Tim Cook’s Life Hints Apple’s Vision for the Home
Apple has a plan for your life, and it just so happens that its CEO Tim Cook is already living it.
During Apple’s (AAPL) earnings call on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed his company’s “ecosystem,” a place in which the company’s customers are immersed in its products wherever they go during the day. From the iPhone to the Mac to the Apple Watch to the smart home, Apple wants to be its users’ companions wherever they might be.
“Our ecosystem is broadening to more and more of the areas where people spend their time, at the gym, on the go, in the home, and on the job,” Cook said. He alluded to the Apple Watch’s fitness tracking for use at the gym and cited Apple’s in-vehicle infotainment system CarPlay as a tool for users to employ when they’re driving around town.
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Cook then turned his attention to the smart home, a buzzword for Internet-connected technologies that turn traditionally “dumb” devices, like a refrigerator or light bulbs, into “smart” devices that can communicate with each other and dedicated apps. He noted that Apple is expanding its presence in that market with help from HomeKit, a service that lets hardware makers integrate control of their products into iOS 10. Cook suggested that Apple’s expansion of compatibility with smart home products puts the company front and center of the smart home craze.
And Cook pointed to his own life to illustrate how someone living inside the Apple bubble could use its services to control his or her home.
“Now when I say good morning to Siri, my house lights come on and my coffee starts brewing,” Cook said in his prepared remarks. “When I go to the living room to relax in the evening, I use Siri to adjust the lighting and turn on the fireplace. And when I leave the house, a simple tap on my iPhone turns the lights off, adjusts the thermostat down, and locks the doors. When I return to my house in the evening, as I near my home, the house prepares itself for my arrival automatically by using a simple geofence.”
Cook’s comments came alongside a banner fiscal first quarter for Apple in which the company posted $78.4 billion in revenue—a record. Apple’s performance was boosted by growth in iPhone sales as well as improved performance for its Mac and Services division. Apple also posted revenue records for the Apple Watch.
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Talk of an Apple “ecosystem” is nothing new. Apple has long attempted to keep customers using its products by only offering certain software on its own operating systems and keeping certain features locked to its hardware users.
However, the ecosystems of old—the iPod-iTunes tie-up is one that immediately comes to mind—weren’t so broad in scope. Today, Apple’s ecosystem spans far more products and far more technologies. And Apple apparently wants to play a role in every link along that chain. As more products and services come online, Apple could broaden its reach.
Once again, Apple has proven that it’s not just a hardware company. The secret sauce, it appears, might have everything to do with getting you to live like Cook and be part of an Apple-dominated ecosystem of Apple hardware and software as well as third-party products.