Chinese consumer electronics giant Haier has pulled the curtain back on a new appliance called Tianzun – a standalone smart air conditioning system that also happens to be the first connected appliance that meet’s Apple’s rigorous MFi standards: a set of requirements which certify that third-party products are up to snuff in terms of design, quality, and iOS compatibility.
Showcased at CES 2014 last week in Las Vegas, the futuristic and impeccably-well designed Tianzun AC unit connects to your iOS devices automatically, allowing you to control the air conditioning and adjust the temperature in the room remotely via Haier’s companion app. As per Apple’s ease-of-use standards, Tianzun is designed to be completely plug and play, so you can use your iOS device to control it right away without going through any sort of setup or registration process. The unit will come complete with Apple’s “Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad” seal of approval.
This is significant for a number of reasons, but the most notable is that up until this point, MFi certification has historically been reserved for third-party accessories like docks, chargers, game controllers, and connectors; so this expansion into the realm of home appliances marks a big step for Apple. Perhaps in the future we’ll see Cupertino dip its toes further into the connected home market in 2014.
Later on down the road, Haier plans on expanding its strategy to include other home appliances. Things like water heaters and ovens are reportedly in the works, as well as an “industrial home architecture” that the company claims will turn all of its connected home appliances into Web-connected terminals.