The Apple TV as gateway to the Smart Home

Throughout much of the Aughts, Apple had pushed the digital hub metaphor to it’s minions. In this scenario, the PC was the center of your digital universe. Your music, your photos, your movies… they all ended up on your computer (or iPod). It worked. But Apple sought to market the future and they recognized that our need to be mobile and free of the desk led us to the cloud. iCloud became the center of the digital hub and the PC got demoted to being simply another access point. A tool.

And yet… my Apple TV sits in the living room and has so much potential.

The TV, being the biggest screen in the home, puts it squarely at the center of your digital world. A gateway to consumption. But it’s also, quite literally, the center of your home. You spend most of your time in front of that tube whether you want to or not. Granted, you could make a case that the kitchen is the center of your home too, but its more of the heart. We’re talking about the brain.

The Apple TV sits there right along with your TV. Sitting on a goldmine of potential to become the brains of your entire house. The Smart Home. While this has insofar been a nerd’s fantasy or a promise of the World’s Fairs of the past, Apple is the one company poised to unify that vision. Many companies have tried to make this dream a reality, but in doing so, severe fragmentation has occurred. Trying to unify all of the myriad protocols takes an engineering degree. Basically it’s really fucking hard to pull off.

Apple could very easily come in, use the proliferation of iOS/iDevices that already exists, and along with a common standard like Wi-Fi, finally consolidate the masses. It could create its own smart home ecosystem and finally make your home the Einstein of the block. Throw in Siri and you have a house that is voice activated, proximity aware (with iBeacons), and almost turnkey in getting things set up. License the standard to appliance makers, electronics companies, device creators, etc and lets get this thing going!

Imagine watching TV and asking Siri to preheat the oven. Or coming home and having her greet you with a friendly hello, options for dinner, and a reminder to take the clothes out of the dryer because they’re done. Or lowering the temperature just by asking. Or setting the lighting in the room for love….

Apple, fill this void. Wearables are cute, but the living room, and by extension, the home, is the next great space for tech.

2 Comments

  1. Hey Greg, you nailed it! I just came to this realization after I saw my SmartThings hub next to the Apple TV. It is so obvious it hurts.

  2. Greg May 27, 2014

    Well it looks like not blogging for forever paid off. By leaving this post up for several months, Apple has apparently gotten the memo… They’re building a smart home platform. According to the Financial Times report, it would be based around the iPhone instead of a revamped Apple TV, but a smart home is a smart home. If this is true, this is a big win for futurists like myself.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2014/05/26/smart-home-platform/

Leave a Reply