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appleeventlogoApple is preparing dive into home automation, and the “Internet of things,” with a new smart-home platform that aims to make the iPhone a central hub and remote control for security systems, appliances, lighting and other electronics in the home, according to a report this morning by the Financial Times.

The company’s new connected-home system would also work with the iPad and Apple TV, with a focus on automation and easy setup. Selected devices would be certified to work with the new system, similar to the existing “Made for iPhone” program.

The report says Apple may focus on the privacy of its system as a way of differentiating itself from Google, which acquired smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion earlier this year. Google says it sees smart home devices as a platform for delivering ads, although Nest executives have distanced themselves from that strategy.

The Cupertino, Calif., company is aiming to announce the platform at the Worldwide Developer Conference next week, according to the report. However, the FT hedged its report by noting that Apple “has been known to change its plans for WWDC at the very last minute.”

Many companies are already competing in home automation, but Apple has a tradition of redefining categories in a way that brings them to the mass market. The company, under CEO Tim Cook, is under pressure to come up with new hit products to prove its ability to remain relevant without co-founder Steve Jobs.

The Financial Times report can be read here, free registration required.


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