WWDC is just around the corner and it looks like Apple may have a few tricks up its sleeve. The Financial Times is reporting that Apple in the coming weeks will introduce a new "smart home" platform that will tie in to all types of peripheral devices, from lighting fixtures to security systems and perhaps even household appliances.
Apple’s integrated system will make it easier to set up and control new “smart home” devices. For example, a home’s lights might automatically come on when the owner enters the house, using their iPhone to wirelessly signal their arrival. Such a system was outlined in an Apple patent filing, published in November last year.
The connected-home system will give Apple customers more reasons to buy several devices in its iOS family, by using the iPhone or iPad in conjunction with its Apple TV box, an upgraded version of which is expected to be released later this year, to control other domestic devices.
The report further adds that Apple has held discussions with a number of device makers with products capable of tying into the iOS ecosystem. To that end, it's believed that Apple will run a certification program for allowable products, much in the way it runs its "Made for iPhone" program to certify compatible peripherals for iOS.
Of course, Apple isn't the only company interested in pursuing "smart home" initiatives. It wasn't all that long ago that Google acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. At the time of the acquisition, many Apple observers were disheartened as they felt Nest would have been an exciting and strategic purchase for Apple. But looking at Apple's business model from a wide lens, Apple is more concerned with enhancing its iOS ecosystem to further propel the sale of iPhones and iPads than it is with selling hardware that other companies are likely better suited to manufacture. By creating a platform in the broadest sense, Apple can attract the best peripheral makers on the planet as opposed to entering new hardware product categories itself.
WWDC will get underway on June 2 and will kick off with a keynote from Apple CEO Tim Cook. As we've written previously, don't expect any surprising new hardware announcements at WWDC, which is to say an iWatch and/or Apple TV announcement likely won't be on the agenda. What we can expect, though, is an unveiling of iOS 8, the next iteration of OS X, and of course, an official announcement regarding the rumored Apple/Beats acquisition.