Apple is apparently set for a push into the home automation space centred around its iPhone, with an announcement possible as early as next week.
The Financial Times (FT), citing “people familiar with the matter”, said that the company is looking to enable the iPhone to act as a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances. An update is scheduled for its Worldwide Developer Conference, which takes place next week.
The move will enable the company to strengthen the position of the iPhone (and iPad) line by placing them at the centre of the home automation ecosystem, making it more difficult for consumers to switch to rival devices.
As part of the strategy, Apple is also set to update its Apple TV media streaming device, which could be used to control other domestic devices, the FT said.
Apple is not the only company looking to bolster its position in the home to improve the strength of its ecosystem, with Google earlier this year announcing the bumper $3.2 billion acquisition of thermostat and smoke alarm company Nest.
And operators are getting in on the action too, with US number two AT&T pushing its Digital Life connected home service.
The FT said that the iPhone maker has been in talks with home appliance makers to create products which will be certified to work with the smartphone, similar to the existing “Made for iPhone” label used for accessories, but introducing a new brand and logo.
The paper also suggested that Apple is likely to play up areas such as privacy and security, which it perceives as a key advantage of ad-funded rival Google, following concern that the Android company sees its push into the home as a way to gather more information on users in order to deliver new advertising options.
But the report also cautioned that Apple “has been known to change its plans for WWDC at the very last minute”, covering its back in case the anticipated launch does not happen.