Apple’s long-rumored and highly anticipated “iWatch,” which many believe could reach consumers as early as next year, may also offer users advanced home automation features, according to one recent research note.
Published by analyst Brian White with Cantor Fitzgerald, the note, which reached us from MacRumors, claims that Apple’s first true foray into wearable consumer technology will be more than just an iPhone companion. Instead, White envisages a product that can offer its user home automation functions at the wrist, such as heating and lighting controls.
As an Apple supplier, our contact offered insight into the “iWatch” and described this potential new device as much more than an extension of your iPhone but as a multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home (i.e., heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc.).
Philips Hue lightbulbs and the Nest Thermostat already offer similar third-party functionality, and their companion iOS applications provide home automation features for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
If Apple was to enter into this particular arena, however, licensing agreements with product manufacturers would be required in order to produce equipment compatible with Apple’s standard (much like AirPlay and AirPrint). This could therefore slow the process down somewhat.
Clearly, Apple’s iWatch needs to one-up the competition, which so far is limited to the likes of Pebble – an impressive product – Cookoo, and others. The former, more advanced Pebble uses Bluetooth to provide iOS notifications on the product’s watch face, and in this respect it works almost like a second screen for one’s iPhone handset, upon which it is largely dependent.
Cupertino’s own smart watch, then, needs to place emphasis on “smart” functionality, and analysts have previously suggested that a move towards health and fitness – a space occupied by the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone, and the Nike+ FuelBand - could be one potential answer.
Home automation, White claims, is another. If Apple gets its iWatch right, an additional $1 billion in revenue could be added to the company’s earnings in the smart watch’s first year alone.
But with rival products – including Samsung’s recently announced (albeit poorly received) Galaxy Gear – already on the market, the clock is indeed ticking for Apple’s iWatch. Here’s hoping the forthcoming year sees Cupertino’s smart watch hit the market.
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