Apple Overhauling HomeKit Team, Working on New Devices Other than HomePod


Apple has not managed to create the same level of impact in the smart home segment as Google and Amazon. The latter two companies have managed to make huge inroads in this market with their Google Home and Alexa-powered smart speakers and devices but Apple’s HomePod and HomeKit platform have failed to do anything similar. In a bid to turn things around, Apple has ramped up its hiring efforts in Cupertino and San Diego and is looking to revamp its smart home platform.

The new overhauled team will be led by Andreas Gal, former Mozilla CTO. Apple has already hired many engineers and managers from Amazon, Qualcomm, and other companies that are in the smart home business.

The company is seeking engineers to work in its Cupertino, California, headquarters and in San Diego as part of a group revamping Apple’s smart-home platform. The overhaul is designed to spur more outside accessory and appliance makers to connect smart-home products such as lights and garage doors with the iPhone and Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant, Siri. The team also is exploring the possibility of building new home devices beyond the HomePod speaker.

Apple had also considered making some smart home modules for opening/closing of windows, cabinets, doors, etc. but ultimately put them on hold.

With the overhaul, Apple is looking to expand its smart home platform to more devices like lights, garage doors, etc. To grow its reach, the team is also exploring options to build new home devices other than just the HomePod.

Apple’s HomePod currently has only 5% of the market share while Amazon has around 70% followed by Google with 20%. The company is far behind in the race of smart speakers when compared to Amazon and Google and has a lot of catching up to do in this regard. For this though, apart from making its smart home platform better, Apple will also need to launch a cheaper smart speaker that will provide users with easy access to Siri. Despite the HomePod price going down to $299 after a $50 price cut, it is still far too expensive when compared to offerings from Amazon and Google.

[Via Bloomberg]