With the fresh new announcement during WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference), Apple has introduced the new Yosemite OS for desktop and also the most advanced mobile operating system: iOS 8. Along with it, Apple is entering the Digital Health and Smart Home Industry.
Making Home a whole smarter
iOS 8 is the most advanced OS for developers in the world. That’s what Apple stated. In fact, it’s coming with a bunch of interesting new features. Especially HomeKit. Through an API available to developers, they can bring new applications into the market, enabling your iPhone to become the central hub of your smart home.
HomeKit will allow iPhone’s owners to turn their smartphone into the controlling device of all connected devices and sensors at home. Right from the palm of their hand, they will be able to easily control what will happen at home. It sounds also, that Siri will be the brain behind the scene, as iPhone’s owners will be able to give orders like “Get the light off”, and their iPhone will automatically send it over to the light smart devices, like Hue, that will turn it off.
Apple announced having partnered with a bunch of partners that are iPhone “friendly”. They are all available online on the Apple Store for immediate purchase. We featured some of them on My Smart Home already: Withings, August. The others will come in a near future.
An ambitious entry
After the personal computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad revolution, it sounds like Apple has smelled the Smart Home revolution and wants to get a first foot in it.
The Smart Home Industry is still at its beginning though. It’s a mess for homeowners who need to deal with compatibility issues between apps and devices working on multiple protocols (wifi, zigbee, bluetooth, etc). At the end of the day, it discourages customers to buy smart home solutions, if they really want to make their home smarter. Apple acknowledged it and start with building the ecosystem, a protocol that will enable devices to be plugged on and communicate to each other naturally through iPhone.
By doing so, they leverage the iPhone capabilities of communicating with devices, first in the digital age (applications and internet) and now with other physical devices. Apple brings rationality to the blurry industry out there and is, with HomeKit, bringing the pillar to make the home smarter.
However, it’s still unclear if this strategy will pay off. How to make sure every devices will follow this protocol based mainly on Wifi or bluetooth? A lot of devices out there have already been built on other protocols. It would mean that every device manufacturer need to align on it and be iPhone friendly. Moreover, the likelihood of building a central hub is still present, as it seems that the iPhone can’t fulfil this task. Mainly to be able to continuously monitor the devices connected, a task the iPhone hasn’t been built upon.
After Google’s last year acquisition of Nest, it seems Apple is taking another direction, and focus on building the smart home enabler rather than the small, beautifully designed devices. How long still?