And the market is big enough for Apple to play in, Moorhead said. "This is a very long term play. The installer market is billions. And the DIY market is looking at a ten-times increase over the next five years."
According to ABI Research, home automation spending worldwide will reach $14 billion by 2018, with half of that money spent in the U.S., a traditional stronghold for Apple.
"It's very different than in the past," argued Moorhead, referring to decades-long promises of an eventual "smart home," promises that were never really kept, even though giants like Microsoft put their shoulders to the wheel. "Today you have a variety of wireless, all with much higher quality, many with better distances than in the past. And costs are much lower."
Gottheil agreed. "IoT is happening. And Apple pioneered the idea of a home hub, dating back to not long after [Steve] Jobs returned to Apple," said Gottheil, who was referring to a 2001 keynote at the Macworld conference, where the then-CEO trumpeted the idea of "Digital Hub," a vision where the Mac served as the household's central controller of entertainment and productivity.
"We think this is going to be huge," said Jobs then, predicting a future that never quite came to pass.
"Apple has always wanted to manage the interrelationships between itself and other ecosystems," said Gottheil. "They can make all the pieces click."
Steve Jobs unveils Apple's 'digital hub' strategy at Macworld 2001.
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