Apple is getting serious about securing a spot in the home technology space. According to a recent report from CNBC, the company has just tapped Sam Jadallah, an ex-Microsoft executive and former CEO of a smart lock company to improve its home initiatives.
Apple currently has a host of products geared toward turning a regular house into a smart home, including HomeKit, which is the company’s software used to tie together various third-party products. By using HomeKit with compatible third-party smart home products, like bulbs and smart plugs, users are able to control different aspects of their home via their smartphones. Apple has also introduced its own smart speaker, the HomePod, with voice recognition and Siri-functionality which gives users the power to control their home using voice commands.
Despite Apple’s efforts though, the company’s HomePod still falls behind its competitors, including Google’s Google Home and Amazon’s Echo.
“Hiring Jadallah is the latest signal that Apple plans to get serious about its own efforts in the home. Recently, the company acquired a start-up called Pullstring, a start-up that specializes in voice-enabled toys. That purchase could help the smartphone maker become the center of a connected living room,” the report stated.
When contacted by CNBC, neither Apple, nor Jadallah offered to comment on the hire, but Jadallah has since updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect his new role with the tech giant.
CNBC reporter Christina Farr noticed Jadallah’s update and took to Twitter to post a screenshot. Jadallah’s profile now reads “Working on Home at Apple,” according to the screenshot.
The report from CNBC provided a bit of background on Jadallah. The new Apple employee previously ran a smart lock start-up called Otto, which manufactured and sold $700 luxury locks. The company was backed by venture firm Greylock. Jadallah was forced to shut down Otto just four months after the official launch of its smart lock. Jadallah also served as an exec at Microsoft for more than a decade.
Apple is also expected to improve its HomePod, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The company is rumored to be working on an updated version of the smart speaker, HomePod 2, which may feature Face ID and “hand gestures and other three-dimensional gesture input.” This could mean users will be able to control the HomePod by waving or clapping their hands.
These new features could boost the sales of Apple’s smart speaker, as its initial model fell a bit short. However, none of these leaks have been confirmed by the company.