Apple is teaming up with homebuilders to integrate its technology into new houses to boost its HomeKit app that works with smart home goods like internet-connected doorbells, deadbolts, and computerised window blinds.
The idea is that it’s much easier to build a new smart home from scratch rather than retrofitting an existing home.
Apple is working with companies like Lennar Corp, KB Home, and Brookfield Residential Properties to build and test these “Apple houses,” according to a report from Bloomberg, although there’s no timeline for these houses to go on sale to the public.
Model houses already built have as much as $30,000 of Apple-compatible gadgets in them. Apple doesn’t actually make the smart home goods, for example, a “smart deadbolt” is made by Schlage. Instead, Apple provides software to integrate various home automation products together.
One example of why people might want an Apple house: they can tell Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, to say, turn on the lights, or get the coffee maker started, or unlock the door even when they’re miles away.
Here’s why Apple is interested in home building: customers who live in houses fitted out with HomeKit will be less likely to switch from Apple’s ecosystem. After all, if an Android phone doens’t work with your doorbell, you might just decide to stick with an iPhone.
For home builders, they’re hoping that Apple’s coolness can help them sell properties in new subdivisions in a housing market that’s stuck in neutral.
Apple currently sells a variety of HomeKit products on its website, HomeKit is part of its MFi licensing program, which certifies products like charging cables as well.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, told Bloomberg that Apple wants “to bring home automation to the mainstream.”