Apple is apparently preparing to enter the smart home business with software that will allow iPhones and iPads to control a home’s lights, security systems, and other appliances. The new platform will be unveiled at the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 2, according to the Financial Times. Apple will also reportedly allow third-parties to produce devices to work with the smart home platform in a similar manner to its current “Made for iPhone program.”
It’s not clear yet what the full range of the platform will be, but one example given by the Financial Times is for lights to turn on automatically when someone carrying an iPhone paired with the system enters the house. Beyond that, there is also the question of whether existing devices will be able to access the platform features or whether the next model of the iPhone will be required. At least some of the questions should be cleared up when Apple shows off the system next week.
The smart home business is seen as one way for smartphone makers to expand the reach of their devices and break into a new market. Google, which produces the Android operating system that is the chief rival to Apple’s iOS, signaled its own intentions to enter the smart home business with the purchase of Nest Labs for $3.2 billion earlier this year. Outside the home, the companies are also looking to bring their mobile operating systems to cars as another avenue for growth.