Back in those days it was predicted we would have flying cars within a decade. Well, here we are a few decades later and I see that Aston Martin has a flying car worthy of a new James Bond, and it will be here within a decade. Uh huh. Sure. I’ve got my calendar marked.
Promises of a wonderful technologically enhanced future come and go. One that came roaring over the horizon a few years ago was the so-called smart home. Amazon and Google have gone headlong into the market with software and accessories that every home with electricity must have.
What happened? Where are all the gadgets and Jetson toys and appliances that will bring us a life of ease as we coast into a new century full of leisure time where we can bask in the glow of the information age?
Where is Apple in the smart home age?
You know that Apple doesn’t care to be first to any technology party, and the company definitely isn’t first in smart home automation, but like Amazon, Google, Samsung, and others, about all that has happened so far are a stream of PR releases. Sure, Google has Nest and a few devices like a smart smoke detector, but now we know Google spies on users and customers, and Nest isn’t a money maker.
Amazon seemed to create a whole talking speaker market for the home and gained plenty of first mover traction with Echo and Alexa, but we now know that Amazon spies on their customers, too, and most of the world’s talking speakers don’t really do much for anyone, including George Jetson. The smart home market has hit a wall. Nothing is selling in big numbers and nobody is a clear leader in any category. Except Samsung. They sell washers, dryers, refrigerators, and other home appliances so they are well positioned to help move the market forward.
Except nothing much is moving.
My neighbor installed some motorized window blinds which connects to Wi-Fi and work using a phone app. My mom has Amazon Echo with Alexa and tries to get the weather forecast with her deep Georgia accent and gets nothing in return until she turns on her school teacher voice. Never mind. The weather in Georgia isn’t worth asking about.
Siri has a similar problem with accents but at least you can be ignored or frustrated on more devices.
So, where is Apple in the smart home revolution? Waiting on the edge of the pool, like always, one toe dipped into the water, checking the temperature; while one eye scans the pool for a current, shark, or a trend worth the time and effort.
The smart home revolution isn’t here and isn’t likely to be a wave of change to match the smartphone revolution which has had an enormous impact on humankind. It takes time to change a 21st century home built in the 20th century to rival George Jetson’s abode. I trust Apple will be there but the time is not right.