Apple hired Sam Jadallah in February 2019 to lead its smart home initiatives as head of the Home Services department. Last week, he posted word of his departure on LinkedIn.
Neither Jadallah nor Apple has given a reason for the departure. After two years and nine months on the job, Jadallah wrote:
That’s a wrap with Apple. I’m so grateful for the friendships that will endure and the opportunity to shape and create new capabilities for people and homes around the world. As a corporate exec, investor and entrepreneur, it was a treat to be an entrepreneur within Apple and to create products at scale.
History at Microsoft and with smart locks
Before working at Apple, Jadallah served as a Microsoft executive for more than a decade. He also headed up a luxury smart lock company called Otto. His hiring at Apple was widely reported as a high-profile move to boost Apple’s work on its smart home system, HomeKit.
At Apple, part of his work involved digital keys and related products. Those included Apple’s recent move in iOS 15 to add keys for HomeKit-enabled locks to the Wallet app.
Seen as a major move into the home space
Back in 2019, observers saw Jadallah’s hiring as a big part of Apple’s effort to push further into the home smart space. The company was years into development of the HomeKit protocol, revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014, as well as its work on home devices like the HomePod smart speaker. Yet Apple seemed to lag behind companies like Amazon and Google.
During Jadallah’s tenure, Apple introduced new HomeKit initiatives. The company added support for Thread wireless networking, helped introduce the Matter smart home protocol, and introduced some new HomeKit features, such as HomeKit Secure Video.
What Sam Jadallah’s departure means going forward: Unclear
With so little public comment in play, Jadallah’s reason for leaving Apple (and what his future plans are) is just as unclear as what his departure will mean for Cupertino’s Home Services team. Apple’s home efforts appear to be in flux, with a refocus on the home possibly taking shape soon.
Recent reports indicate Apple’s engineering team is pessimistic about the future of Apple TV hardware, though it’s an important component in the Apple smart home ecosystem. As with the HomePod, Apple struggles to hold people’s interest in Apple TV, with so many folks going for cheaper set-top boxes from the likes of Amazon and Roku.
When the new MacBook Pro models came out, Apple grouped the TV and Home categories together on it website for the first time. The company appears to want to aim for a total living room strategy that will combine the HomePod and Apple TV into a single device for controlling smart home devices, entertainment, communication and more. That still-secret device is currently forecast to launch in 2023.