According to Bloomberg, Apple wants to bulk up a team entirely focused on developing new smart home software and devices, all with the goal of catching up to Amazon and Google. It is currently looking for engineers to work in its headquarters in Cupertino and San Diego. They'll work as part of a group dedicated to overhauling Apple’s smart home platform, and possibly building new devices beyond the HomePod and Apple TV.
The group is also trying to "spur more outside accessory and appliance makers" to connect their devices to the iPhone and, crucially, Apple’s voice-activated assistant, Siri. This whole effort is being led on the software side by Andreas Gal, a former Mozilla chief technology officer, whose Apple-acquired company, Silk Labs, developed an AI-based platform for connecting internet-connected devices.
Apple has posted 15 job listings in the last month for engineers to work on its HomeKit platform. Other listings mention supply chain expertise and developing wireless, battery-powered devices with camera modules. Apple, which has been "privately recruiting" people in the internet-connected devices industry, even hired new engineers and managers this year from Amazon and Qualcomm.
Keep in mind, a few years ago, Apple was reportedly creating a variety of new smart home accessories, including modules that could open and close windows, cabinets, and doors, but those projects were indefinitely paused, Bloomberg said.
Let's also not forget Apple is supposedly getting ready to launch Tile-like tracking devices soon - and those are a kind of smart device accessory.