Report: Apple to unveil connected home ambitions at WWDC
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will soon announce its plans to have its iPhone become a central remote control as part of a larger connected home platform, according to a report from the Financial Times.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said Apple will unveil its plans at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts June 2. The report added that Apple's connected home platform will use hardware from other device makers, in contrast to its traditional approach of keeping software and hardware platforms integrated and internal.
However, Apple has started to branch out from its vertical integration model with is CarPlay platform, which allows auto makers to connect their systems to iOS devices.
According to the report, Apple will give connected home device makers a badge confirming their compatibility with its forthcoming system, once they pass certain privacy safeguards and quality checks, just as it does for iPhone accessories.
It's unclear how the iPhone will control functions in a smart home like turning off the lights or changing the thermostat, and whether it will require a user to buy new appliances. The platform could rely on Apple's iBeacon technology, which can detect when an iPhone comes into range, as The Verge notes.
The smart home market is still largely fragmented. The AllSeen Alliance is working to develop wireless protocols that will let devices from different hardware makers communicate with each other. But most wireless players have been tentative about their embrace of the connected home. One exception is AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T), which has started testing third-party products that integrate with its Digital Life home security and automation services, though the carrier said it is soon to say when the third-party integration will be commercialized. AT&T now offers Digital Life in 81 markets.
Meanwhile, in other connected home news, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Nest unit is considering moving into the home-security market and has pondered buying connected camera-maker Dropcam, according to a report from The Information. The report, which cited unnamed sources, said that the status of any talks between Google and Dropcam isn't clear, and spokespeople for both companies did not respond to requests for comment. Dropcam makes a $150 camera that streams security footage to phones and computers.
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