Apple Inc. – the Cupertino-based smartphone maker – is partnering several builders to integrate its HomeKit platform directly into homes from the start. With this, the US firm will be hoping to persuade prospective buyers into sticking with the Apple ecosystem for the long haul. Bloomberg, which looked at a four-bedroom stucco house in Alameda, California as one of many HomeKit-enabled properties of the tech giant coming to the market, was the first to report this news. David Kaiserman – the president of the technology division at construction company Lennar – walked Bloomberg through the potential merits of purchasing a smart home from the start.
Kaiserman hopes that working with the Cupertino-based company in the smart home market will produce a “halo effect” in any neighborhood, convincing potential buyers that the new smart house has a “cool” factor that all other properties nearby do not have.
Apple is partnering with makers of home products to launch furnishings that one can operate by using their technology. These include automated thermostats, locks, fans, lights, shades, security systems and app-controlled video doorbells. Apple’s smart home vision is similar to the “Target Open House” released by Target last year in San Francisco.
In the Alameda smart home, Siri responded to “Good Morning” light requests while Apple Inc. ’s new Home app ran a bath and played music from connected speakers. The $30,000 worth of connected tech was integrated into the “smart” home.
Not everyone is impressed with Apple’s work
Greg Joswiak – Apple’s vice president of product marketing – said their aim with these “so-called test buds” of Internet connected smart houses is to ultimately introduce complete home automation into a mainstream market, which otherwise could be a little tricky if users have to go out and purchase dozens of separately-sold products.
Further, Joswiak said the best time to start is at the beginning, when the construction starts. “The gamble is that pricey wireless home devices will be an easier sell when bundled into the home itself. Builders market granite countertops and brushed-nickel fixtures at thousands of models homes across the U.S. Why not video doorbells?”
Not everyone is impressed with the notion of a smart home or with Apple’s attempt to get in on the ground floor. In an interview with The Register, WigWag CEO Ed Hemphill said HomeKit “collides” with the rest of the industry. WigWag declines to work with Apple despite making an open-source hub to work with smart home and IoT devices. This is because Apple mandates customers to go through a certification program, use an Apple chip, and the components provided by their company.
Apple Inc. is also working with other building companies including Brookfield Residential Properties. However, there are no information on when the smart houses would actually go up for sale.