Apple has been known to reject applications which duplicate some of its own core iPhone features – Mail, Safari and iTunes all exist on the device with no competing applications generally allowed to take up residence there.
This morning’s news from Sonos suggests a change in the game. For a start, Sonos has moved to embrace Apple’s device as a powerful, WiFi-enabled remote control, suggesting that company itself seeks a more holistic place for its solutions within ecosystems created by other manufacturers.
The move to produce an iPhone app could mark a sea change among manufacturers focused on creating an infrastructure for the digital home. Until now, solutions such as Sonos and the Apple devices that fill this gap have generally failed to integrate together. With Sonos and Apple now finding a way to work together, the hint is that the future of such systems will depend on a universal remote control – the iPhone, iPod touch, or some other system, should a viable one emerge.
What stands in the way of such an event is Apple’s reluctance to open up its systems to other music-based solutions developers – until now, such offerings have generally been rejected as Apple won’t allow the apps generated to take a place on the App Store.
Mark Mulligan at Jupiter Research notes the introduction of the Sonos application could mark a sea change in Cupertino, “The Sonos app has numerous overlaps and indeed it creates a new, self-contained iTunes-like environment within the device when active. So that’s a big step forward, enabling Apple to stride into the digital home on the back of other companies technology and investment.”
Is Apple preparing to open up to others for music? And just how far will it go to ensure its technologies, including iTunes, hold a central place in the future evolution of the digital home?