Apple is now a contender in the smart home arena.
Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi said applications in the company’s new iOS 8 will let users control smart door locks, thermostats, and garage doors, for example, with a touch or swipe across your iPhone (or iPod/iPad) screen — all thanks to a new SDK called HomeKit.
Rumors have been circulating for months that Apple would build out home monitoring functions in the new iOS 8 and unveil them to the public.
“We wanted to bring some rationality to the space,” Federighi said to applause. That means working with companies like Sonos and Honeywell, among others, who already occupy the smart home space.
Unfortunately, HomeKit won’t ship until fall, and the SDK doesn’t work with a lot of currently trending smart-home devices — namely, Google-owned Nest.
Moor Insights and Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead said the space is lucrative, and it makes sense for Apple to pursue a strategy in conjunction with partners.
“It allows them to all work together, whereas before, you needed separate apps to control functionality. It’s the next generation of build-out in the smart home experience,” Moorhead said.
But Federighi spent little time onstage talking about HomeKit, switching quickly to another iOS update after he had rattled off a few of the new features for the smart home.
Smart home apps are huge. And Apple’s entry into it provides them a potentially massive new revenue stream, Moorhead said.
“This,” Moorhead said, “is the next big thing.”