CES 2014: how about MFi air conditioner?


This year’s Consumer Electronics Show is currently underway in Las Vegas and even though Apple isn’t an exhibitor, its influence can be felt in so many ways. If anything, the show appears to have ushered in an era of iPhone-controlled everything, from Parrot’s latest drones (and other iOS-enabled toys) and the world’s first app-connected toothbrush to a smart sleep tracking system by Withings, to name a few.

A Chinese manufacturer called Haier has now announced it’s become the world’s first appliance vendor to have been labeled with Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) certification logo, which ensures its accessories meet Apple’s exacting standards in terms of quality and performance.

Haier’s first product to bear the MFi logo is a smart air conditioner dubbed Tianzun controllable from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad device…

A media release states that customers will be able to complete the setup procedure in a companion app by connecting their air conditioner to a local Wi-Fi network.

The live demonstration showed that Haier’s air conditioner could match the phone automatically and the user could set up parameters for the air conditioner directly without registration, setup password or any other complicated and time-consuming operations when connected to WiFi.

They will be launching additional MFi-labeled smart appliances over time, including water heaters, ovens, intelligent home accessories and the like.

You may wonder why all the fuss?

As Haier is now the only appliance enterprise to have been successfully authorized by Apple’s MFi program, other vendors should follow suit. And that’ll be a real boon for Apple’s initiative, which up until today used to be confined to iPhone accessories like charging docks, speakers and, as of late, iOS 7 game controllers.

Besides, MFi is a nice market differentiator for certified vendors.

Apple’s testing standards are very strict – the company typically requires credible guarantees in terms of product design, quality, performance, ease of use and compatibility.

“Once authorized and certified, electronics manufacturers and design companies gain world-leading competitiveness in product innovation, quality and user experience,” Haier states.

Whichever way you look at it, it does make a lot of sense to use our iOS devices to control smart fridges, ovens, washing machines and other home appliances, no?

Home automation has been ripe for disruption for a while and Apple’s device, services and software ecosystem could play a key role in making it happen.

iDownloadBlog is scrutinizing Apple-related CES announcements closely so you don’t have to – check out our CES 2014 archive.