By Todd Bernhard on Tue, 05/27/2014
Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is less than a week away, and while most of the anticipation is around the rumored Beats acquisition, Apple may have "one more thing" to surprise us with. Apple TV is due for an update; and rather than focus just on entertainment, according to the Financial Times via MacRumors, it looks like Apple is working on a Smart Home platform, and the Apple TV could be one component of that. TV-based competitors like Time Warner offer "Intelligent Home" that lets customers control smart devices such as lights, thermostats, and webcams from apps. Apple already has a section on its online store labeled "Connected Home."
Apple's largest competitor, Google, purchased Nest for $3.2 billion, ironically the same dollar amount Apple is rumored to be paying for Beats. Nest makes intelligent (and attractive) smart home appliances like their thermostat and more recently their Protect smoke alarm. The Protect is on hold while they work on an issue that demonstrates the law of unintended consequences. Users can wave their arms to silence the Protect but apparently such arm motions could prevent it from making an alert in the first place. This demonstrates how important it is to create these smart devices properly. It's one thing if your lighting doesn't turn on or turns off at the wrong time. Imagine a smart door lock that could lock you out or let the wrong people in.
This explains why Apple is likely to create a certification program, similar to "Made for iPhone" which lets customers know that Apple has verified the vendor's product. This is another reason why WWDC would be the right time to launch such a solution, as Apple will need to provide a whole new level of training to software and hardware developers.