This week, Apple furthered its investment in Internet of Things technology with the launch of their new Home app. Based on Apple’s history, this is a big vote of confidence for the mainstream success of smart homes.
First, some context. Apple originally launched a software platform called HomeKit back in 2014. HomeKit functions like an operating system (think Android, iOS, etc.) upon which hardware and software makers can build devices and applications. While the hardware finally arrived, software developers never quite got it right. So, Apple built their own.
What does Homekit do?
Under their new app, users can customize their home screen to access difference devices. They can also organize functions into “scenes.”
Scenes can work for specific times of day (like bedtime), specific situations (emergency alert) and even specific rooms of the house. The interface is slick (no sub-menus here) and you can access these features via Siri and the Control Center.
That level of integration can’t be found in product-specific software, which can involve navigating through several sub menus just to dim a light.
Once Apple is in, everyone is in
As evidenced by the iPod, iPhone and other such products, Apple is in the business of ruthlessly perfecting existing technology, and smart home apps are no exception. Furthermore, once Apple perfects a certain technology, the adoption rate tends to explode.
The advent of the iPod and iTunes ushered in the era of mainstream MP3 player usage. The iPhone is such a successful product, it is practically synonymous with the word “smart phone”.
TrustedReviews puts it best “Apple also has a history of taking things out of the realm of the enthusiast and making it user-friendly for everyday iPhone users. That’s also what’ll happen here.”
Our prediction: Fall 2016
With all that said, this fall will likely become the point that people will start caring about smart homes. As Apple finally builds an experience that is as seamless as we imagined it, users will adopt it and evangelize for it. As this happens, more manufacturers will create smart products that integrate into the HomeKit framework and app.
They will want to be where the consumer base is, and Apple’s system will make it that much easier to occupy that space. As the momentum builds on itself, we will suddenly see homes with greater integration in our daily lives. Then, just like the iPhone before it, you’ll wonder how we ever survived without smart homes.