HomeKit Weekly: Why 2023 is the time for Apple to release its own smart home products

Google, Apple and Amazon are three of the largest technology companies in the world, and both have a strong presence in the smart home market. However, their views on this market differ in some important ways. After spending years squarely in the HomeKit camp, I’ve spent the last few weeks with some first-party products from Google, and I think it’s worth asking the question: Why doesn’t Apple make its own smart home products?

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and all things Apple’s smart home framework.

Google’s smart home hardware strategy is centered around the Google Nest products. These include the Google Home, Google Home Mini and Google Home Max smart speakers, as well as the Google Nest range of smart home devices, such as the Nest Thermostat, Nest Cam and Nest doorbell (with cable and battery).

Apple, on the other hand, has a different approach to the smart home market. Apple’s only “smart home products” are the HomePod mini and Apple TV. There is no Apple doorbell, no Apple cameras, and no Apple home screen. After using a few first-party products from Google over the past few weeks, it has shown me the importance of setting the vision and giving users premium product options.

Integrations are good, products are better

If someone were to ask me, what are the best products for a smart home from Google, I would say the products that Google makes. If someone were to ask what are the best products for a smart home built on Amazon, I would say products like Ring, Eero and other products owned by Amazon. If anyone were to ask what are the best products for a HomeKit home, there is a laundry list of the best vendors and products. This reality is good in some ways because Apple has courted some great vendors, and technologies like Matter are breaking down barriers to make more products work in more places. There’s something easy for customers to know that I love Google products, so I’ll use a Google thermostat or a Google camera. If you use Google Nest Wi-Fi and Nest cameras, you know you’ll have an easier time getting support in the future if you run into problems.

With Apple, you need to do your own research on Wi-Fi systems. Then you need to figure out which camera works best with HomeKit, and then if you want a thermostat you need to look into that. It’s the smart home version of building your own computer.

What should Apple do?

I think Apple should launch a handful of products:

  • Apple-branded indoor camera designed for HomeKit Secure Video
  • Apple-branded outdoor camera designed for HomeKit Secure Video
  • Apple branded outlet adapter
  • Apple branded thermostat
  • Buy Level and change the name of the lock to the HomeKit lock
  • HomePod with display
  • Mesh router system with HomePod minis as satellite connections

Expanding these product lines would be a perfect upsell in the Apple Store, online and in retailers. Apple sells its own Apple Watch bands, so why not its own smart home accessories? Hopefully this is something on Apple’s radar, and we can see it in the new year.

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