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When Apple announced the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) in March, they also announced the creation of a $100 million dollar "iFund" by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Businessweek reports on the first two companies that have been chosen to receive funding out of over 1700 submissions.

Pelago's Whrrl application ties the iPhone's mapping capabilities to help find out restaurants and services in your area:
Say you're lost in Las Vegas and need a restaurant recommendation. With iPhone in hand, you can scan the locations of nearby restaurants, just Italian restaurants, or just those recommended by foodie friends. Or you could search for the highest-rated bars or kid-friendly activities recommended by friends from your social network. There's going to be a "what's going on around me right now" button, says Kleiner Perkins partner Matt Murphy. "You're always one button away from that immediate context."
The other application to receive funding is iControl, a home automation application that would allow you to remotely control devices in your house (such as lighting, air conditioning, etc..) through your iPhone.

Kleiner Perkins has reportedly extended one more offer to another company and has 10 others they are seriously considering. Though no agreements have been put in place, Pelago is optimistic that they could be featured by Apple either at the WWDC keynote or even as a bundled application with the iPhone.

Article Link
 

crazzyeddie

macrumors 68030
Dec 7, 2002
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Florida, USA
Those both sound like perfect apps for the iPhone and I'm glad they are being made, although I kind of expected the location-based recommendation service to be done by an Apple/Google partnership...

The home automation will really make the iPhone appeal to upper-class and many geeks as well. Just more market share...
 
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Sbrocket

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Jun 3, 2007
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Bundled? I doubt it. Apple wouldn't support 3rd party apps like that. Possibly featured, and there's always Apple Design Awards if they applied for that (and I would assume they did). Sure to be lots of iPhone-related Design Awards this year, if only they would stop screwing with the SDK!
 
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Project

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2005
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Bundled? I doubt it. Apple wouldn't support 3rd party apps like that. Possibly featured, and there's always Apple Design Awards if they applied for that (and I would assume they did). Sure to be lots of iPhone-related Design Awards this year, if only they would stop screwing with the SDK!

Apple has almost always bundled 3rd party software with the Mac
 
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amac4me

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
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Now this is how to build a platform. VCs role in helping build out the iPhone platform cannot be understated. The iPhone is and will continue to change how we conduct our lives.
 
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Mykbibby

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2007
546
115
Palm Springs, CA
Yeah, thats pretty much how all home automation works.

I have never done that before, so I'm kind of in the dark on this one. So does that mean with every sale of iControl you have to spend another x amount of dollars on all the little mechanisms that flick the lights on and off? Where do you even buy these?

EDIT: No pun intended...
 
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Lershac

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2008
247
28
Baton Rouge, LA USA
I have never done that before, so I'm kind of in the dark on this one. So does that mean with every sale of iControl you have to spend another x amount of dollars on all the little mechanisms that flick the lights on and off? Where do you even buy these?

smarthome.com for one... just google and you can get an idea of the size of the market (pretty large)

Its not an inexpensive proposition. Especially when you start tying in control of hvac and alarm systems. It imperative to start with a flexible base system.
 
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Tulse

macrumors regular
Nov 3, 2003
220
0
Judging by the linked websites, these products don't seem to be iPhone-only, or even originally developed for the iPhone. While it's great that companies are porting over their applications to the iPhone, I was hoping that an iPhone-centric VC fund would give us apps that take advantage of the platforms unique properties.
 
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zama36

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2007
86
8
Are the VCs that stupid?

(This is based on the little info in the article.)

While the home automation tool seems alright but Whrrl? How is this supportable and actually generate money outside of the Apps purchase price? You can already search for restaurants via Maps (search = food type, zip code.) Connections into social networks to find local activities? What happens when those sites change their APIs? Will the app be updated/supported for free or will users be forced into paid upgrades?

This just seems like it could be a web app not a native app. With a web app you could continue the revenue stream with ads. If the native app goes the route of the announced ZUNE strategy with ads on the device, I doubt it will take on.
 
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PruneTracy

macrumors member
Apr 19, 2006
76
91
San Francisco, CA
I have never done that before, so I'm kind of in the dark on this one. So does that mean with every sale of iControl you have to spend another x amount of dollars on all the little mechanisms that flick the lights on and off? Where do you even buy these?

No, this is something that will have to have a lot of forethought before being able to control your lighting. Systems such as Lutron's Grafik Eye must have each switch hardwired behind your walls to other switches, and then can be controlled with a remote from there, or RadioRA in which all switches talk to each other and can be controlled with a radio frequency remote- something an iPhone wouldn't be able to do.

There are newer home control systems out there like Colorado Vnet. That's something for all you rich guys who don't feel like buying a new BMW this year, or sending your children to college. It's a whole home control system (audio, lighting, climate, security, television, etc) that is all run via CAT5 wire and controlled with touch screen panels. As you can imagine, a system like this was meant to be paired with a remote device like the iPhone, as it's table top "remote" that it comes with is about the size of a macbook... no joke. And their touch screen isn' the most responsive.

Anyway, nerd rant off. To answer the original question- you have to redo your entire switching for something like this to work. An i'd imagine that costing the average person about $3k for a 3 bedroom home... so... no dice:D
 
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Sbrocket

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2007
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0
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Apple has almost always bundled 3rd party software with the Mac

This isn't a desktop computer where "bundle-ware" is much less apparent to the end-user. Bundled software on an iPhone would be *bam* right there on the front screen. That's quite some "free" recognition to just give away.

Attempting to compare the two very different platforms like you just did is just wrong.
 
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rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,655
2,617
Sunny, Southern California
Hmmm.. As much as I like my iPhone, I don't for see investing heavely in a home automation system to take advantage of this. I could for see myself adding something to the lights say in the living room etc. Pulling up to my drive way hit a button on the iPhone and the lights all come on. But even that would be a little chunk of change.

I already have a remote that can do all of the above, from within my house. That is of course if I wanted to invest in the home lighting or hvac. Why would I use my iPhone in the house when my current remote can do it. With the exception of the above, scenario.

Next please.......
 
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H$R

macrumors 6502
Apr 1, 2008
352
0
Switzerland
Doesn't Google Maps do what Whrrl's talking about already?

Some of it (like "only Italian Restaurants") yes, other things (for example the stuff you're friends/social networks recommend) not.

I've once been on a visiter day at a computer science college and they had a HP smartphone (or was it an Palm Tungsten?) with which they were experimenting stuff like light control/music controly and stuff in yur household. But it was very experimental back then. But it was looking pretty cool and useful. *want have*
 
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dicklacara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 29, 2004
973
1
SF Bay Area
No, this is something that will have to have a lot of forethought before being able to control your lighting. Systems such as Lutron's Grafik Eye must have each switch hardwired behind your walls to other switches, and then can be controlled with a remote from there, or RadioRA in which all switches talk to each other and can be controlled with a radio frequency remote- something an iPhone wouldn't be able to do.

There are newer home control systems out there like Colorado Vnet. That's something for all you rich guys who don't feel like buying a new BMW this year, or sending your children to college. It's a whole home control system (audio, lighting, climate, security, television, etc) that is all run via CAT5 wire and controlled with touch screen panels. As you can imagine, a system like this was meant to be paired with a remote device like the iPhone, as it's table top "remote" that it comes with is about the size of a macbook... no joke. And their touch screen isn' the most responsive.

Anyway, nerd rant off. To answer the original question- you have to redo your entire switching for something like this to work. An i'd imagine that costing the average person about $3k for a 3 bedroom home... so... no dice:D

Do you need to redo everything, or just the things you want to control?

If the latter, the cost can be quite reasonable, using individual device controllers and a central master control (controlled by the iPhone/Touch, with the control signals transmitted over the house wiring).

This (lower cost) incremental approach would appeal to many, especially renters.

However, if you add security and [remote] monitoring to the mix of applications, then $3K is a pittance, compared to the cost of security and replacement of, say, multiple computers, HDTVs, Stereos, etc... might even be able to recoup the costs with lower insurance rates.

Interesting, that Mike Markkula, after he left Apple, started a company to do just this sort of control. The company is Echelon ELON. link

When the iPhone was announced, this (iControl) app seemed such a natural that I invested in ELON. Then, about $8-- currently about $12.

I don't know what the relationship is between Mike and Steve is, but their companies could do well by jointly exploiting this capability:

--Echelon has the controllers and infrastructure for local and remote device monitoring/control

--Apple has (will have) the best of breed Universal [monitor and] Remote controller
 
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