Why Apple should try to buy Nest Labs

“Founded by former Apple employees, Nest Labs, the maker of some much-buzzed-about home appliances, looks like a great acquisition target for Apple. But the Silicon Valley startup likely isn’t for sale quite yet,” Patrick Seitz writes for Investor’s Business Daily.

“Nest Labs, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has a corporate mission to take ‘unloved but important home products’ and reinvent them to make them ‘simple, beautiful and thoughtful things.’ Nest’s chief executive, Tony Fadell, led the Apple design teams behind the iPod and iPhone,” Seitz writes. “On Tuesday, Nest announced a “reinvented” smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. The Nest Protect addresses people’s problems with traditional smoke and CO alarms, namely nuisance alarms and low-battery chirps.”

“In a research report Thursday, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said Apple’s rumored iWatch smartwatch would act more as a home control device than an extension of the iPhone. He said the smartwatch would allow people to control ‘heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc.’ That sounds right up Nest’s alley,” Seitz writes. “Nest would make a good fit with Apple, but it’s unlikely the privately held firm would sell right now, says Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Tony Fadell introduces Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector – October 8, 2013
Tony Fadell, Father of the iPod: From Apple to Nest Labs, always a designer – July 24, 2013
How Tony ‘Father of the iPod’ Fadell reinvented the thermostat with Nest – and what’s coming next – February 15, 2013
‘Father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell on Apple’s unique design process (with video) – January 19, 2013

37 Comments

  1. OK, they have a thermostat and a smoke/CO detector, (looks around house) what’s next, a Nest doorbell? Maybe a weather station?

    Electronic door locks are already out there, maybe they can be improved, too?

    1. How many keys do you carry in your pocket? There’s a company out there that makes a module that drops into your front door latch assembly that recognizes when you approach it carrying your fob. Never fumble with keys again. Never forget to lock the door when you leave. Get the picture?

          1. You better still keep your keys handy because if the batteries get low it won’t power the lock. I have one by Kwikset & it happened to my wife while I was away.

      1. Yeah but…
        My car works the same way, sorta.
        I don’t know how many times I’ve walked up to my car and notice that it was left unlocked. Very disconcerting. Not sure I’d want that for my house. I far prefer the positive reinforcement of *doing something* to ensure the house is locked or unlocked.

      2. …. until your battery dies or hackers crack the electronic “security”. Established locksmiths have attempted to sell electronic door locks for a long time, and none of them seems to be in great demand, for many reasons. Fundamentally they just don’t improve significantly over the value offered by a simple brass keyset. When the lockset offers fingerprint recognition and costs no more than twice what a standard mechanical lockset costs, then there might be some increased market demand.

        Reality is that home automation has become ludicrously stupid, offering half-assed “solutions” for problems that users don’t have. Taking one key off a keychain of a dozen keys just doesn’t improve the quality of one’s life that much. Think also about those motorized “environmentally responsible” paper towel dispensers in public bathrooms. Replacing decent towels that can be washed and re-used for years, these contraptions do a crappy job of dispensing disposable towels using problematic sensors — while also filling landfills with dead batteries. What an immense step forward for businesses too lazy to launder towels.

    2. Home Automation is starting to make a move. The story from the other day that the iWatch may play a part in home automation means Apple has to find a company that does that type of tech. Nest may not be a total home automation company, but it’s not a big leap from what they’re currently doing, to full blown home automation. Motion sensors in things like thermostats and smoke detectors are less obtrusive than hanging single purpose motion sensors on walls.

      While the Next smoke / CO detectors are cool, I was really hoping that Nest’s next step was to include iBeacons in their Thermostat … the Thermostat would then know when connected iDevices were, or weren’t, in the house and could shut down the HVAC system even quicker than waiting for 2 hours of inactivity from the motion sensor.

  2. Well it’s about building home automation, starting with must have technology. I have doubts that Apple would be interested in them. If Apple does buy them, I would be happy, only if they left them be, and work out a whole home technology in some form of collaboration.

    1. Hey, Apple is in the business of integrating communications in large markets.

      1st: Smart electronics that communicate in every single person’s home is EASILY their unstated goal starting with the iwatch if I guess right.

      2nd: People say “iWatch”, but don’t forget there are also pocket watches.

      There is more to the home “functions” device than you might think. Anyone ever have a faucet left on or pipe break or stove still on when it shouldn’t be or when you leave the house or any security function left to do?

      I do not think it will be a slam dunk to get it right and make significant inroads, but if anyone can do it I think Apple can because of its firm base in all the technology and mating devices.

  3. I love Nest, and they have a great group of people working there, but Apple acquiring them just wouldn’t make sense. The market they’re in just isn’t big enough to be worth the time and attention it would take to re-integrate them with Apple.

    -jcr

    1. Why would they have to be re-integrated into Apple? They could become a sort of ‘skunkworks’ for Apple. Doing their own thing, with Apple tech underpinning it, and working on special projects as well as what they currently do.

      Actually, it’s brilliant because it takes Apple even deeper into the whole “connected home.”

    2. Do you know how many homes are built in a year? Public Service offers thermostat upgrades to home owners in NJ in an attempt to conserve energy. The units they’re using are POS. I think it’s actually quite a lucrative market.

  4. The Nest thermostat is amazing. I’m really looking forward to the smoke detector. There are a lot of things that aren’t connected yet, and I look at around the house and think that the people who make this obsolete crap should be embarrassed. Doorbells, door locks, garage doors, gates, lighting systems, sprinkler systems, curtains, and more…

    I could see Nest as being a good purchase for Apple. The thermostat is *very* Apple-like. If they continue with the connected everything, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, that could work pretty well.

    1. All of Apple’s speakers sound like crap. Why spread the cancer? There are hundreds of audio specialists who can, and do, offer better quality and value in audio equipment. Apple would be wise to DELETE speakers in its devices since it has never demonstrated any ability in high-quality audio.

  5. I would see this as more of a filemaker situation. Other than integrating well with Apple products they could remain autonomous, but Apple would get the benefit and be able to bring stuff on board if they wanted later on.

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