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Apple's HomePod: What's in It for Developers?

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Apple's HomePod: What's in It for Developers?

The Apple HomePod is positioned to be part virtual assistant, part smart speaker. See what separates developing for it from Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

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With only a few days to go for the iPhone event, the buzz around it this year is greater than what it was a few years ago. With the WWDC event done, we can expect something radical from the technology giant. While we were privy to most of the iOS features that would be incorporated into the iPhone 8, geeks and developers are eagerly waiting for the phone's release.

During the WWDC keynote, Tim Cook spoke about how the AirPods changed the way we perceive portable wireless music. He later added that Apple is going to revolutionize the way we perceive wireless music in a home setting with its new product HomePod.

HomePod is a smart speaker that will run iOS, similar to the iPhone and iPad, but without a screen. The smart speaker, currently, will not support third party applications. So, why did Apple showcase the HomePod that developers cannot use to create apps? Apple is positioning the HomePod as not just a smart speaker but more of a home hub.

HomePod is an impressive smart speaker. Unlike the other smart speakers in the market, which have trade-offs of either being a smart assistant without good sound quality or a great speaker without the intelligence of a virtual assistant, HomePod is the best of both worlds. Amazon's Echo and Sonos are smart speakers that allow for third party applications to run.

Developers across the world should closely follow HomePod's evolution. We say this because the new Music API, which is meant for workout apps, allows for surfacing music and playlists within apps. The new Airplay 2 API also has tweaks that allow for multi-room streaming.

With Siri being the feature of HomePod, we can expect a plethora of queries. These queries will play a crucial role in machine learning, and Apple's CoreML framework is expected to be used extensively as HomeHub hits that markets. Natural language processing will play its part as well.

Apple says its NSLinguisticTagger class will " provide a uniform interface to a variety of natural language processing functionality with support for many languages and scripts. "

The company adds that the tagger can be used to "segment natural language text into paragraphs, sentences, or words, and tag information about those tokens, such as part of speech, lexical class, lemma, script, and language."

Additionally, HomePod pairs with your HomeKit. It is similar to using your phone to close the blinds, switch off lights in the bedroom, etc. You can do the same thing on the HomePod by just asking Siri to bring the temperature down in a particular room, turn off the TV after 10 minutes, etc. HomePod uses an A8 processor making it the smartest speaker that is out there!

Devs can tap into Core ML, the Apple music API, SiriKit, and HomeKit to control the HomePod, which opens up a myriad of possibilities for developers. With many of the technology trend of 2016 beginning to take shape this year, IoT is not too far behind. HomePod and HomeKit are doing just that! While the buzz around machine learning and AI keeps increasing, experts think IoT will make way from bigger, better applications. Smart homes have already been touched upon — smart offices, and smart warehousing seem to be the next big thing.

There has been increased vertical application in the field of IoT. The primary reason for this influx is because consumers are readily accepting such products. They understand and know that IoT eases their lives in many ways than one. And we at TechJini believe that in the relatively not so distant future, all the verticals in the IoT landscape will be interconnected. But until that unification occurs, individual IoT solutions will keep ruling the roost. Another incredible aspect that was showcased at the CES in Las Vegas, held earlier this year, was how IoT devices took stock of the inventory on a constant basis and, when found low, they placed orders on sites like Amazon to replenish the stock.

In conjuncture with the vertical development of IoT solutions across industries, IoT market places help build momentum for HomeKits and their development. The adoption of home automation apps and home automation kits is expected to increase as well. The marketplace for such apps and kits act as ingress that offers organizations and businesses the option to interact with vendors while saving the hassle of creating new platforms or switch over from existing ones.

This is a blessing for organizations trying to move away from traditional devices or processes. Such organizations can directly tap into data hubs, industrial drivers, data visualization, and mapping without having to make significant investments. IoT helps save costs and resources.

Machine learning has progressed greatly over the years, and IoT thrives on it. With a little help from IoT, machine learning can be rapidly integrated into hardware across industries. By connecting numerous devices, IoT's cognitive capability can explore uncharted territories and return with a greater understanding of patterns and context for input.

Here, analytics also plays its part. Analytics in IoT is already gathering tremendous attention. Combine both machine learning and analytics, and the possibilities for IoT are far too great to be mentioned here!

With the world slowly but steadily transforming to IoT, security concerns arise. How secure are IoT devices? Can they be controlled by someone who has no access? What if I want to give access to someone else, etc., are some of the apprehensions that consumers have! While security has been a major concern for IoT devices, we believe that these devices will have better security. 2017 has been a year of security for IoT devices. The release of Industrial Internet Consortium's security framework has reassured consumers to a certain extent.

IoT is not limited to homes — it is taking on bigger things like offices, warehouses, and even cities! It is expected that IoT deployments in cities will lead the charge. The concept of IoT enabled smart cities has already gathered immense attention from residents. Aspects such as convenience and safety, which were/are luxuries in certain parts of the world can now be delivered through IoT deployment.

Apple's HomePod and HomeKit are currently the key players that are expected to shift the IoT landscape. Developers can leverage these products to bring about the change in the IoT industry.

For a deeper look into Bluetooth mesh, check out this technical insight for developers.

Topics:
iot ,apple homepod ,ios ,iot app development

Published at DZone with permission of Robby Gupta, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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