Google, Apple, and Amazon are three of the world’s largest tech companies, and both have a strong presence in the smart home market. However, their approach to this market differs in some important respects. After years of spending years entirely in the HomeKit camp, I’ve spent the last few weeks with some first-party Google products, and I think it’s worth asking the question: Why isn’t Apple making its own smart home products?
HomeKit Weekly is a series that focuses on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple’s smart home framework.
Google’s smart home hardware strategy centers around the Google Nest product line. These include the Google Home, Google Home Mini and Google Home Max smart speakers, as well as the Google Nest line of smart home devices such as the Nest Thermostat, Nest Cam and Nest doorbell (wired and battery powered).
Apple, on the other hand, takes a different approach to the smart home market. Apple’s only “smart home products” are the HomePod mini and Apple TV. There’s no Apple doorbell, no Apple camera, and no Apple home screen. After using some of Google’s first-party products for the past few weeks, I’ve come to understand the importance of setting the vision and providing users with a choice of premium products.
Integrations are good, products are better
If someone were to ask me what are the best products for a Google smart home, I would say the products Google makes. If someone were to ask what are the best products for a smart home built on Amazon, I’d say products like Ring, Eero, and other Amazon owned products. If someone asks what are the best products for a HomeKit home, they have a laundry list of the best sellers and products. That 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. It’s 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’ll know it’s easier to get support if you run into problems in the future.
You’ll have to do your own research with Apple about Wi-Fi systems. Then you’ll need to figure out which camera works best with HomeKit, and then research it if you want a thermostat. It is the smart home version of building your own computer.
What should Apple do?
I believe 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 brand plug adapter
- Apple brand thermostat
- Buy level and rename your lock to HomeKit lock
- HomePod with Display
- Network router system with HomePod minis as satellite connections
Building these product lines would be an excellent add-on in the Apple Store, online, and at retailers. Apple sells its own Apple Watch straps, so why not sell its own smart home accessories? Hopefully this is something that is on Apple’s radar and we may see it in the new year.
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