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Apple patent filing hints at beefed up HomeKit features (perhaps even new Apple devices)

Apple wants to make it easier for HomeKit compatible gadgets to “talk” to each other as evidenced by a new patent filing (number 20200053689) for “object tracking and authentication using modular wall units.” 

The patent filing may also indicated that Apple is working on its own HomeKit devices. (HomeKit is a framework that allows control of compatible home automation devices through macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and Siri.

In the patent filing Apple notes that smart home technology has greatly improved in power and functionality in recent years and can provide an enhanced user experience that can be tailored to meet an individual user’s particular needs. For instance, smart lights, smart security systems, smart entertainment systems, environmental control systems (HVAC), and the like, are becoming more and more customizable and integrated as the internet-of-things (IoT) sets a foothold in modern home designs. 

However, Apple says that configuring the smart home can present many challenges. For instance, the differentiation of brands and their incompatibilities between each other, differing connection and communication protocols, wiring and connector types, hardware/software configurations, and general system set up can be daunting to the average consumer.

Apple says that even tech savvy enthusiasts may be challenged by the non-intuitive and often frustratingly laborious process of configuring a fully integrated smart home. What’s more, smart home networks often need to be reconfigured, sometimes extensively, as old equipment is replaced with new equipment.

Apple says that, despite the many advantages that smart home technology brings to society, there is a need for smart home systems that can allow lay-consumers to more easily customize, scale, and reconfigure their homes in a more effortless and user friendly manner. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A system may include one or more processors and a host unit installed in a support structure of a building, the host unit including a communication module configured to send or receive communication data with at least one or more additional host units installed in the building, where the one or more processors are configured to measure an attribute of the sent or received communication data and detect a presence of an object based on a threshold change in the measured attribute of the sent or received communication data between the host unit and the one or more additional host units.

The attribute can be an angle-of-signal (AoS) arrival of the communication between the host unit and each of the one or more additional host units, where the threshold change in the measured attribute is a threshold change in the measured AoS arrival.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.