Just as we suspected, there was barely any mention of HomePod or Apple Home during Tuesday’s big Apple event, but that doesn’t mean smart home was ignored during the iPhone reveal.
Indeed, while the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, and Apple Watch took center stage, there were a couple of key smart home announcements hiding in press releases and the fine print. One of them is an extension of Apple’s ongoing green initiatives, while the other is about a novel placement for Thread.
Let’s go with the green announcement first.
Grid Forecast in the Apple Home app
Apple made a big show Tuesday of its efforts toward making all of its products carbon neutral by the end of the decade, and while Grid Forecast didn’t make the Olivia Spencer-starring comedy bit yesterday, it did manage to squeeze into the bottom of Apple’s press release about its green goals.
A new feature on the Home app, Grid Forecast serves up a graphical timeline showing when the power grid in your area will offer the most clean energy.
Grid Forecast pulls data from a variety of sources, including energy providers and weather forecasts, to predict the time periods when the power grid will have more–or less–green energy available, allowing you to plan the best times for running dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, and other large appliances.
Apple has been down this road before with its Clean Energy Charging feature, which allows your iPhone to optimize its charging schedule based on periods of clean energy availability.
Grid Forecast could be a prelude to more clean-energy functionality within the Home app, particularly when it comes to tracking the energy consumption of all the power-hungry devices in your smart home.
Thread in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
If you blinked you may have missed it, but yes, Thread is coming to the iPhone.
Tucked in the middle of its iPhone 15 Pro press release, Apple’s mention of Thread doesn’t even get its own sentence:
iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max now support Wi-Fi 6E for greater wireless performance, including up to 2x faster speeds, and introduces the first Thread-enabled smartphones, opening up future opportunities for Home app integrations.
That’s pretty much all we have to go on about Thread on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, save for a quick detail–”Thread networking technology”–nestled in the Tech Specs page.
So, what does this mean? Thread on the iPhone could open up some very interesting smart home possibilities, namely the ability for an iPhone user to interact directly with Thread-enabled smart gadgets without any signals being routed by an Apple home hub device (such as a HomePod or an Apple TV). Does it mean an iPhone 15 Pro could act as a Thread border router for Matter devices? Good question.
In any event, the idea of an iPhone doubling as a Thread router (or Thread border router) is an intriguing one, and hopefully something we’ll learn more about in the months ahead.