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WWDC 2014 could see Apple enter smart home race

Apple is working on a new smart home platform that would enable you to control your household appliances with your iPhone.

That’s the claim being made in a new report from the Financial Times.

Apparently, Apple will use its forthcoming Worldwide Developer Conference to launch its move into the so-called “internet of things” on June 2. The new system will apparently use a person’s iPhone to activate certain household facilities.

For example, when you enter your house with your iPhone, your lights might automatically turn on. This could strengthen rumours that the iPhone 6 will contain NFC technology, though Apple’s existing iBeacon indoor positioning system could also be put to use.

Apple has apparently been speaking to a number of smart home product makers about certifying their devices to work with the new platform. These devices would be sold within Apple’s retail stores, much like it does with third party headphones and speaker docks.

Apple has been relatively late to play its hand in the smart home battle. Google purchased Nest Labs, the maker of networked thermostats and smoke alarms, back in January. Samsung, for its part, recently launched its own Smart Home range of interconnected appliances.

According to the report, one of Apple’s big attempts to differentiate its product from Google’s effort will be to emphasise its system’s privacy. Google will rely on targeted advertising in its own vision of a smart home future, which will raise questions over handing out personal information to third parties.

Naturally Apple’s WWDC plans have the habit of changing at the last minute, so we’ll probably have to wait until June 2 to find out if the company’s move into home will indeed be the focus.

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