The excitement level around Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference is far below that of the iPhone maker’s fall, product-heavy keynote event. But this year’s WWDC could prove to be one of the most pivotal in the company’s history.
There are a ton of anticipation around some of the things that Apple is expected to announce—including iOS 13 for their mobile devices as well as an updated macOS. And, of course, we can’t forget about WatchOS 6 and tvOS 13 that should also get some talk during the event. But our hopes are high that Apple spends a good chunk of their time in front of the spotlight talking about one particular feature buried in its iOS platform that really deserves a lot more attention than it’s been getting. And that’s HomeKit.
Behind the scenes, Apple has been slowly working to beef up its ecosystem of HomeKit-enabled products. But the program needs a lot more attention as well as an in-app and in-home experience that’s more in line with what Apple is known for: sophisticated simplicity.
On the third-party side of things, Apple is close to final approvals and all of that for making Ring a HomeKit-approved product, which has led to rumors that we could see security camera viewing right from the Home app—but that’s just the tip of the ice berg as far as requested features are concerned. The Home app and, in turn, Siri have been an afterthought—at least from the perspective of the consumer—when it comes to smart home functionality. And there may be no better example of that than the HomePod.
There’s no doubt that Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is a beast of a sound machine. But what was supposed to be the company’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers has really lagged behind. If Apple is going to get serious around their standing in the greater smart home market, they need to get back to the basics with their various products and services. As it stands, functionality is supremely limited when stacked up against a device like the Echo and Alexa.
Granted, we understand that this is due to Apple’s unwillingness to put consumers’ privacy and data at risk—a noble cause, no doubt. But it’s costing them on the innovation side of things. And, to be blunt, it sucks from an excitement standpoint. Voice control for the every day consumer is a two-horse race right now. And the world is craving a dark horse to swoop in and shake things up. It’s hard to imagine Apple being slapped with that “dark horse” moniker, but that’s where they find themselves right now in the smart home market, and WWDC 2019 this week could be their time to shine.