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Apple developing smart home system

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Apple will soon enter into the evolving smart home market.

According to a report by The Financial Times, the tech giant plans to unveil systems to control home lighting, security systems and other home appliances from an iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week. The report highlights a key feature in the ability for lights to turn on when it detects an iPhone nearby, giving more support to the rumored Near Field Communication support on the next iPhone.

The move comes as Apple’s tech rivals made big pushes recently in the smart home market. Consumer electronics giant Samsung recently outlined plans for greater expansion of its smart home line last week. The company already released smart appliances such as a washer that can be controlled via smartphone as well as a touch-screen refrigerator with downloadable apps. Earlier this year, Google acquired smart home manufacturer Nest for $3.2 billion, giving the company a head start in the smart home market with already-released smart thermostats and smoke detectors.

While Apple wants to compete against companies with established smart home products, it will need to offer something different from its rivals. Google plans to collect anonymous information from Nest devices about home energy usage to develop smarter products and possibly deliver ads in the future, and Apple may take the opposite approach to attract potential customers. The report indicated that Apple will differentiate itself by focusing on privacy and security as a selling point in its smart home products.

Apple’s WWDC starts on June 2, and the company is expected to unveil smart home devices and iOS 8 during the conference. While rumors circulated about possible debuts of next-generation iPhones, Apple TVs or a debut of the long-rumored iWatch, recent reports indicate these products will not be shown off next week.

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