Apple rumoured to be close to unveiling Jetson-style home automation platform

 
Harriet Green
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The Jetson family out and about in Orbit City (Source: Getty)

Remember the Jetsons? Their home was filled with a variety of push-button, space age, automated conveniences.

Fifty years on and the fantasy could soon be another step closer, as Apple takes its biggest stride yet into the "internet of things". According to the FT, the electronics titan is preparing a new software platform that’d turn the iPhone into a remote control for household appliances.

Part of its foray into the voguish internet of things marketplace will see Apple taking on competitors like Google and Samsung, say the paper's sources.

The Worldwide Developer Conference on 2 June in San Francisco will see Apple reveal the plans, they say, adding fuel to the view held by some in Silicon Valley that home automation is the next technology rubicon to be crossed.

Rivals are already making headway. Back In January, Google spent $3.2bn on Nest Labs, which makes internet-connected thermostats and smoke alarms. Samsung’s recently unveiled its Smart Home fridges, washing machines and TVs, which can be controlled via its smartphones and watches.

Meanwhile, a system for automatic home lighting was described in a patent filing from Apple last November. An individual would use their iPhone to wirelessly signal their entrance into a building.

The company's already released gizmos that signal interest in maximising virtual structures. It recently launched iBeacon, an indoor positioning system to connect users to location and context-relevant items, deals and information, and CarPlay, the voice/touch-controlled radio. And it's already got its “made for iPhone” label, which can be found on compatible accessories - headphones, speakers and so on.

Apple's prime position will no doubt make the expected announcement next week an exciting one for investors.