Sunday, July 13, 2014

Apple to introduce iBeacon HomeKit Hardware for Consumers called "Apple iBeacon"

On July 12, Apple submitted an FCC filing outlining Apple's first dedicated iBeacon-compatible beacon hardware for approval for a new Smart Home product launch later this year based on its iBeacon and HomeKit technologies.

The device is labeled "Apple iBeacon;" Too bad there is already a product called "iHome" on the market (see here) as iHome would be a suitable name for this solution.

Apple already said they worked with a number of manufactures, including large names like Cree and Haier, to create the Smart Home HomeKit ecosystem. HomeKit is a new framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in a user's home. Among the supported devices are smart locks, lights, cameras, doors, plugs, switches, etc. Aside from dedicated hardware, Apple's iBeacon platform can turn any capable iOS device into a temporarily discoverable beacon.

We don't think Apple is launching its own iBeacon hardware to compete with the likes of Gimbal (or Estimote, etc) which Apple is already using in its own Retail Stores. In addition, these "dumb" iBeacon devices are becoming commoditized and already available in the market for low cost, hence, Apple would not make any money on this piece of hardware. We think this Apple iBeacon device will be "smart" and act as a centralized control hub for the Home.  Imagine arriving at your home and everything gets triggered by detecting your iPhone or iWatch, from your outside lights to garage door, to your door locks and lights inside your home; all enabled by iBeacon proximity services.