As part of the announcement of its new mobile devices, Apple announced that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max (but not the iPhone 15) are the first smartphones to support the Thread smart home protocol. This will “open up future opportunities for home application integration.”
Thread is a network protocol designed specifically for low-power, low-bandwidth smart home devices. Its purpose is to reduce latency, extend battery life, and improve the reliability of connected devices. In other words, it is designed to make smart lamps respond to a motion sensor as quickly as if you were to flick a regular switch.
Thread is becoming a popular connection protocol for battery-powered smart home gadgets such as sensors, curtains, lights, and locks. One of the possible applications of this protocol in the iPhone is to use it as a Thread border router. Thread devices require a Thread edge router to connect to the Internet and other IP networks, allowing them to be controlled from outside the home and connect to non-Thread devices. It can also enable connectivity between Apple Home devices.
Interestingly, these days it has been reported that Google will allow Android smartphones to become Thread edge routers. The company is working on the Thread network stack for Android. This will allow Android devices to act as Thread edge routers – provided they already have a Thread radio module. There is probably not a single Android smartphone with a Thread radio module. But next month, Google will present new Pixel smartphones.