Why CES 2020 Is Crucial for Apple Right Now


Sep. 4 2020, Updated 6:55 a.m. ET

With CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2020 kicking off tomorrow, all the biggest technology companies will be flocking to Las Vegas. One of the highlights of the show will be Apple’s (AAPL) participation after 28 years.

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Apple to spread the message of user privacy

Digital Trends has reported that Apple’s senior director of global privacy, Jane Horvath, will participate in CES 2020. She’ll appear as a panelist at the Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable on January 9. Other leading companies Facebook and Procter & Gamble will also be part of the panel. Digital Times reported that even a Federal Trade Commission member is likely to attend the roundtable discussion.

In 2019, Apple got caught up in controversy when it was revealed that smart speaker Siri’s recordings were allegedly being examined by humans. They were analyzing the records for quality-control purposes and allegedly happened to hear users’ confidential conversations. The iPhone maker immediately faced scrutiny for violations of user privacy. In the last couple of weeks, Apple again faced heat after it came out that its iPhone 11 continued to track the user’s location even after the location tracking was turned off. In early November, Apple refreshed its privacy page to make it easier for users to understand the norms and protect themselves. Considering Apple’s seriousness about user privacy, it isn’t surprising that the company wants to take a stand on this.

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Because of Apple’s hardware-oriented business, user privacy protection is one of its most significant selling points. The company emphasizes that it doesn’t earn ad-based revenue and therefore has no business collecting user data. Back in 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with Robert Siegel from NPR, “We see that privacy is a fundamental human right that people have.” He added, “We don’t collect a lot of your data and understand every detail about your life. That’s just not the business that we are in.”

Apple to promote HomeKit at CES 2020

It was last in 1992 that Apple attended CES in Chicago, when former CEO John Sculley unveiled the Newton device. However, this time, Apple won’t launch any products, as it now does so at its annual event. It will instead leverage the CES 2020 platform to showcase its HomeKit smart home solutions.

Some companies will also announce their smart home assistants, which will be compatible with Apple’s Siri. At CES 2019, a French company called Netatmo launched its HomeKit-compatible Smart Video Doorbell, according to 9to5Mac. According to the Verge, the French company’s addition of a smart door lock using physical near-field communication keys will be the highlight of CES 2020. Netatmo’s Smart Door Lock is also compatible with Apple’s HomeKit.

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HomeKit should be a crucial element in Apple’s 2020 plans

Apple’s HomeKit is one such business that is yet to gather the desired momentum. It has grown at a slower pace than Amazon’s Alexa (AMZN) universe. The iPhone maker is making attempts to revive the HomeKit business. In February 2019, it hired Sam Jadallah, a former Microsoft executive, to spearhead the growth of its Home Business, according to CNBC.

Furthermore, according to a Bloomberg report in October, Apple was hiring more people to reorganize its HomeKit business. Apple has miles to go to revive its Home business. In the same story, Bloomberg said that Apple’s list of HomeKit-compatible devices totaled just 450.

In comparison, Google (GOOG) “says its home platform works with more than 10,000 devices from 1,000 brands” via Google Assistant, while Amazon claims its number is 85,000. On Apple’s to-do list for 2020, resuscitating its Smart Home business should be an essential task.

In a December 1 article, 9to5Mac’s Bradley Chambers stated specific measures that the company must take toward its Home business in 2020. He said Apple’s HomeKit must “move faster, take more risks with products, do whatever it takes to get more products integrated with HomeKit and make sure iPhone customers know how great HomeKit is as a platform.”

Will HomeKit rule CES 2020 too?

For now, it’s incredible that Apple is showing up at CES 2020 after nearly three decades. The company’s participation in the discussion on user privacy provides enough conviction about its actions. Additionally, promoting HomeKit should also ensure it gets some much-needed attention. At CES 2019, HomeKit was the main draw. More and more companies turned to it for their smart home offerings. MacWorld called Apple’s HomeKit the “surprise winner of CES 2019.” We’ll have our eyes set on developments at CES 2020 to see what it brings for Apple.


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