Apple's 'Smart Home' Initiative Focused on 'Made for iPhone' Certification, Not Deep Integration
Earlier this week, a report suggested Apple has plans to unveil a new smart home initiative at WWDC. This platform would allow the iPhone to directly control lights, security systems, and other household gadgets, with Apple giving third-party device makers official approval for integrated devices.
Gigaom has some new information on how the smart home program will work, confirming that it is a fairly simple program that will certify both connected devices already on the market and upcoming devices under the existing "Made for iPhone" certification process currently used for iOS accessories like iPhone cables and gaming controllers.
The program will not include an Apple-made software interface that overrides the existing apps tied to current iOS-compatible home accessories like the Philips Hue lighting system or the Nest thermometer, and will instead focus on connecting devices via WiFi. There's also the possibility for voice control using Bluetooth.
The MFi certification will essentially be used to notify consumers about which products will integrate well both with the iPhone and with other home automation accessories, suggesting the program introduced next week will feature several home automation product manufacturers that have agreed to work with the MFi standards for quality and compatibility.
Instead of worrying about hubs and what might work with other devices, consumers can look for the MFi label and be assured that they can pull their smart home setup together -- and control it from their iOS device.
It's technically possible that the user could control some device functions from a handset or tablet without opening the app, or that the app would open automatically based on a voice command or eventually through presence detection.
Apple is expected to unveil more information on its smart home initiative on Monday, when WWDC kicks off with an opening keynote.
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i can understand when "Made for iPhone" certification is used for something that is unique to iPhone (for example something with lightning port or a phone case). Home automation devices need to use something like WiFi, BT or better yet a specialized protocol like zigbee or z-wave. If they use it, then they will work not just with iPhones but also with Android phones and with just about everything out there. Unless Apple will require the certified devices to somehow rely on Apple ID it is going to be "Made for iPhone, works with everything".