Most expect Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to unveil a "smart home" strategy at next week's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Should investors be expecting the Next Big Thing, an incremental upgrade to what already exists, or something else entirely?
Host Ellen Bowman puts this question to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.
According to the Financial Times (via Computerworld), Apple will introduce a software platform that allows an iPhone to control all sorts of connected appliances, security systems, and the like. Tim says it's a blatant move to cash in on the Internet of Things while protecting its $90-plus billion smartphone franchise.
Yet investors shouldn't merely presume success, Tim cautions. "Smart home" software and appliances historically have appealed to do-it-yourselfers with extra income. Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) has done particularly well appealing to this crowd via its Iris smart home kit.
How can Apple compete? The same way it always does: by taking the complex and making it simple enough for a mass audience, Nathan says. Also, it's fair to presume that smart appliance manufacturers wouldn't mind targeting Apple's relatively high-end clientele. Striking iOS partnerships shouldn't be difficult. Frankly, it wouldn't be surprising to see Apple unveil a dozen or more during WWDC.
More broadly, Nathan says the plan reflects the reality that smartphones are a swiss army knife for everyday consumers. From communications to entertainment to productivity, it's fair to say that we're relying on our devices more than ever. Mixing in features for managing not only our lives but also our living arrangements only makes sense.
Now it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. Do you see Apple profiting from smart home technology? Why or why not? Click the video to watch as Ellen puts Nathan and Tim on the spot, and then be sure to follow us on Twitter for more segments and regular geek news updates!