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:
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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.