02.08.17

Apple bringing interactive “smart home” experience to stores worldwide

homekit demo home automation experience in US Apple store

Following on from the launch of its rival to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod, Apple has revealed that it will be bringing “interactive HomeKit experiences” to 46 stores around the world in its bid to dominate the entry-level smart home space.

It sometimes seems that Apple won’t be content until it dominates ever areas of the consumer electronics space as it branches out from computer technologies into the smart home market as it ramps up development of its HomeKit platform and prepares to unveil its Apple HomePod wireless speaker. Now the company has gone one step further with this plan as it looks to transform its stores into one-stop shops for all of a person’s home technology needs.

Introduced with the intention of making home automation a less fearful prospect for the majority of consumers, now (in select stores such as San Francisco, NY and 15 stores outside of the US including the UK, Germany and the UAE) would-be shoppers will be able to try controlling products like Philips Hue light bulbs and Hunter ceiling fans from an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad first-hand. They will be able to see visualisations of their actions (e.g. the blinds lowering in the living room) via a screen representing different parts of their home.

Apple hope the Siri-controlled HomePod server can serve as a hub for HomeKit-enabled devices around the home, offering control of user’s lights, air conditioning and entry to their garage, and more. The HomePod is set to hit stores in Australia, the UK and the US in December, with the broader retail space likely to increasingly target the complete “smart home” experience at the everyday consumer. Such household names have gravitas (as seen in the recent partnership between Amazon and US-based homebuilder Lennar) and the custom installation community should be keeping track, even if not fully on board with the effect the Apple's, Amazon's and Google's of this world are having on the home technology industry at large.