Apple Adds Sam Jadallah to Lead Smart Home
- Apple has hired former smart lock company CEO Sam Jadallah to lead smart home initiatives
- Only 267 products are listed as supported by HomeKit and AirPlay today compared to more than 28,000 for Alexa and 10,000 for Google Assistant
- The hire comes on the heels of Apple removing a key Siri executive and acquiring voice app development platform PullString
In another sign that Apple is refocusing its efforts on smart home, CNBC reports that the company has hired ex-smart lock CEO and former Microsoft executive Sam Jadallah. He will be “leading the home initiatives at Apple” according to the article. Mr. Jadallah’s LinkedIn profile simply states “Working on Home at Apple.” Jadallah was CEO and founder of smart lock company Otto between 2013-2017. The company abruptly shut down in 2017 due to an acquisition offer that was revoked and lack of alternative funding sources according to a post by Jadallah on Hacker Noon.
Apple is Well Behind Amazon and Google in Smart Home
Smart home is a key battleground in the voice assistant wars and Amazon has announced Alexa integration with over 28,000 products while Google says Assistant supports over 10,000. Apple’s home accessories listing which includes HomeKit and Apple AirPlay only shows 267 compatible products available today. There are 89 additional products listed as “coming soon” or “announced” of which about 25% are smart TVs that will support AirPlay 2. No matter how you count, Apple compatibility is anemic compared to the momentum behind Alexa and Google Assistant. This is a direct result of Apple’s late and lackluster entry into the smart speaker segment and the limitations of Siri integration.
Mr. Jadallah clearly has a big task in front of him and all roads lead through Siri. The company’s head of AI, John Giannandrea, recently shifted the long-time Siri leader, Bill Stasior, to another role in the company and is looking for a replacement. Axios and Voicebot previously reported that Apple has also recently acquired voice app development software maker PullString presumably to support a reinvigorated Siri. Jadallah’s success is likely dependent on Apple’s Siri and HomePod strategy execution over the next year as smart home adoption today is driven by voice assistants and smart speakers. This task will be complicated by Amazon’s and Google’s strong smart home segment momentum. With that said, Jadallah’s hiring is another indication that Apple leadership recognized the flaws in its smart assistant and home strategies and is retooling with new leaders and capabilities.