The big news from Apple, these days, seems to center on a couple of new iOS development kits, both of which have generated speculation and prognostication aplenty: HealthKit and HomeKit. The former is geared toward the development of health management and monitoring apps, presumably for use with the upcoming ‘iWatch’ product—which, as I’ve noted, isn’t going to be a watch at all, though I’m sure it’ll tell time. It’s poised to become the name in wearable, health-monitoring technology.
As for HomeKit, it’s essentially Apple’s entry into the world of home automation—a way to develop tools with which consumers can manage their smart houses from their iOS devices.
Both of these are exciting developments in their own right, but we’d be fools to think of them as wholly separate innovations. Rather, I’ll submit to you that these are just two components of a larger scheme—extensions of Apple as a lifestyle brand.
This shouldn’t come as any kind of a shock, because really, this is all in keeping with what Apple has always been about. Apple is not primarily interested in making devices; rather, Apple is primarily interested in developing solutions for your life. Just think about it: Apple has developed ways for consumers to manage many of the most important dimensions of their lives—their finances, their personal and professional schedules, their relationship—from the comfort and convenience of their iOS device.
Wouldn’t it make sense, then, that Apple might want to expand what that iOS can do, in terms of lifestyle management? Home and health are natural targets. For many Americans the home is the #1 financial investment they have in their life—so why wouldn’t they want to manage it smoothly and efficiently, with their iPad or iPhone? And health—well, we Americans are not really great at managing our health, but wouldn’t it be easier if we could do it from our phones?
Just consider the effect that an iOS-based home automation app could have in one small avenue of homeownership: Your HVAC system. What if Apple could provide a way for you to manage efficiency, comfort, and health, all by controlling your system from your mobile device? And what if that was simply part of a larger system—we’ll call it ‘iLifestyle Management,’ for now—that also enabled you to manage everything else that was important to you in your life, from the same interface?
That seems to be where things are headed. Of course, Apple isn’t actually going to be developing the HVAC systems themselves, or the other hardware components that you’ll need for full home automation and lifestyle management. There will always be a need for third-party vendors. However, those third-party vendors are going to need a common language to speak, a way in which all of these disparate devices can be united—and they’ll find it with Apple, and the new iOS ecosystem.
Apple isn’t necessarily shooting for a breakthrough innovation with any of this—and they shouldn’t have to: Apple’s already broken plenty of ground. Rather, Apple’s aiming for synthesis, a way to bring all these different pieces together into a seamless solution for the consumer. That’s its own kind of innovation, and reason enough to get excited about the thing that all these individual developments are pointing to—the coming of iLifestyle Management.