Apple hired Sam Jadallah in February 2019 to lead his smart home initiatives as head of the home services department. He posted the news of his departure on LinkedIn last week.
Neither Jadallah nor Apple gave a reason to leave. After two years and nine months at work, Jadallah wrote:
That’s the end of Apple. I am so grateful for the friendships that will last and for the opportunity to shape and create new abilities for people and homes around the world. As a corporate CEO, investor and entrepreneur, it was a treat to be an entrepreneur within Apple and create products on a large scale.
History at Microsoft and with smart locks
Prior to working at Apple, Jadallah was the CEO of Microsoft for more than a decade. He was also the head of the company for the production of luxury smart locks Otto. His employment at Apple has been widely reported as a high-profile move to strengthen Apple’s work on its smart home system, HomeKit.
At Apple, part of his business included digital keys and related products. Among them is Apple’s recent move in iOS 15 to add lock keys supported by HomeKit to the Wallet app.
It is considered a big move into the home space
As early as 2019, observers saw Jadallah’s employment as a big part of Apple’s efforts to further break into the smart space at home. The company has been developing the HomeKit protocol for years, unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014, as well as working on home devices such as the HomePod smart speaker. Still, Apple seemed to be lagging behind companies like Amazon and Google.
During Jadallah’s tenure, Apple introduced new “HomeKit” initiatives. The company added support for Thread wireless networking, helped introduce the Matter smart home protocol, and introduced some new HomeKit features, such as HomeKit Secure Video.
What does the departure of Sam Jadallah mean next: Unclear
With so little public comment in the game, Jadallah’s reason for leaving Apple (and what his future plans are) is just as unclear as what his departure will mean for Cupertino’s home services team. Apple’s efforts at home seem to be in flux, with a renewed focus on a home that could take shape soon.
Recent reports show that Apple’s engineering team is pessimistic about the future of “Apple TV hardware,” even though it is an important component in Apple’s smart home ecosystem. As with HomePod, Apple is struggling to keep people’s interest in Apple TV, as many people are looking for cheaper set-top boxes like Amazon and Rock.
When the new MacBook Pro models came out, Apple grouped the TV and Home categories on its website for the first time. The company seems to want to aim for a complete living room strategy that will combine “HomePod” and Apple TV into one device to control smart home devices, entertainment, communication and more. It is currently predicted that this still secret device will be launched in 2023.
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