The Nest Learning Thermostat used to be one of those products available from Apple’s online and retail stores, part of an assortment of third-party retailers that managed to get their fancy-lookin’ goods sold through one of the most popular brands in the world.
The story was confirmed by Mashable last week, with the move being attributed to the release of the first line of products that will work on Apple’s HomeKit platform. (Note: the Nest Thermostat was actually removed much earlier this month, but only recently noticed and reported upon.)
Apple’s jump into the smart home business is of no real surprise, with HomeKit being developed as “a framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home.” The host of products that are currently officially working with HomeKit is sure to grow substantially over the next months and years.
One such product that will work with Apple’s HomeKit, and is now available on the Apple Store, is one of Nest’s biggest competitors — the ecobee 3, the smart wi-fi thermostat with remote sensors.
What will be interesting to see is the impact such a retailing move will have on smart thermostat sales in the US. A recent report from Navigant Research placed Honeywell and Nest as the two leading smart thermostat makers in the US, far and away the most compelling companies making this relatively new consumer technology product. However, ecobee is on that list as well, coming in 6th in Navigant’s top 10.
Apple’s reach and insight into consumer electronics is not to be messed with, and though Nest currently does not run on the Apple HomeKit system, I would not be at all surprised to see this changing in the near future. However, Nest’s acquisition by Google at the beginning of 2014 is definitely not in Nest’s favour if they want to return to the Apple retail sphere.