With iPhones in pockets, Macs on desks, iPads in bags, and iWatches soon coming to the wrist, Apple is said to be eyeing another category for continued growth: Smart Home hardware. The Cupertino-company is said to have assembled a team to work on various hardware products for the home that deeply integrate with the existing array of Apple devices on the market…
iPad Air 2
The development of these home products could be paused at anytime, but Apple is said to be beyond the exploratory phase of development.
Sources have not yet specified what category of home devices Apple is developing, but the people did note that Apple believes the home to be an incredibly important and lucrative potential market and that the devices will see “mainstream” usage.
Apple’s introduction of HomeKit software at the recent Worldwide Developers Conference is not a coincidence as that iOS feature is said to have been developed directly with in-house hardware goals in mind. HomeKit will allow iPhone and iPad users to more easily control home appliances like lights, locks, and garage doors via apps and by voice with Siri.
A timeline on Apple rolling out hardware to integrate with HomeKit could not be learned. The Information is also reporting that Apple is developing hardware built on HomeKit software.
Apple, on a couple of occasions, has previously tried the home appliances market. Nearly a decade ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Hi-Fi stereo system. A rare flop for Apple, the speaker system failed in the market place due to high pricing and competition.
Apple also currently sells the Apple TV, but with growing competition from Google and Amazon, Apple will need to vastly improve its TV presence to remain competitive. Apple is said to be developing a revamped Apple TV for debut as soon as next year.
Apple’s approach to developing hardware from the home is yet another indicator of the company’s integrated hardware and software philosophy. Like with iTunes arriving before the iPod and the Health app arriving on iOS before the iWatch, Apple is creating a Smart Home ecosystem via its software and planting its feet in the category before introducing actual hardware.
While hardware for the home is farther down Apple’s product roadmap, this fall will see the debut of a wearable, new iPhones, and new Macs.