Report: iOS 8 will be ‘Made for iHome,’ offer universal remote functionality for smart devices

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For many of us, our iPhones are already the most-used remote controls in our entire house. But come June’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s ready to make that official. A new report says the company is planning a platform that would turn its iOS devices, including the iPhone, into universal remotes for the internet of things inside your house. Think of it as Made for iHome.

According to The Financial Times, the new platform would be built right into iOS 8, centralizing control and giving a common API for all the various smart devices in your home: the Philips Hues, the Nest thermostats and so on. This would centralize control instead of spreading it all out over multiple third-party apps.

Not only would Apple’s new remote feature work on the iPhone and iPad, but it would also incorporate the Apple TV, which is due to get updated hardware later this year. Together, these devices will allow users to do things like set their lights to come on automatically when they enter the house, or trigger the security alarm when they exit.

The Financial Times says the business model here would be similar to Apple’s Made for iPhone program, where it collects licensing fees for every device it approves. It would be similar to services like AirPlay, CarPlay and iBeacon, which likely means that the whole system runs on low-energy Bluetooth LE.

For years, the argument for a true Apple TV was so it could function as the centralized nexus point between the Internet and all the other gadgets in your house. With all talk of the Apple HDTV having died down in favor of rumors about the forthcoming iWatch, however, it appears that Cupertino knew something the rest of us didn’t: It never needed a gadget to be the centralized nexus connecting all your gadgets together, when an API it controlled (and collected payments for) could do the same thing instead.

If the Financial Times is right, we should hear more come Tim Cook’s keynote at WWDC on June 2.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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