Apple has secured the expertise of Sam Jadallah, former CEO of smart lock company Otto, to head up its smart home initiatives.
Combined with Apple’s recent acquisition of voice-enabled tech company Pullstring, it’s a sure sign that Apple wants to up its game in home automation.
In addition to Otto, which made a $700 smart lock before going belly-up, Jadallah worked at Microsoft for a decade. His move to Apple does not come totally out of the blue. Around 70 percent of Otto’s early team came from Cupertino.
Due to the company’s design and simplicity, some hailed Otto as an “Apple of smart locks.” That would seem to make Jadallah a great fit in at Apple.
It remains unclear exactly what initiatives he will take on in his new role. His LinkedIn profile, which lists February 2019 as his start date with Apple, notes only that he’s working for the company’s Home division.
There are currently around half a dozen job openings in this part of Apple’s business. We’ll have to wait and see whether some of Otto’s former engineers wind up rejoining Jadallah at his new place of work.
Taking over the home
Apple introduced its HomeKit home automation platform at the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014. HomeKit links devices from third-party manufacturers into Apple’s software ecosystem. This allows iOS and Mac users to control everything from lights and thermostats to smart locks and security cams.
However, while Apple earned praise for HomeKit’s focus on security, this approach also slowed the rollout of new products. Last year, Apple switched to software authentication for HomeKit devices. As a result, CES 2019 brimmed with exciting new HomeKit products.
Can Jadallah’s hiring maintain the HomeKit momentum? We’d certainly like to think so. All we know for now is that Apple just got a new, very talented staffer on its books.