Apple is focusing on its HomeKit initiative with a series of new hires, despite the fact that it’s falling behind Amazon and Google in the smart home space. Bloomberg reports that the company has posted 15 job listings for engineers to work on HomeKit since last month, and it has also been privately seeking out potential new hires in the internet-connected devices industry. The publicly available listings note that prospective employees should have supply chain expertise as well as experience building battery-powered wireless devices that include camera modules.
The recruiting efforts come as Apple is struggling to compete with both Amazon and Google in the smart home market. Part of the problem is that Apple currently has a much smaller ecosystem of compatible third-party smart home products. Google says that there are over 10,000 devices compatible with its platform, while Amazon claims to have 85,000. In contrast, Bloomberg notes, Apple lists just 450 HomeKit-compatible devices on its website, despite easing the requirements for making HomeKit devices two years ago.
Apple is also working on producing more first-party home devices, according to Bloomberg, although it’s not clear if these will also be smart speakers similar to the HomePod or not. There have been persistent rumors that the company is working on a cheaper HomePod smart speaker, but so far, we’ve seen nothing confirmed by Apple. The company currently makes just three smart home devices — the HomePod, Apple TV 4K, and regular Apple TV — while Amazon and Google produce numerous smart speakers and displays across a wide range of price points.
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