The rumor-mill is in full swing ahead of the WWDC keynote next week and one rumor in particular is suggesting that Apple is going to enter the smart home market. A number of companies already have items such as thermostats, lighting, security systems, and weight scales which are app connected but if Apple jumps on board then we can expect tighter iOS integration with all of the polish for which Apple products are known.
The Financial Times has reported that this rumor is going to happen and that it will establish an entire ecosystem of products that will be able to connect to iOS devices via new built-in features, possibly using the rumored inclusion of NFC.
Google has also announced its intention to start developing smart home products along with its focus on the Internet of Things. While Apple doesn’t let the products of other companies force them into similar development, it certainly wouldn’t be a stretch for Apple to enter the smart home market, especially given the success of start-ups that have created similar products. Nest is an excellent example of iOS integration in the home with a very smart thermostat and fire alarms. These products are very ‘Apple-esque’ in their design and implementation and have found a niche in the market place.
The biggest hurdle for this sector of the tech world is the price, which has already shown that it is high enough to exclude many casual consumers. I have a fancy thermostat which came with my home and I have never been tempted to buy the iOS connected Nest product for several hundred dollars. I don’t believe that it would save me enough on my A/C bill to justify the cost just because it is cool. The challenge that companies face is bringing smart home tech into homes that already have suitable alternatives. It’ll have to be cool, save money, and be fun enough to capture our imagination.