Could Apple's next big innovation come in the Internet of Things space - specifically the connected smart home? A recent report indicatesApple may just unveil such a platform at its upcoming WWDC event.
Areport in the Financial Times (the article is behind a pay wall) suggests that the company is planning a platform that would let you use your iPhone or iPad to control every aspect of your house, from security systems to connected appliances.
Other electronics brandslike LGand Samsung also demonstrated similar platforms at CES earlier this year, and TechCrunch points outthat this will hurt startups like SmartThings, which already offer similar services, but by standardising all the components in the smarthome, manufacturers like Apple (and LG, and Samsung) will also speed up the adoption of these technologies.
Most of the work in the "smart" home space has still been fairly rudimentary. For example - Philips has the Hue LED bulbs, which can change colour and are controlled by an iPad or iPhone.
The problem is that since these are all standalone products, they can't be integrated to suit different contexts. If the smart home is built into your phone at the most basic level, then a much greater degree of automation becomes possible.
Think about using voice commands instead of having to search out an app, then find the right controls in it; think of using your phone's physical location to determine which lights should be on and which ones should be dimmed; think of taking cues from your meeting calendar so that the home knows when you're expected back, and turns on the air conditioner according to your schedule?
According to the FT, this system would work like Apple's"Made for iPhone" program, and would support official third party software, so existing smart home hardware makers would only have to makesome software changes to find themselves in this ecosystem.
This,along with new developments in car integration with CarPlay, and rumours about wearables, show that Apple is now on the cusp of major changes, and the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference next week is going to be very interesting.