Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max with a USB-C port, titanium body, and action buttons. These are also the first smartphones to support the open-source smart home protocol Thread. The Verge’s Jennifer Pattison Tuohy explains how Apple is rolling out this wireless connectivity protocol into its ecosystem. The obvious use for Thread on the iPhone is as a Thread border router for a number of new Apple Home and Matter-enabled Thread smart home devices from companies like Eve, Nanoleaf, and Belkin WeMo. This means you don’t need a HomePod Mini, Apple TV 4K, or any other Thread border router to use Thread smart home gadgets with your iPhone. …(Jonathan Hui, VP of Technology at Thread Group and Software Engineer at Google) says his Thread connection on smartphones allows them to communicate directly with Thread devices. “Compared to existing smartphones without Thread, smartphones with Thread can communicate directly with Thread devices without relying on separate Thread border routers or other communication technologies,” he said. .
Another possibility for direct control is some kind of trigger or presence detection. Thread devices can recognize you as soon as you enter your home and respond appropriately. However, presence detection, which is sorely needed in smart homes, is easily accomplished using UWB chips, which are already in (and are already available to some extent) most iPhones and HomePods. Thread, an IP-based mesh protocol, is a better way to connect multiple “parent” devices (such as an iPad, MacBook, or other family member’s iPhone) to your phone while having them within the same home. It can be a reliable method. Its IP nature makes it easy to maintain a persistent data connection directly to the device, he said Moneta. Additionally, the fact that the thread is mesh means that the device does not need to be within range of the controller (iPhone/iPad, etc.) as is the case with Bluetooth. This may apply to his Apple accessories, such as the Apple Watch, as well as third-party devices that use Bluetooth, such as camera accessories or medical equipment. Of course, all of this also requires Thread radio, so that won’t happen right away. (…)
A theory I heard a lot on my X (formerly Twitter) feed after the Apple event was that Thread would be included in the iPhone 15 Pro line as more or less a freebie. The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chips that Apple uses in its top-of-the-line phones can be thought of as a sort of 3-for-1. So if you pay for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you get Thread for free. Given that Apple itself doesn’t seem to have a clear idea or concrete example of what the Thread feature will add (a vague statement in the iPhone 15 press release that “opens up future opportunities for Home app integration”) ”), this certainly seems to be the case. For now, that’s the most likely reason. However, Apple rarely does anything with some purpose in mind.