Apple is expanding its presence in the growing ‘internet of things’ market with a new software platform that could turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances, according to a news report.
According to the Financial Times, Apple will unveil the new platform at its annual worldwide developer conference, held in San Francisco.
The FT cites ‘one person familiar with the plans’ as saying that Apple’s new smart home platform is likely to connect multiple home appliances and functions for control through an iPhone or iPad, including signalling lights to turn themselves on in the home once your arrival is sensed through wireless signals.
The report goes on the say that Apple will emphasise the privacy protections built into its smart home system, given heightened sensitivity about technology companies’ access to personal information amid revelations about US intelligence agencies’ online surveillance programmes.
Apple considers privacy a key advantage over Google, the person said, since Google relies on targeted advertising as its main source of income.
The company has already dabbled in the Internet of Things through its CarPlay technology, in which drivers can make calls, send messages and select directions via Siri, Apple’s virtual voice automated assistant.
Apple has also made a bid for customers’ living rooms through its digital media player Apple TV, sales of which grew 80pc in 2013 to $1bn.
According to the FT, Apple has held talks with other smart home device manufacturers over partnerships with the forthcoming smart platform, according to the report.
Smart home technology would put Apple in direct competition with Samsung, Google and LG, all of whom are making advances in smart appliances and technologies.
Nest, the thermostat company recently acquired by Google for $3.2bn (£1.9bn), launched its learning thermostat in April, which aims to offer consumers up to 29pc on heating bills and removes the need to programme your boiler. It can automatically sense when a house is empty, and can also be controlled remotely via a smartphone or computer.