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Is Apple about to launch a smarthome system?

Paddy Baker 2 June 2014
Is Apple about to launch a smarthome system?

UPDATE: Click here to read what Apple actually announced…

Rumours of an Apple-based smarthome system have been circulating since last Monday, when the UK’s Financial Times reported that this would be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which starts today.

The FT report said: “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.”

Initially, some commentators suggested that this would be a whole new Apple-based smarthome platform with a central controller; an idea that was broadly welcomed by commentators, except for those who thought that consumers might be reluctant to invest if it locked them into Apple’s infrastructure.

Later reports indicated that the Cupertino giant is planning something more modest: an extension to its MFi programme (previous Made For iPod/iPhone/iPad), by which third-party products carrying the MFi label will be capable of being controlled by an iOS device. So consumers would be able to put together their own home automation set-up from various third-party providers, knowing that they could control them all from their iDevice.

All will doubtless be revealed this week. In the meantime, let’s not forget that an iOS-based home automation system already exists: the Savant Systems product line is based around the Apple operating system and uses an Apple Mac mini as the host controller.

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