Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.

Apple has no problem selling smartphones and watches. But sales of HomePod have been less than spectacular, and adoption of its smart home platform hasn’t been much better.

HomePod currently accounts for just 5% of the smart speaker market, whereas Google’s speakers are responsible for around 20%. Amazon’s Echo devices are in the lead with a whopping 70%.

Now Apple is playing catch-up with some big changes.

Apple makes smart tech a priority

“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,” reports Bloomberg.

The team hopes to encourage more accessory-makers to build devices that are compatible with HomeKit and Siri. It is also said to be exploring the possibility of new smart home devices.

Apple has reportedly posted 15 job listings on its website for new engineers. All of whom will work on HomeKit, smart home devices, and related software. It has also posted on third-party job boards.

Several new engineers and managers from Amazon, Qualcomm, and other companies have already made the move to Apple as part of its effort to be a bigger player in smart home tech, the report adds.

Life after iPhone

Andreas Gal, former chief technology officer at Mozilla, who joined Apple last year when the company acquired Silk Labs, is said to be leading the effort.

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly important to Apple. iPhone growth has stagnated in recent years, forcing the company to focus on other products, such as services.

HomeKit first made its debut in 2014, but it hasn’t exactly been a priority until now. HomePod has enjoyed rave reviews, but its hefty price tag means it struggles to compete against its rivals.