There’s a good chance that Apple will announce a smart home initiative at next week’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), according to Apple Insider. While there’s no hard data about how an Apple smart home would tie in with existing products, speculation abounds when it comes to function—and fencing in users.
It’s no surprise: an announcement is absent from Apple’s official channels, but “unnamed sources” have supposedly uncovered documents showing that the iPhone, iPad, and even AppleTV could play a role in home automation. Turning the lights on when an iPhone-carrying user opens the front door or automatically tuning the television to a homeowner’s favorite channel when they enter a room are some easy examples. There are also rumors that third-party manufacturers won’t be left out of the home ecosystem and will be able to produce compatible network products using something like the current “Made for iPhone” licensing.
Much like rumors of an Apple iWatch, there’s not much to go on here but a general sense that this is something Apple already has the means to accomplish and that the market is ripe for this kind of automation—especially given recent acquisitions like Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of Nest.
‘I’m Sorry, Dave. I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That.’
In the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, super-intelligent computer HAL utters this immortal line, refusing to respond to instructions after it discovered human crew members were planning a disconnect. An Apple smart home seems to some like the first step down that same road, starting with the problem of lock-in.
As Jared Newman points out in a recent TIME article, what happens if a homeowner decides to make the switch to an Android or Windows phone but has his or her house wired for Apple products? Will the system be compatible with other vendors’ devices, or will a complete rewire be necessary? It’s also worth considering Apple’s penchant for security. Which settings in a home will be under human control, and which ones might the company label as ‘off-limits’ because it might interfere with the operation of iOS or open up the operating system to public scrutiny?
What’s your take on an Apple smart home?
a) Take my money!
b) Stay away from my electrical panel.
c) Maybe, if it really works as well as the sources predict
d) Think I’ll wait for an Android Apartment or a Microsoft Mansion
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons