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Are environmental sensors coming to the iPhone?

Marco Tabini | Sept. 1, 2014
The rumor mill is buzzing with claims that the soon-to-be-released iPhone could be much more aware of the world around it than its predecessors.

The data generated by these sensors could be very useful in conjunction with Apple's upcoming HomeKit technology: By figuring out what the conditions inside your house are, iOS could help manage your heating so as to create comfortable conditions wherever you are. In fact, in a not-so-distant future in which wearable technologies and home automation are commonplace, the sensors would provide "hyperlocal" information that might make it possible to manage the climate inside your house at a very fine level, so that, for example, only the room you're in is heated, reducing the amount of energy wasted in the process.

dark sky maps
Local weather apps, like Dark Sky, could potentially take advantage of crowdsourced weather data. 

And let's not forget that the scale at which iOS operates opens up a number of other interesting applications. Considering that there are hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users, the introduction of environmental sensors might one day turn each device into a miniature weather station, allowing scientists to measure climate in places and with a detail hitherto impossible to achieve.

Of course, this is all still wild speculation at this point; given the possibilities, however, I will definitely keep my fingers crossed that, come September 9, our iPhones will be more aware of their surroundings than ever.


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