Take a tour of the Apple House of the future
We've been promised super-connected homes for some time now- Popular Mechanics magazine was banging on about it in the 1930s - but at last the technology is catching up with futurists' predictions.
We know that Google's interested in home automation thanks to its purchase of the Nest smart thermostat and its patented plans to serve ads on almost everything but, if the Financial Times is correct, Apple's about to take an even bigger step: at WWDC it's going to announce a standard for intelligent home appliances based around iOS.
iOS is already in many homes. We use it to control WeMo switches and to stream music; you might use it to control your heating or to access your favourite films. What's going to change at WWDC is that manufacturers will no longer have to roll out their own iOS solutions: Apple will have a system they can use, branding they can stick on their ads and hype that might finally make internet fridges sound attractive.
So what might the Apple house of the future look like? Here's what we reckon.
You've already used CarPlay to unlock the car, to listen and reply to messages, to plan the fastest way home through traffic and to stream your favourite tunes; as you drive your iPhone tells the house your ETA so the cooker can heat your dinner and the central heating knows whether it needs to stick to its usual programme or warm the house a little earlier.
On arrival your iPhone says hello to the secure gate, unlocks the front door and turns on the porch light so you can see your way inside.
In the hallway
No need to punch a code into the alarm system: your phone's already talking to it and turning off the motion sensors and external camera. Motion sensors will turn the camera back on and stream video to your iPhone if someone approaches the door, but there's no point filming when there's nothing happening.
The interior lights come on with a welcoming colour scheme, triggered by motion switches in their plugs that spotted your arrival, and you notice the faint glow of the charging light on the vacuuming robot under the stairs, which does its duties as soon as you leave in the morning.
In the kitchen
Your wireless speakers pick up the music from where you left off in the car, and both the music and the lighting follow you as you move from room to room. You check the notes from your family (tonight's football, they'll get pizza on the way home) on the fridge's flat screen - it's a memo board and iPad stuck to the fridge rather than an integral part of the appliance - and swipe to the recipe app for dinner's final touches, calling up a podcast to listen to while you work. Later you'll pick a recipe for tomorrow's dinner and send it to your online shopping app for delivery while you're at work.
You catch a few news clips and throw a quick game at the Apple TV, the lighting changing from warm hues to cool blues as the game takes you into colder territory.
Your iPhone pings to let you know everybody's about to arrive, so you reluctantly quit the game and tell Siri to play something more family-friendly than the hardcore hip hop you prefer. Siri suggests the soundtrack from Frozen 3, but you know she's just taking the mickey.
As everyone arrives their i-devices automatically backup to your Time Capsule - Apple still hasn't made its iCloud storage per-device rather than per-account - and shared calendars and to-do lists are synced with the family Mac.
Ready for bed
The kids' bedroom lights have already faded at the pre-arranged times, their streaming music silent and their ebooks off. After a well-deserved glass of wine and some good chat you and your partner head for bed.
As ever the scales track your weight, body fat percentage and BMI and send the results to Healthbook, but something isn't right tonight: as you move towards the toilet the seat starts opening and shutting like a mouth while a disembodied voice cackles. You sigh and tell Siri to call an Apple-accredited plumber to dial in and deal with the hack, and to do it sharpish. That's the third time this month, you think. So much for "it just works".