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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Amazon appears to have gained an edge over Apple in deals with smart home builders, according to The Information.


The paywalled report claims that an increasing number of home builders have agreed to partnerships with Amazon to build homes with preinstalled Alexa-enabled accessories, rather than HomeKit-based products from Apple.

Last year, for example, Amazon reportedly struck a large-scale deal with Lennar, one of the biggest home builders in the United States. Lennar first had a partnership with Apple in 2016, but the company is "prioritizing Amazon now."
As part of its deal, Lennar gets access to Amazon's growing army of so-called Amazon experts, the company's in-home service team, to go around to every new homeowner and make sure their smart home is hooked up. Every new Lennar home comes with Echo Dot speakers and Echo Show displays to connect with Alexa, as well as a suite of connected doorbells, locks, light switches and thermostat.
A few other builders, such as Arizona-based Meritage Homes and Shea Homes, also said they considered Apple but opted for Amazon.
"Apple is closed source about what will talk to their system, so we shied away from it," said CR Herro, a vice president with Arizona-based Meritage Homes. "I don't want to restrict what I think the future could be because I have no idea what it will be."
The report claims that Apple requiring accessory makers to install an authentication chip for HomeKit compatibility has "significantly limited the number of new devices getting to market," but that is no longer the case, as iOS 11.3 introduced software-based authentication for accessories to interface with HomeKit.

Meanwhile, some builders believe there is a downside in allowing Amazon to embed a network of Alexa-powered devices that can collect data into homes, ranging from privacy concerns to competitive reasons.
Startup home builder Kasita, for instance, thinks these traditional players are giving up a huge amount of business by linking up with Amazon. Kasita uses Alexa devices for performing voice control in its "micro homes," but tries to maintain its relationship with the consumer by providing its own app and wants to offer its own services to consumers in the future.

"Amazon owns you when you buy anything online," said Jeff Wilson, founder and chairman of Kasita. "Do you really want them owning home experiences?"
While new homes are estimated to account for only about 10 percent of residential home sales in the United States, Apple believes the best way to introduce homeowners to HomeKit is from the get-go.

"We want to bring home automation to the mainstream," said Greg Joswiak, a marketing executive at Apple, in an interview with Bloomberg. "The best place to start is at the beginning, when a house is just being created."

Article Link: Amazon Has Reportedly Gained Edge Over Apple in Deals With Smart Home Builders


macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2014
Look, no one wins if either one of them wins the monopoly position over the other in this growing industry.

& the whole proprietary aspect to home automation is the reason why the adoption rates are so low, it being really confusing, inconvenient and inconsistent. The scope needs to be open source'd...


macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2002
I only buy Alexa compatible home automation hardware because the Echo can be had for $29 and works great. I have three in my house and they control lights in those rooms, can tell me the weather and play things off my phone via Bluetooth. HomeKit and HomePod are just to expensive for me right now. I’m not saying HomePod is a bad product but Apple is far to late to the game at this point.


macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
The Home app is much cleaner looking and easier to navigate once you get the hang of it. Alexa is just cheaper and more readily available. Hopefully now that Apple removed the hardware component required for devices to be compatible with HomeKit we'll see it more widely adopted.

That said, this is Amazon's market until Apple offers a cheaper alternative to the HomePod that can compete with the price of the Echo.
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macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2014
None are particularly ‘smart’ but Alexa is winning the adoption race due to price and compatibility. I have both and quite happy using either when one is more convenient to use.


macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
I laugh at this whole market. The minor conveniences people gain for the massive things they surrender; privacy and security. The mind boggles at how anyone would go for this tech.
How are my privacy and security compromised by using this technology?
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macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2008
This is most concerning not necessarily because it impacts Apple's bottom line, but because Apple's arguably more privacy friendly HomeKit is getting taken out by Amazon and/or Google. Is it going to be hard to find and buy a new home that isn't pre-wired to data leak to cloud providers. I'm sure Google and Amazon have a long game of being able to be ingrained into every facet of your life. This seems like a no brainer for them. /shudder


macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I much more prefer Apple Homekit compared to all other solutions because it integrates better with my devices (Watch, iPhone, iPad...). I'm not interested in the "speaker" or virtual assistant thing to manage my home.

Yes it's sometimes a pain in the ass to find good and cheap devices that are compatible with Homekit... we have more
choices with Amazon Alexa.

that said, I've started buying devices that are compatible with Amazon and Apple... like Lutron Caseta. It requires a bridge to work with Homekit... but it works wonderfully well. And bonus is if you are using the little Pico remotes, you can easily install a three way lighting without the standard three way wiring... the three way is all done wirelessly.
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macrumors G4
Sep 11, 2014
I love my Amazon Echos. But they just sit on shelves...being echoey. I wouldn’t trust Amazon any further than that with devices that could know more about my comings and goings and accumulate even more data on me that’s more personal than my order history data already is. (Yeah I know they could potentially eavesdrop, but when I have a conversation I really want kept private I can easily unplug them).

Especially when honestly, their service has really gone downhill lately and this past holiday was a cluster cluck of delivery snafus and apparently used items delivered as new and all sorts of issues for my own family and so many of my friends. Also their own new delivery contractors outright lie on delivery reports saying items were delivered directly into the hands of the customer when they were actually left in my driveway to get soaked in the rain.

No no no. Not for me. If I can’t even trust them to deliver cat food properly...nah. Nope.
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macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2014
I think Apple is a much more reliable home automation platform, as soon as Apple makes Siri better Amazon will be in big trouble.

How’s it more reliable when it doesn’t support half of what Alexa or google assistance can do? Connection and device support isn’t even close.

Siri has been out for 7 years and Alexa been out for 4 years. Siri works on billions of devices from iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks yet only new news I seen is new jokes?! Haha. Alexa on my $30 echo dot is smarter in every way than Siri. Siri still can’t identify two different person while Alexa can tell the difference between my wife and I when we talk to Alexa.


macrumors 6502
Feb 3, 2008
Apple has really dropped the ball with HomeKit. But Siri/AI in the home in general. On device (iPhone/iPad), Siri is ok. But in a connected home environment, it is lacking. This just highlights that.


macrumors 68020
Feb 21, 2011
Apple has really dropped the ball with HomeKit. But Siri/AI in the home in general. On device (iPhone/iPad), Siri is ok. But in a connected home environment, it is lacking. This just highlights that.

The problem is not HomeKit. HomeKit API is pretty good. Problem is Siri. That's what Apple has to fix.


macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2013
Apple clearly lost the ball here. I recently tried to retrofit my home with some HomeKit appliances, and was staggered at how many products were integrated with Alexa, and how few were available for HomeKit.

For example, I really struggled to find a relay switch for my lights that could be integrated with HomeKit, and the Elgato Eve Thermo (one of the few HomeKit thermostats) only recently gained on-device temperature controls.

On the other hand, IoT security is extremely important and often overlooked. I'm not sure how secure Alexa is, or whether Apple's demands really improve security at all. AFAIK, HomeKit accessorises are never directly connected to the internet - all communication is over local Bluetooth or via a hub (which receives specific commands via an encrypted connection to iCloud).

See, for example:

Eagan gave one memorable anecdote about a case Darktrace worked on in which a casino was hacked via a thermometer in an aquarium in the lobby.

"The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network," she said. "They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud."

Substitute "high-roller database" with "your passwords, contacts or private photos" and you get the idea -- or they could install some ransomware or other crap once they're on your network.
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