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Apple to unveil new "smart home" system, report says

Apple is reportedly getting ready to launch a new "smart home" system that will allow users to control their home's lights, security system, and other connected appliances via their iPhone or iPad.

The Financial Times reports the platform will be unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which is scheduled for June 2-6 in San Francisco.

The idea is to streamline the process of setting up and controlling devices throughout the home, according to the FT. Among other features, the system could reportedly be set to automatically turn on the lights when an iPhone connected to it enters a building. That's in line with ideas Apple outlined last November in a patent filing for a home automation system, as CNET detailed at the time.

The new platform would be Apple's latest attempt to challenge competitors Samsung and Google for the emerging market in smart home technology. Samsung recently debuted of its Smart Home line of refrigerators, washing machines and TVs that can be controlled from its smartphones and watches, while Google spent $3.2 billion earlier this year to acquire Nest Labs, maker of the Learning Thermostat and the Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Apple is also pushing to expand smartphone technology into other aspects of modern life.

The Apple CarPlay system, demonstrated at the New York International Auto Show last month, incorporates Siri voice command to make calls and get directions, while also offering in-car music and other entertainment. In addition, Apple's iBeacon location-sensing technology, which debuted late last year, is already in use for enhanced shopping, indoor navigation, ticketing, and location-specific sales promotions.

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