Apple should buy Logitech's Harmony Remote Control Division

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Logitech recently announced that they're selling several lines of business, including their Harmony remote control division, and while there hasn't even been a whispered rumor about Apple among the suitors, Apple should be considering the purchase.

Apple doesn't necessarily need to purchase Logitech's Harmony division... but they should seriously consider co-opting what Harmony used to do well in the remote-control market. Apple's expertise in user-interfaces could deliver a remote control device that would act as a central hub for home entertainment and automation. 

And the best way to do that may be by purchasing Harmony - if only for the IP and the optics. 

To the extent that Logitech is selling patented tech with the Harmony division, that tech could help Apple in developing the iRemote. And even if no helpful patent or tech is included in the sale, the acquisition of a major remote-control maker like Harmony would demonstrate - conclusively - that Apple has its mind set on dominating and disrupting in this market. 

I certainly don't want Apple to release plastic remote controls covered in glossy buttons, like the Harmony One was. But something along the lines of last year's Harmony Touch (pictured above), with Apple branding, primarily made from aluminum, and with an iPhone 5 quality (and sized) touchscreen, would be a must-buy.

More to the point, as I've previously written, the iPad mini - while awesome - is a product that needs a purpose. The mini is defined by what it isn't, rather than what it is. The mini isn't as expensive as an iPad! It isn't as big as an iPad! It isn't quite as fast as an iPad! In every way, it's marketed as "a little bit less than" an iPad. 

That's all well and good - the mini's sales prove that there was room in the market for a little, slow-ish iPad. 

But Apple - in it's new, successful, return-of-Jobs incarnation - has never been a company that sold "less-than" products. It sells products that are objects of desire, and practically objects of art. Dreams made real. They cost more, but they're status symbols, and their purchasers are proud to be seen with them.

The iPad mini is one of those products - but only barely. Its value proposition is, essentially, that they've managed to cram an entire iPad 2 into a far smaller case. 

But is that really all there is? Why not add some unique functionality to the iPad mini? Why not make it a fully featured iPad - and by adding IR/RF, 1-2 hard buttons, and a centralized remote control app platform - make the iPad mini into the greatest remote control on the planet? 

That would be a classic Apple move - entering, disrupting, and totally dominating a new tech market (high-end remotes), while creating synergy for their existing product ecosystem. This new iRemote platform would not only drive sales of iPad minis - it would drive sales of the AppleTVs that it controlled and sent AirPlay content to. It would drive sales of iTunes content. 

And it would finally, conclusively establish a beachhead for the Apple logo in living rooms around the world. 

I don't know that Apple needs to purchase Harmony in order to make this happen. And obviously, this entire premise depends upon the purchase price. (Although Apple is sitting on literal piles of money, and Harmony lost money for Logitech last year, so it would appear feasible at first blush.) 

But if Apple is interested in the living room (and on that question, all signs point to yes) this purchase could get them through the door, while giving a new and exciting purpose to an existing product line. 


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