Apple is Changing its Focus from iPhones to Smart Home Tech

Apple is Changing its Focus from iPhones to Smart Home Tech

Apple Is "The Fastest-Growing Connected Device Company" in Smart Home technology

Amidst the hoopla and big expectations for this year's WWDC, there was big news in the smart home technology, shared about an hour into the event, which deserves some focus. Apple is weighing an aggressive expansion into the smart home devices market with at least four new products currently under development.

A report from Bloomberg reveals that the plans for this project are yet to be finalized, however, Apple wants to penetrate deeper into the smart home tech market, which is dominated by Amazon. Apple is preparing to dive into home automation, and the "Internet of things," with a new smart home platform that aims to make the iPhone a central hub and remote control for security systems, appliances, lighting, and other electronics in the home, according to a report this morning by the Financial Times. The company's new connected- smart home technology system would also work with the iPad and Apple TV, with an intention of automation and easy setup. Selected devices would be certified to work with the new system, similar to the existing "Made for iPhone" program.

An average house in the U.S. presently has 20.2 connected devices, according to a recent report based on an analysis of 41 million homes and 1.8 billion connected devices. In Europe, the average is 17.4, while the average Japanese house contains only 10.3 smart devices. As expected, smartphones, computers, tablets, and smart TVs make up the majority of the 1.8 billion devices, but smart speakers, connected lighting systems, and connected appliances also make up a sizable fraction.

The top growing devices for 2022 are a little different, however. Compared to 2021, the study found that smart homes had:

  • 55% more cameras
  • 43% more smart doorbells
  • 38% more home hubs
  • 25% more smart light bulbs
  • 24% more smart speakers
  • 23% more smart plugs
  • 19% more smart thermostats

Apple is rolling the loyalty index, with a shocking 39% of households in the U.S., Europe, and Japan possessing 10 or more Apple devices. The Korean tech giant Samsung ranks second, with 5% of households owning 10 or more smart devices, while Amazon is just under the 3% mark. Apple is under the limelight as the fastest-growing in the "obsessed" category, with 24% growth year-over-year in 10+ Apple device households. In 2022, Apple's household user index in the U.S., Europe, and Japan are quite impressive:

1 or more: 92% of households

5 or more: 64% of households

10 or more: 39% of households

Apple hasn't hit the mark in smart home technology either, with a confusing Home app, a stuttering smart speaker strategy, and a near-complete lack of Apple-branded smart home products that smoothly sync to provide the iconic "it just works" experience. (Where, frankly, Amazon can be seen as more progressive.) But these numbers, pushed largely by smartphones, tablets, computers, and Apple TVs, show Apple has an enormous opportunity here if it would just focus.

The biggest decrease in data use from 2021 to 2022? Fitness bikes, which have gone through a crash in the previous year, with Peloton the most obvious example. Data consumption by fitness bikes is down 23%, according to the report. Computers are also down by 7%, presumably as some home office work has shifted back to the office.

According to the report, Apple may focus on the privacy of its system as a way of making itself different from Google, which acquired smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion earlier this year. Google revealed, it sees smart home devices as a platform for delivering ads, although Nest executives have distanced themselves from that strategy.

The Cupertino company has aimed to announce the platform at the Worldwide Developer Conference next week, according to the report. Yet, the FT enclosed its report by noting that Apple "has been known to change its plans for WWDC at the very last minute."

Many companies are already in competition in home automation, but Apple has a heritage of redefining categories in a way that brings them to the cooperate market. The company, under CEO Tim Cook, is trying hard to come up with fresh hit products to prove its ability to remain relevant without co-founder Steve Jobs.

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