A New Kind of “Home Computing”
But now, that’s exactly what Apple wants to do. And what the company revealed last week shows significant progress toward that goal – to get its iDevices to communicate easily with each other, and with our homes, so that consumers receive a seamless computing experience.
Let’s start with the Silicon Valley leader’s new version of its OS X operating system for laptop and desktop computers. Dubbed “Yosemite,” the system sounds so elegant that I wanted to download it immediately – plus, its new translucent look will give Macs more of an iDevice look and feel.
Unfortunately, it won’t be available until this fall.
Yosemite makes Apple’s PCs play and work together with its mobile devices in whole new, better ways. For instance, with Yosemite’s “Handoff” feature, if you start to write a long e-mail on your iPhone and then lay it near your MacBook, the PC senses your device and prompts you to complete the e-mail on the larger screen.
To make this work, Apple is mixing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and its web storage system known as iCloud. With Yosemite, your PC will become an extension of your smartphone. If your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac, you’ll be able to use your computer’s mic and speaker to make and receive calls.
Moreover, the wireless transfer system known as “AirDrop” that’s part of the iOS mobile operating system now dovetails with the Mac – you’ll soon be able to send text, photos, and videos from your mobile devices right to your PC wirelessly.
At the same time, Apple is upgrading its mobile operating system, to be called iOS 8. The new mobile operating system includes new programs that will allow you to better control your life – and health – from an iPhone or iPad.
Just take a look at HomeKit. This is a platform that allows makers of “smart home” devices to connect their thermostats and audio controllers with iDevices. This moves Apple squarely into the burgeoning market for home automation with a simple but powerful idea: Use one device to control all the “systems” in your home.
For example, you’ll soon be able to tell the iPhone’s built-in voice assistant, Siri, you’re going to bed, and she will tell your stereo to turn itself off, the thermostat to turn itself down, and the alarm to set itself.