Apple plans to launch a new smart home platform at next month's Worldwide Developer Conference that will allow iPhones and iPads to control a home's lights, security system, and other connected appliances, according to a Financial Times report.
The new "software platform," which will be unveiled at WWDC on June 2, will be built into the iOS devices, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources. As with Apple's "Made for iPhone" program, the new platform will be open to third-party device makers, allowing their gadgets to work on Apple's automation system.
One application of the new software platform cited by the newspaper was the ability to automatically turn on the lights when an iPhone paired with the system enters a building. Apple outlined its ideas for a home automation system in a patent filing last November.
The move is seen as a "big play" to challenge device giant Samsung and Google, which in February closed its $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, maker of the Learning Thermostat and the Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
As companies look for opportunities to expand smartphones' reach, home automation is seen as one of the new markets for growth. Apple has already made inroads with the automobile sector. At WWDC 2013, Apple announced plans to better integrate iOS into car dashboard screens. Apple's iBeacon location-sensing technology, which debuted late last year on devices running iOS 7, is already in use for indoor navigation, automatic ticketing, and location-relevant promotions.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the report and will update this article when we learn more.