Apple’s Home Kit was made for Apple ecosystems in mind, with some cool features for Mac, iOS, and PadOS. The issue is that competitors such as Google and Amazon already have the market cornered with open-ended platforms. It seems that Apple’s gatekeeping behavior is starting to catch up with them in the smart home space, often overcomplicating tasks for users.
The main issue with Home Kit is Apple’s high-security standards, which is a good thing, but Apple doesn’t leave much wiggle room for third-party hardware when it comes to compatibility, with only higher-end tech working alongside Home Kit. Whilst security should always remain a priority with home networks and meshes, Apple is clearly struggling with its control issues once again.
Rather than users spending a small fortune on a Phillips Hue starter kit, home pod, and $20+ compatible Wi-Fi plugs, users can spend less than half on smart bulbs, Alexa/Google, and any Wi-Fi plug. The veil of Apple’s simple to use and consumer focus is beginning to fall as they grow too confident in their brand, meanwhile, the competition is making smart homes affordable and practical instead of a financial nightmare.
Apple also believes they have another must-have product in the subscription/Smart TV box/stick market with Apple TV 4K. Spoiler alert, they don’t. Android-based Fire Sticks and Google TV/Chromecast provide open platforms at a third of the price so users can watch whatever they want and when they want (even side loading their own apps). Apple, however, has its hardware and software on lockdown, only allowing access to apps on the App Store. There’s an argument to be made for its gaming capabilities, but this prowess is locked behind the lackluster subscription-based Apple Arcade.
According to MacRumors, Apple’s own engineers are pessimistic about Apple TV, with its strategy remaining poorly defined and lacking a coherent vision. This comes off the back of Apple discontinuing the Home Pod and gearing up to hit the smart home market with an all-in-one Apple TV/Home Pod with a screen and camera, in the same vein as Echo Show 8. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also touches on how Apple is being blown out of users living rooms with cheaper and more efficient devices and ecosystems:
“as of now, it’s hard to believe that will happen soon,” claims Gurman, “especially with Apple engineers telling me that the company doesn’t have a strong living room hardware strategy and that there isn’t much internal optimism.”
Will Apples rumored all in one smart device conquer smart homes? Probably not, but it would be nice to see Apple release its own offering that is relevant in today’s space. Have fun waiting as the hardware itself is looking at a 2023 release.