Apple looking to take over home-automation with WWDC unveilings

Next week, Apple will host its Worldwide Developers Conference and the rumors about what to expect are running rampant across the Internet. But this latest bit of info seems to fall directly inline with the conference’s agenda and doesn’t mention word of the iPhone 6.

Home automation represents the next big wave of ‘connected’ devices and Apple wants to compete in this market as well. The idea is quite simple: allow your iOS devices to control all aspects of your home - and that’s exactly what the Financial Times is reporting that Apple will announce next week.

The platform will work with third parties and allow them to certify their devices with Apple to build out a suite of connected products and services. Think of the platform much like you would of Airplay or even iBeacons; it’s simply another extension of the iOS suite of services offered by Apple.

Further, Apple is excepted to push out an updated Apple TV hardware too in the near future that will also link into the home-automation scheme, but whether or not this hardware will be announced at WWDC is not known.

Why is this important to you? Well, home automation is a huge market for Microsoft, Google (who bought Nest) and many other competitors and is sometimes referred to as part of the ‘Internet of things’. Apple’s vision is important because they have a colossal, well funded hammer that can typically break into any market. If Apple is able to successfully build out the platform and prove its worth, it could be the next billion-dollar segment for the company.

Next week, Apple is also expected to unveil the next iteration of iOS and OS X as well. Both platforms have traditionally seen new updates announced at the June conference with the final builds being pushed out to users later in the Summer for OS X and early fall for iOS when the next generation iPhone is typically released. 

Source: Financial Times

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The simple truth is that Apple do well in products that are benign. It's hard to hurt or kill someone with a mobile phone, tablet or MP3 player. But when you get into home automation or Internet of Things the rules change. We're now dealing with concepts like electricity, gas, automobiles, kitchen appliances and lots of other devices that can inflict harm on people and especially children. Apple has consistently avoided the idea of secure computing and, as any hacker can tell you, their software is fairly trivial to hack. Not as trivial as Android, but that's another story.

So, you may ask, why don't hackers hack into Apple devices? Well, they do. Regularly. But what are they going to steal from Apple owners? Their tunes? Then again, look at what's happening in Australia right now.

Apple can't write secure software. They have no place in the home. PTOOF!

This is a great idea by Apple, the idea of controlling home appliances with my iPhone and iPad. Looking forward to see what they come up with.

my only two problems with home automation.....

1) Standardization, we need ONE standard for everything.. addressable switches / dimmers, addressable outlets, a standardized reporting system which they can report back their status so you can have stuff like garage door openers say I'm open, I'm closed, switches say I'm on, I'm on at 50% etc... right now we have how many, X10, Zigbee, Insteon, etc. Make one so I only have to install one automated switch ever.

2) Power consumption. these systems do take energy to sit idle. It needs to be absolutely minimal. Sure it will never be the same as a physical on / off switch which only provides a small amount of resistance when on. These need to be running in the milli-watt range. I don't want my house being idle using watts of electric listening for commands.

I'd love to automate all my exterior lights, irrigation / sprinklers, etc all into one system, and have it actually listen to stuff like light sensors so it can say hey it's dusk out, start turning on the exterior lights little by little until full at full dark, then run at full for X hours then turn certain lights off after X hours... I'd love to be able to script stuff like that...

neufuse said,
so you can have stuff like garage door openers say I'm open, I'm closed, switches say I'm on, I'm on at 50% etc... right now we have how many, X10, Zigbee, Insteon, etc. Make one so I only have to install one automated switch ever.

You can. It's called a MicasaVerde Its a multi standard controller it does Zwave, intsteon, x10, zigbee etc and does everything you. All built upon open source so if something is missing you can write something.

neufuse said,
I'd love to automate all my exterior lights, irrigation / sprinklers, etc all into one system, and have it actually listen to stuff like light sensors so it can say hey it's dusk out, start turning on the exterior lights little by little until full at full dark, then run at full for X hours then turn certain lights off after X hours... I'd love to be able to script stuff like that...

Again you can Micasaverde has an entire scripting language where the limit is only what you can think of. I unlock my dead bolt it turns on the hall lights waits 2 minutes and locks the door behind you.

I have a bed time event double checks all my lights makes sure they're off my thermostat is set to a comfortable sleeping temp. and double checks all the dead bolts to make sure they're secure.

I have a distress pin if something was really wrong my wife can enter the distress code into the lock and everything behaves normally but alerts me something is wrong. I can add and revoke pins to the house. If I had a cleaning lady I could have her pin only enabled between 9am and noon on tuesdays and have email me upon her arrival so I can make sure she's not bagging off.

Coming home from a vacation I want to make sure the house is warm/cool as I had the thermostat running on an unoccupied program while I was gone. While on vacation cycle the lights etc to give the house a lived in feel. Turn on the AC if the humidity gets too high to prevent mold. Interface with IP camera's see who's at the front door. It's all possible you just have to script it some of my code fragments are as liitle as 3-5 lines of code once you have some basic fragments you can tie 2,3,4 together and have a fairly complex workflow. Sprinklers? Absolutely you can get a prebuilt switch they're a bit expensive or you could build something with a ball valve and a solenoid and a zwave relay.

I do all of this from my BlackBerry Z10/Playbook Using HomeBuddy its an Android app but works perfect on my BlackBerry

berserko said,

You can. It's called a MicasaVerde Its a multi standard controller it does Zwave, intsteon, x10, zigbee etc and does everything you. All built upon open source so if something is missing you can write something.

Again you can Micasaverde has an entire scripting language where the limit is only what you can think of. I unlock my dead bolt it turns on the hall lights waits 2 minutes and locks the door behind you.

I have a bed time event double checks all my lights makes sure they're off my thermostat is set to a comfortable sleeping temp. and double checks all the dead bolts to make sure they're secure.

I have a distress pin if something was really wrong my wife can enter the distress code into the lock and everything behaves normally but alerts me something is wrong. I can add and revoke pins to the house. If I had a cleaning lady I could have her pin only enabled between 9am and noon on tuesdays and have email me upon her arrival so I can make sure she's not bagging off.

Coming home from a vacation I want to make sure the house is warm/cool as I had the thermostat running on an unoccupied program while I was gone. While on vacation cycle the lights etc to give the house a lived in feel. Turn on the AC if the humidity gets too high to prevent mold. Interface with IP camera's see who's at the front door. It's all possible you just have to script it some of my code fragments are as liitle as 3-5 lines of code once you have some basic fragments you can tie 2,3,4 together and have a fairly complex workflow. Sprinklers? Absolutely you can get a prebuilt switch they're a bit expensive or you could build something with a ball valve and a solenoid and a zwave relay.

I do all of this from my BlackBerry Z10/Playbook Using HomeBuddy its an Android app but works perfect on my BlackBerry

I think you missed my point, the devices are not standardized across the board yet.. we have too many standards.. sure we can make controllers to control all the standards, but there should be a single standard.

neufuse said,

I think you missed my point, the devices are not standardized across the board yet.. we have too many standards.. sure we can make controllers to control all the standards, but there should be a single standard.

But after you have more than one standard you can never go back. Millions of people have various devices in their houses already no one is going to sink their investment in some cases several thousands of dollars the best you can hope for is a device that bridges the various standards and makes it as transparent as possible.

Gergel7077 said,
And I bet you still need iTunes to make the damn thing work. NO THANKS!!!
At least not from Apple.

We get it, you hate iTunes. You made the same comments in several topics already. Get over it.

stevan said,

We get it, you hate iTunes. You made the same comments in several topics already. Get over it.


Hey dude, there's no need to be rude. Why don't you get over yourself?

And yes I do hate iTunes. It's Apples way of trapping you into their ecosystem. I'm not saying iTunes is required in this instance, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. I for one like having freedom. Maybe you don't but then again, that's your problem to deal with.

Gergel7077 said,

Hey dude, there's no need to be rude. Why don't you get over yourself?

And yes I do hate iTunes. It's Apples way of trapping you into their ecosystem. I'm not saying iTunes is required in this instance, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. I for one like having freedom. Maybe you don't but then again, that's your problem to deal with.

I just really don't understand how you would find a way to bash itunes when the article is on a totally different spectrum. My mind is boggled!

Gergel7077 said,

Hey dude, there's no need to be rude. Why don't you get over yourself?

And yes I do hate iTunes. It's Apples way of trapping you into their ecosystem. I'm not saying iTunes is required in this instance, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. I for one like having freedom. Maybe you don't but then again, that's your problem to deal with.

No one is trapping anyone, anywhere. That argument is long gone. I merely stated that you should y bash something over and over, and out of contexts. Thanks for confirming it.

First of all, I was making a joke about iTunes. I never said it was going to be a part of this. I guess I should've put an LOL in there to keep you guys at ease.

Second, maybe you guys should loosen up a bit because you both seem a little uptight about defending iTunes.

Geese, take a joke and relax guys.

Gergel7077 said,
First of all, I was making a joke about iTunes. I never said it was going to be a part of this. I guess I should've put an LOL in there to keep you guys at ease.

Second, maybe you guys should loosen up a bit because you both seem a little uptight about defending iTunes.

Geese, take a joke and relax guys.

You brought up iTunes in two other Apple related posts and bashed it as well. Now you're saying it's a joke even though you admitted you hate iTunes.

Just calm down and vent elsewhere.

stevan said,

No one is trapping anyone, anywhere. That argument is long gone. I merely stated that you should y bash something over and over, and out of contexts. Thanks for confirming it.


That so called confirmation is in your own mind my friend. So why is it bashing iTunes to state that I wouldn't want to use it? It is my personal opinion as you have your own. The difference is that I don't go around getting all bent out of shape about it like you do. The issue here has more to do with you taking something so personally that you feel it's bashing something (in this case iTunes). Go ahead and use iTunes. I really don't care what you use. Just do not tell me my opinion is wrong just because you don't agree with it. You can disagree all you want but you don't have the right to be rude when someone doesn't agree with you.

Gergel7077 said,

That so called confirmation is in your own mind my friend. So why is it bashing iTunes to state that I wouldn't want to use it? It is my personal opinion as you have your own. The difference is that I don't go around getting all bent out of shape about it like you do. The issue here has more to do with you taking something so personally that you feel it's bashing something (in this case iTunes). Go ahead and use iTunes. I really don't care what you use. Just do not tell me my opinion is wrong just because you don't agree with it. You can disagree all you want but you don't have the right to be rude when someone doesn't agree with you.

I could bring up iTunes a million times over. SO WHAT? It's still my opinion and what you are trying to do is to try to shut me up because you don't agree. If I feel the need to state I don't like iTunes, you aren't going to stop me. Get that straight!!!

iTunes might be the worst software ever created. Apple should get sued for forcing people who buy their products to use it, its amazing that they still are allowed to couple their devices with iTunes, and giving users no other option. While Microsoft got sued for shipping IE with windows which you always have had other alternatives for.

Wall-swe said,
iTunes might be the worst software ever created. Apple should get sued for forcing people who buy their products to use it, its amazing that they still are allowed to couple their devices with iTunes, and giving users no other option. While Microsoft got sued for shipping IE with windows which you always have had other alternatives for.

Lots of iTunes alternatives. You should look them up.

stevan said,

Lots of iTunes alternatives. You should look them up.

Please tell me about these alternatives. Are you implying that it doesn't just work?

Wall-swe said,

Please tell me about these alternatives. Are you implying that it doesn't just work?

No, I'm implying that if you don't like iTunes, you should look up some of the available alternatives.

stevan said,

No, I'm implying that if you don't like iTunes, you should look up some of the available alternatives.


Why don't you tell what alternatives there are to iTunes?

Wall-swe said,
iTunes might be the worst software ever created. Apple should get sued for forcing people who buy their products to use it, its amazing that they still are allowed to couple their devices with iTunes, and giving users no other option. While Microsoft got sued for shipping IE with windows which you always have had other alternatives for.
Works fine on my MacBooks. ;-)

JHBrown said,
Works fine on my MacBooks. ;-)

Works perfectly on my netbook. But I'm not a fan of it, always wanted something less cluttered.

stevan said,

Works perfectly on my netbook. But I'm not a fan of it, always wanted something less cluttered.

Yeah, I don't use it on my Windows machines.

Wall-swe said,
iTunes might be the worst software ever created. .

man, imagine they made iTunes the default program to control these devices.
That's like dangling the carrot, but then beating you unconscious with a stick when you reach for it.

/puke!!!

I have it set up with IMAP at the moment. Unfortunately it's nothing like as good as connecting with EAS on iOS or in Outlook 2013 on Windows. There are long unpredictable delays in receiving e-mails that don't occur with EAS.

There are a few third party tools like TouchDown that can do it but they force the use of their own tools for Contacts, Calendar etc which aren't as nice as Apple's.

I'm hoping it gets added to OS X but if not (I think there are licensing issues) I'm holding out the hope Microsoft add it in Outlook 2014 for Mac. I'll still have to use it instead of Apple's tools but I expect better results from a Microsoft product. It will also mean migrating my calendaring etc back from iCloud to Outlook.com.

The platform will work with third parties and allow them to certify their devices with Apple to build out a suite of connected products and services.

So, I guess we're not talking about an open standard here.

I'm not buying an iHouse, that's for sure.

I wouldn't buy a house unless it was built with open standards for the home automation systems.

Home automation will become more mainstream in the future. I'm glad that big companies are getting more involved.

This will be a big hit amongst elderly or those who simply want to turn things on and off without getting up. Nest is a great example of how home automation can help people save money on bills.

stevan said,
Home automation will become more mainstream in the future. I'm glad that big companies are getting more involved.

This will be a big hit amongst elderly or those who simply want to turn things on and off without getting up. Nest is a great example of how home automation can help people save money on bills.


They better get up and keep moving.

Nogib said,
Home automation is pointless.

Do you wash your clothing on a wood slab? Domotized houses are, potentially, a by far bigger market than " a computer in every house".

I must be getting old because I'm not into the "home automation" craze. I don't feel like I need every light, power outlet, alarm, whatever to be connected. I don't want to be "friend" with my Luxo Lamp...!

I've built a small home-automation system myself using Lightwave RF, a backend SQL database and a fairly simple PHP script.

The result is that I can adjust the lights from my desk, or turn on my light before getting out of bed. I can also, when away from home, turn the lights on and off at regular intervals. I can also set pre-defined moods. So my movie mood turns all lights off, and puts the subwoofer on. Whereas the "night tv" mode turns off all lights other than the ones behind my TV, which it turns off, and it turns the subwoofer off if it's on. It's something that, once you've got into the habit of using, it's very difficult to live without.

It would be easier for old people who can't walk or barely walk... for example, they sit down on chair and realize the light isn't on because they can not see the book, they go like 'damn' then they don't feel like to get up... and they have no one to call to get some help. that's where home automation comes in. There are voice command system as well which you can control your home via your voice commands. Such as 'Fireplace on' ... 'Lights on' etc.

Nik L said,
I believe more people care about home automation than your opinion, so there ya go!

And that still doesn't mean that there are enough people in toto caring about this that it's worth releasing a product. So there. ;)

excalpius said,

And that still doesn't mean that there are enough people in toto caring about this that it's worth releasing a product. So there. ;)

If several giant corporations are looking at this, Google buying Nest, then I'd say you wrong. I think guys at Apple, Microsoft and other corporations looking into home automation are smarter than you. No offense.

GarakObama said,
It's a luxury item. It will stay that way until electricity and technology become free.

So were refrigerators, tv sets, cell phones etc., etc. when they appeared. Oh, di I mention automobiles?......

Because armchair pundits on a tech news site are better judges of future tech investment than Apple and Microsoft. Sorry, how big is your house... My bad, your parents house?

Old? I guess that depends on what you classify as old. I'm 51 and I'm driving HARD to automate everything in my house. I WANT the "Jarvis" experience when I walk in my home. I want Cortana to respond to me when I want lights changed, my security system status changed, my temperature changed. I'm already enjoying the fact that Cortana is working so well on my Windows Phone, and loving the voice control I have with the Xbox One. But I want MORE. I want Microsoft to get serious about this. I've already chatted a few times with Vivint about working with Microsoft to get their system capable of working Xbox One and Microsoft's ecosystem. They are interested, but non-committal.

Can we converse and not be nasty to each other? :ermm:

Anyway, I'm not all about home automation myself, and I think the reason others may not be either is because it hasn't been presented to us in a form that makes everyone see all the conveniences (and security) it can bring. Apple has a history of taking good ideas and presenting them in a much more friendly easier to grasp concept.

If they want to get things moving with home automation, then I'd say let them. As it stands, we have companies like Belkin who can't get their damn products off the shelf. (source: I have to clean dust off these home automation products that aren't selling...)

stevan said,
If several giant corporations are looking at this... I'd say you wrong.

You're right, because wearables are taking off massively!

ZipZapRap said,

You're right, because wearables are taking off massively!

I know. The ammount of positive feedback Peeble got and the relative success, although still early, of Samsungs gear speak for itself. If Microsoft and Apple enter the game it will change the market even more.

Then again the watch market in total is pretty small so you can't measure success on the same level as smartphones or tablets.