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Apple isn’t giving up on the smart home, might release its own hardware

Published Oct 28th, 2019 1:45PM EDT
Apple HomeKit
Image: Arcansel / Shutterstock

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This Friday, Apple will take a dramatic first step into a new business category it’s never been a part of before now — content creation and licensing, in the form of the movies and original TV series that will comprise the library of the company’s all-new Apple TV+ streaming service.

Beyond that, meanwhile, Apple is also exploring how it can ramp up its presence in other categories far afield from the iPhone lineup that’s historically been the core of the business. In fact, a new report claims the company wants to speed up hiring for a new smart home software and devices team.

That Bloomberg report notes that the goal of the hiring is to erase a competitive deficit with Google and Amazon, which sit at the forefront of the category. According to sources, engineers are being sought to work in Apple offices in San Diego as well as its Cupertino, California corporate headquarters, where they’d focus on Apple’s HomeKit platform — hopefully, to a degree that would encourage more third-party accessory and device makers to connect their products to the HomeKit ecosystem.

Apple might even build out its own lineup of smart home products beyond the HomePod speaker (which hasn’t exactly set the smart home industry on fire since its release last year).

We’d already heard that Apple might have a smaller and less expensive version of the HomePod coming in 2020. It sounds like this new smart home team — which Bloomberg reports is led by Andreas Gal, who came into the company via Apple’s acquisition of Silk Labs — is looking into whether Apple should make its own products like door locks, lights, and home security cameras.

Apple was actually eyeing a suite of smart home accessories a few years ago but never moved forward. A home security camera is particularly interesting, since it’s expected such a device would work with an upcoming iOS 13 feature called HomeKit Secure Recording that automatically end-to-end encrypts video clips and sends them to a user’s iCloud account.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.