It is clear that Apple has for a long time wanted to control the living room — it’s “hobby” project, the Apple TV, compete with its Remote app for iOS goes someway to showing its final intentions in this area.
However, a new report by The Wall Street Journal this week may be the first tell-tale indication that Apple doesn’t intend to stop its efforts for control with the living room.
Said to have been originally founded by Slingbox creator, Blake Krikorian, id8 Group R2 Studios Inc is a company founded in 2011 which focuses its efforts on home automation and its potential benefits moving forward.
For those unaware, “Home Automation” – (sometimes also referred to as “Domotics”) – is a phrase used to describe the existing (or future) methods which may be used to ‘automate’ the home, housework or household activity.
R2 Studios is a highly-secretive start-up which has been mostly dormant in its public activity pretty much since its founding. It’s only product available right now is an Android OS app that claims to be able to control both heating and lighting systems for Crestron touchpanel devices. This fact hasn’t prevented the company from coming onto the radar of some of the industry’s major players, however.
According to the paper this week, Apple, Google and Microsoft are said to be amongst the companies currently in acquisition talks with the firm over possibly acquiring its IP and base home automation technologies, with an agreement yet to have been reached.
Even further evidence of Apple’s interest in home automation, though, arrives via AppleInsider, who highlights alongside the paper’s report this week that Apple has also patented technology relating to concepts in this area.
Apple has also filed patent applications that hint the company is interest in home automation functionality. One filing discovered this year by AppleInsider showed how multiple devices, including Apple hardware as well as third-party devices like cable boxes, PlayStation gaming controllers and home sprinkler systems, could be connected and controlled through near-field communication technology.
Back in October, Apple signed an exclusive agreement with Phillips to begin selling its wirelessly-controlled, multicolored LED light bulbs through its bricks-and-mortar retail stores, perhaps further showing the firm’s interest in home automation.
In addition, Apple in May of this year also began stocking Tony Fadell’s intelligent, always-learning home thermostat ‘Nest’ at its many retail stores around the world. The product was later pulled from Apple’s store shelves for reasons unknown.