Apple Looking To Add Finer Controls To HomeKit With Ultra Wide Band Tech

Apple is working on a potential future version of HomeKit that could offer more granular control of items based on a user’s location.

The report covers a patent application that was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday – and then spotted by Apple Insider – which is titled “Modular Wall Unit System”.

The theory is that Apple plans on using wall outlets and fittings within a home to control accessories and devices.

In Apple’s proposal, the outlets include a power gating module that is controlled by processors, and is configured to couple electrical power from a main feed to items that are plugged in. This would enable the power to be turned on and off for the outlet from a remote command.

The new system would make use of ultra wideband, or UWB. That’s a technology that Apple added to iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max and is currently used to allow those devices to more easily send data via AirDrop. In the future however, UWB could be used to allow devices to communicate with wall outlets and such based on their location.

Other types of fittings could be used, too. Light switches are an obvious one, although thermostats would be another obvious use case.

You can read the full patent application for yourself, complete with all the details. But it’s worth remembering that Apple files for tons of patents each and every year. Not many actually wind up being used in shipping products. With that in mind it’s perhaps a little early to start planning that new HomeKit home just yet.

(Source: USPTO)

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