Tech companies are still investing huge amounts of time and energy in smart-home products, as the recent Consumer Electronics Show displayed. A year ago, Apple hired a new head of home products—but it hasn’t yet resulted in a lot of visible changes to Apple’s strategy.
The biggest move so far is Apple’s joining forces with its competitors to form an alliance to encourage smart-home interoperability. That’s a good start, and I’m hopeful that Apple can begin to push HomeKit forward in 2020.
No, Apple doesn’t need to build a security camera, or smart lock, or video doorbell, or thermostat. Those ancillary products are exactly the sort of thing that third-party hardware companies are great at. What Apple provides is intelligence at the very center of the experience—and that means the home and the home network.
I and others been saying this for years. It should have been the natural extension of Jobs’ vision for the home he put forward long ago at a Macworld Expo keynote. I think it’s a huge blind spot the company is bizarrely ignoring. Something as “simple” as the Apple TV combined with a HomePod that works as a TV soundbar has been talked about and lusted over. Why won’t/hasn’t Apple developed this idea further? I agree with Snell when he says, “The elimination of AirPort wasn’t a mistake. The real mistake was not replacing it with a next-generation product that could be the hub of a home network.”