Apple, as we know, does not speculate or comment on unannounced products. But it seems to be behind many of the leaks about some major announcements it will make next week at its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco.
Apple will use the conference to announce the first products in a major Internet of Things (IoT) initiative, initially starting with simple products for the smart – or connected – home. They will centre around using iPhones and iPads to control items around the home, like lighting, air conditioning or audiovisual.
Apple is not alone – witness Google’s recent US$3.2 billion purchase of NestLabs, but its ‘walled garden’ ecosystem uniquely places it to be a major player in this space.
This sort of stuff is called home automation, and has been around for decades. But the technology has been proprietary and expensive. More recently the technology has become more mainstream, and there are now many products that use iOS or Android devices to control thing like WiFi connected light switches and the like.
But it seems Apple is set to make a major play for the space with its own ecosystem of products. Expect apps and dongles that will attach to home appliances, allowing them to be controlled by iOS devices. Imagine walking into a room and having the lights dim, or come on, just because your home automation system senses you have an iPhone in your pocket.”
“Many companies seek to ‘own’ users to then monetise their data,” says Gilad Meiri, CEO of Neura, a leader in the IoT space, anticipating Apple’s announcement. “Whether by selling devices or selling ‘hubs’ this is a race for user acquisition.
“Apple is positioned to be the point of contact between users and their devices and may very well force devices to share ownership of their users. Additionally, Apple’s business model was never about blatantly reselling user generated data (as opposed to Google) and so it can (and will) claim for better privacy treatment, which is a growing concern for IoT users.”