WWDC: Apple to enter home automation industry with iPhone and iOS 8

Apple is preparing to enter the home automation industry, with an update to iOS which will allow the iPhone and iPad to control lights, security systems and other household products.

The major iOS update will be unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco on 2 June, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The new platform for iOS would, the report claims, “turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances.” This development follows Google, which recently bought Nest, maker of smart thermostats, and Philips, which has seen success with its smart Hue lightbulbs.

Describing how the system could work, the report continues: “Apple’s integrated system will make it easier to set up and control new “smart home” devices. For example, a home’s lights might automatically come on when the owner enters the house, using their iPhone to wirelessly signal their arrival. Such a system was outlined in an Apple patent filing, published in November last year.”

Apple will let third party manufacturers create the products, but they will all carry a mark to tell consumers they have been authorised by Apple. The FT explains: “The scheme will be similar to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” label, given to compatible headphones, speakers and other accessories, but with a new brand and logo. Apple may also provide additional checks and assurances that certified products are not vulnerable to hackers.”

The iPhone maker is also widely expected to use WWDC to announces iOS 8, a new operating system for the iPhone and iPad, and an app called Healthbook, which will use a wearable device dubbed the iWatch to monitor the wearer’s walking, exercise, heart rate and much more.

All will be revealed in Apple’s opening keynote, which starts at 6pm UK time on 2 June.

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