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Apple smart home initiative and other news for May 27, 2014

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It's almost time for Apple's annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), which means that the rumor mills are working over time to mass produce ideas of what might we might hear about at next Monday's keynote address. Apple getting into the home automation market is one of the first and most intriguing rumors, so let's look at that and other news of the day:

  • The Financial Times said yesterday that Apple may announce a new software platform allowing iOS devices to control "the Internet of Things," meaning devices like thermostats, door locks, lights, and more. The platform would be announced alongside a new initiative similar to the "Made for iPhone" program, with Apple certifying devices that work with the platform. Apple already sells a number of connected devices in Apple Stores.
  • Apple has been granted a patent for a method of embedding displays -- including those covered with sapphire -- into Liquid Metal. The patent was applied for six years ago, but is of particular interest since Apple has exclusive rights to the "bulk amorphous alloy" through the end of 2015 and is also investing in a large synthetic sapphire manufacturing facility in Arizona.
  • Want a Mac Pro? Finally, more than six months after the top-of-the-line Mac was rolled out, you can get one configured to order in about a week. While you're at it, buy another one and send it my way, OK?
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