With Apple said to be getting into the “Smart Home” business arena, you almost have to give profuse thanks that Google isn’t the only company in existence doing the same thing. For a while, it seemed Google was heading toward complete domination of perhaps someday wiring our homes with devices they controlled. Google’s acquisition of Nest earlier this year seemed to show an encroachment of Internet-connected devices in our homes where everything we use could potentially be scrutinized or compromised.
What made this all the more bothersome is that Google recently sent a filing to the SEC with intention of placing ads on all wireless devices they control in the future. Recently, I wrote a warning tale piece about America looking alarmingly like “Minority Report” if the visions of a Google future come true. While perhaps Google would argue against such a thing being all that invasive, you already have clues based on the invasiveness of ads on every website you visit lately. With some worse than others, even the top media sites bombard you with far too many video and forced pop-up ads to a point where you almost want to leave rather than bother.
Imagining that on all our connected devices in the home (and everywhere we go in public) seems almost impossible to bear. If perhaps we’d get used to it, you have to wonder if Apple will be the remedy to this to counteract with Google. One thing we can always count on Apple doing: They take great pains in simplifying things rather than trying to make anything look cluttered.
Controlling Our Homes With an iPhone
When the rumoring started about Apple getting into the business of creating smart devices in our homes, the idea suddenly sounded much more attractive when it was said the iPhone would be the remote control. Home security systems already have features where you can control your settings on your smartphone and even tune in to your security cameras while you’re sitting on a jet heading to a vacation destination. However, the idea of controlling everything else on your iPhone is one that could end up selling more people on Apple providing this technology.
No doubt Google would enable smartphone control on any smart home device they controlled, though it might require individual passwords and accounts in order to access each one. The iPhone connection gives the classic Apple philosophy of having all their products connect in a seamless way so it merely involves the simplest of actions. Plus, since most of their display screens and devices are known for their simplified designs, you also have to imagine a clean display without an abundance of ads.
Would Apple really offer a chance at having smart devices in our homes that wouldn’t be bombarded with ads? It’s probably going to depend on how financially sound Apple stays in the future in their post-Steve Jobs era. If they start losing money, they may have to turn to sponsors in order to make revenue off their smart devices. Google already realizes the potential for revenue in their devices, even if they may not need the money. Nevertheless, they’re always finding ways to help businesses through a process of technological symbiosis.
Apple, conversely, seems intent on being as independent as possible. For smart home devices, they may become the alternative equivalent to what we won’t have once Comcast merges with Time-Warner in the Internet-cable arena. The world will also end if Apple and Google ever joined forces for the biggest merger the world has ever seen.
The important thing is that once smart home devices become mainstream purchases in our homes, we have multiple alternatives to choose from. As we have with Amazon’s Kindles in the last couple of years, we’ll likely have one alternative with ads (likely to save us money), and another alternative without. Since heating bills and other appliances aren’t likely to get any cheaper, most people may end up choosing the ad-sponsored devices from Google while forcing ourselves to endure ads in our daily lives. On the Apple side (if they stay away from ads), we’d likely enjoy their usual high quality, only if we’re willing to pay a slightly higher price.