Apple joins smart home market to challenge Amazon and Google

Apple is hiring new engineers for its smart home software and hardware business estogies, foreign media said today, citing people familiar with the matter. Apple is hiring more engineers at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters and San Diego offices as part of a plan to restructure its smart home platform, the report said.

苹果加入智能家居市场竞争 挑战亚马逊和谷歌

The restructuring aims to spur more external accessories and home appliance makers to connect smart home products such as lights and garage doors to siri, the iPhone and Apple voice smart assistant. In addition, the team is exploring the possibility of creating new smart home devices beyond the HomePod smart speaker.

Apple’s plan is reportedly led by Andreas Gal, Mozilla’s former chief technology officer (CTO). Last year, when Silk Labs, its artificial intelligence start-up, was acquired by Apple, Gal joined Apple. Silk Labs develops an artificial intelligence-based platform to connect connected devices.

Since last month, Apple has posted 15 related posts on its website. This year, Apple has hired several new engineers and managers from Amazon, Qualcomm and others. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Currently, the HomePod is Apple’s only smart home device outside of Apple TV. But because of the high prices, strong dependence on Apple’s services, and the small variety of connected smart devices, it has not been widely welcomed by consumers.

With only two smart home devices, Apple lags far behind Amazon and Google in the market. Data show that in the U.S. market, Apple’s HomePod speaker has only 5% of the market share, while Amazon smart speaker market share of 70%, Google smart speaker market share of 20%.

In the global market, Apple has only 2 percent, compared with 25 percent for Amazon and 22 percent for Google, according to IDC. In addition, Apple lags far behind Roku and Amazon in the TV set-top box market.

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