wirelessly signal their arrival. Such a system was outlined in an Apple patent filing, published in November last year.

It sounds a lot like the platform might be an extension of Apple’s MFi program for Apple authorized accessories, but the report claims it will carry different branding.The scheme will be similar to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” label, given to compatible headphones, speakers and other accessories, but with a new brand and logo. Apple may also provide additional checks and assurances that certified products are not vulnerable to hackers It’s unclear what type of new software, hardware and support Apple will provide to companies building smart home products for the iPhone.

The report adds that Apple is planning to unveil its new smart home platform as soon as its upcoming WWDC developer conference kicking off early next month on June 2. We previously reported that Apple was planning new hardware for the event in addition to providing details on several new features planned for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10. We also previously revealed Apple’s upcoming Healthbook health and fitness platform planned for iOS 8.

Today’s report doesn’t, however, provide much info on the technology behind the new platform but speculated Apple could rely on an NFC chip in the next iPhone rather than the Bluetooth LE technology it currently uses for CarPlay, iBeacon and other connected experiences.

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24 Responses to “Report: Apple planning iOS-controlled smart home automation platform for WWDC unveiling”

  1. cool, wonder if it’ll work with z-wave products?


    • Agreed. Best would be to work with standard BUS and KNX systems


    • John Warren says:

      Its real simple, if they do not fully support Z-Wave then it’s a non-started. I will NOT replace every Z-Wave device just to hook to the Apple eco system. Z-Wave support is MANDATORY or forget it.

      That said they should support all of the current protocols that are somewhat open for the same reason. Replacing all of your light switches just to use Apple is gong to be a non-started for 90% of the population.

      ZBee support so you can access your smart meter is also required.


  2. THAT is an area where I’d like Apple to enter STRONGLY. Very pleased.

    As they seem to put a lot of focus on “green” for their own company I’d like them to put that effort also in “our” homes.

    Just hope that they find a great amount of partners. As this is going to be key for their success (don’t want to see another “AirPlay” kind of effort)


  3. And then wearables suddenly make sense.


    • Good point. Imagine an iWatch that auto adjusts the temperature, lights, and even starts a playlist simp lying by who walks into the room. That’s the stuff of sci-fi a few years back, but it makes sense today (actually, I think Bill Gates had something like this built into his house).


      • It’s already possible with Bluetooth LE and an iPhone/iPod touch/iPad/MacBook.

        Also I don’t think that’s a good idea unless you live on your own. It’s already like going to war when trying to take control of the remote control for the TV never mind changing all that crap on its own just when someone walks into the room.


  4. rogifan says:

    Almost 70% of Apple’s WWDC sessions are TBA. No way would Apple have that many unknown sessions for just a redesign of OSX UI. I’ll bet we see something health related, something with home automation and perhaps on the hardware side we’ll get an ARM based Mac. Could be this rumored 12″ device. Rene Ritchie said last week that people he’s talked to who are in the know (or know people in the know) say Apple employees are really excited about what’s going to be announced at WWDC.

    I get this feeling Apple has been quiet the past 6-7 months because there is some big stuff coming at WWDC and in the fall.


    • We will NOT get an ARM based Mac. The ONLY time we’ll ever see an ARM based Mac is when iOS devices supersede the Mac OS. How retarded would Apple have to be to make a massively underpowered machine (orders of magnitude less powerful than even their slowest current Mac) that can’t run any OS X software? It wouldn’t even have the power to virtualise or emulate x86/64 code unless you threw in a stupidly powerful chip, which would then use more power than any current Intel chips do for a much lower performance level thus negating the entire point.

      IF they did it, they’d go all out or not bother and only when there’s a tangible performance benefit over Intel for the same power envelope and physical space the chips take up on the board.


  5. Wonder how long before Samesung sends out a press release that they’re working on exactly the same thing.


    • herb02135go says:

      Samsung has this already.
      For a while I’ve been using my tablet as a tv/cable remote control. I’ll be able to do the same with the S5 I’ll be picking up shortly.

      Thanks for mentioning Samung and letting me set you straight!


      • You can also do that with an iPhone and iPad with official apps for Samsung and LG smart TVs but that is very basic and it doesn’t have anything to do with smart homes


      • Yeah, my iPad does this too. It’s not what the article was about. Nice try though!


      • Always cute when an ignorant fan boy chooses to post a ridiculous response in response to an obvious joke. =) I control my whole house (lights, locks, alarms, A/C, etc.) using Iris (made by Lowes) on my iPhone, but that is different than what is being talked about in this article. They are talking about an integrated standard that can be adopted by electronics makers. The idea is that if I make a lamp, I can integrate the “Made for iPhone”-like technology and make it controllable via an iPhone.

        Interestingly, Samsung is probably the company best poised to do this (with their VERY large line of consumer electronics and home appliances). However, at this time, they have not pursued this path.


  6. So their rumour of an imminent Beats deal being announced fell through so they’ve moved onto something new to peddle?

    At least this one makes more sense and is an area they could genuinely bring something new to the table. The Beats deal makes more sense from a “we have deals with record companies and our CEO is influential in the movie industry) stand point, but not much beyond.


  7. First step for apple, is improve SIRI, then add other sensor to the upcoming devices.

    as example: Meanwhile you are in the car going to your home and need urgently use your macbook to do some tasks..
    Maybe you will able to say: SIRI turn ON my macbook (you’ll se a pop-up to put your macbook password) the your macbook at your home will turn ON.Then, Say (from your iPhone): “SIRI sync my iPad photos to my macbook and delete them.” and task would be done, when you arrive at your home.

    So apple need upgrade and improve comunication between devices and desktops before do anything related to the smart home-automation.
    They’ll need to be simple, you will able to do anything from your iPhone, wherever you are.


    • Victor O says:

      This is stupid. So stupid. Why would you suddenly and urgently need to sync photos … in your fucking car? Why would this be better than the syncing via iCloud that you can already do automatically? Or Dropbox? Google Drive? Why the hell do you need Siri to do it if you can do the task without having to do anything? How is it that the best example of a task you’ll need to do in a car is copying files from an iPad to a MacBook? Is this real life?


  8. I wonder if Apple will shut out any products by Google. So no Nest controls.


  9. Jeff Grayson says:

    Lots of room for improvement in home automation. Most home automation software feels like it designed for a PC years ago. Open an icon, adjust the settings, close it, move onto the next one. I’m happy with my RoboSmart LED Bulbs with iBeacons inside that automatically turn my lights on when I arrive home and off when I leave. Picked them up for about $37. Can also dim the lights and program then to operate like a security timer if I’m out or working late. I’m interested in what Apple will offer and if I can integrate my Robosmart LEDs.


  10. If these run iOS, that’d be fun to jailbreak my air conditioner.


  11. Wouldn’t trust it. These are last minute rumours and typically they used to be false.