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Acquiring the Nest Learning Thermostat was Google’s big step into home automation

As first reported on Monday, Apple is said to be preparing a home automation system for debut at WWDC next week. While this was the first anyone had heard of any such plans, several different sources have quickly come together to give an idea of how an “Apple Smart Home” will likely function.

On Monday, as noted above, the Financial Times first reported that Apple’s new program would not consist of a group of first-party automated appliances or other devices connected to an iPhone. Instead, the program will work similarly to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” program. Essentially the only role Apple will play is to grant special branding to compliant devices.

Today, that report was corroborated by Gigaom, whose sources confirmed that Apple won’t actually be making any devices or providing a first-party software layer within iOS for controlling them, but rather just slapping a logo on the box of devices that work with the iPhone and meet certain requirements.

So the idea here is not so much an “Apple Smart Home,” but a smart home built from components by a variety of partners, all connected to your Apple device. It’s quite a different approach to the issue of automation than Google has taken with its recent acquisition of the Nest learning thermostat, but perhaps Apple will someday provide more first-party functionality baked into iOS.

The program is a first step for Apple into a new market. Much like “Siri Eyes Free” in iOS 6 served as the precursor to iOS 7.1’s CarPlay, this new certification program could be seen as a precursor to Apple’s real entry into the home automation market.

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9 Responses to “Apple’s home automation system will be less of a hub, more of a ‘made for iPhone’ program”

  1. Now that’s pretty underwhelming if true.

  2. PMZanetti says:

    Apple has to do the software control, or I don’t care at all

  3. I could see this being “Ok” if Apple released a set of standards, for both control and interface design. This frees them up from having to handle hardware and support, but gets other companies to play nice and make high quality components that will “just work” for users that don’t want to deal with a Crestron system or even Control4 or something similar. If Apple gives it their blessing, then by golly it must be something I can handle!

  4. Apple should create a service similar to IFTTT which would allow all these separate components to work together. The hub of Apple’s home automation system should be cloud based with the AppleTV set top box acting as a local fallback in case of network disruption.

    Using a dozen separate apps can get annoying and much of the cool stuff can only be done if the various systems can interoperate. Apple needs to be a system integrator NOT just an aggregator.

  5. herb02135go says:

    Wow, talk about walking back a story!

  6. Environmental control in a smart phone!

  7. Apple being a world dominating company must give a great competition to others by launching it’s home automation app. Either it is windows platform or android both will have a good competition. Windows apps are very less used as compared to android apps. So every android app maker for home automation will either transfer to apple or will have both. Every small industry (like http://www.smartautomation.in or many more) and big companies(like control4, Schneider electric etc.) will have impact of this update.

  8. Hope it works better than NEST which is often off line when needed!