six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This week's sponsor

Become a Six Colors subscriber: Get an exclusive monthly newsletter and weekly subscriber-only podcast and support the site.

Linked by Dan Moren

Amazon and Apple’s differing smart home strategies

Stephen Nellis, writing for Reuters, compares and contrasts Apple and Amazon’s approaches to the smart home market:

To be Homekit-certified, gadget makers must include special chips to work with Apple’s system. Developers that order small volumes of the chips say they can cost an 50 cents to $2, though prices are lower for larger buyers. Apple also requires developers to buy specific WiFi and Bluetooth networking chips that cost more than competitors.

The long and short of it is that Apple’s process is slower, but in the long run produces potentially more robust and secure devices. Which certainly might be an advantage in a world full of security risks like the Mirai botnet that hit last year.

In the short term, though, Apple’s approach could lead to fewer people buying into the ecosystem—especially if devices end up being on the whole more expensive, thanks to Apple’s more rigorous standards. Right now, my experiences with HomeKit aren’t as strong as with the Amazon Echo because of the lack of broad support. (And even there, I have some weird HomeKit bugs, like an automated timer that doesn’t seem to fire reliably.)

For Apple’s part, it has the money and time to wait out the market and play that long game. It’s just a question of how long it is.