The long awaited Apple HomeKit failed to make an impression at this year’s WWDC. In fact, the smart home device, which was largely overshadowed by Apple’s iPhone 6 products and Apple Watch, was only showcased for a few moments at Apple’s annual conference. That said, Apple have not let HomeKit fall by the wayside and it is still one of their most highly anticipated products.
What is HomeKit?
According to Apple’s developer website, “HomeKit is a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home.” Controlled via an app on your iPhone or iPad, HomeKit will allow users to control lighting, garage doors and even a BBQ through their third-party developer program.
And here is the kicker. Only those developers which get the nod of approval from Apple’s MFi Program can make products for HomeKit. While this list is not endless, Apple has confirmed that over a dozen companies are currently working with HomeKit to develop compatible devices. These partnerships include some notably established smart home companies including Honeywell, Phillips and Haier.
Who are Apples HomeKit partners?
Haier Tianzun Air Conditioner
Chinese manufacturer, Haier, recently announced that its Tianzun smart air conditioner was the first of its smart products to meet Apple’s MFi standards. As an Apple certified developer, Haier’s products are specifically made for Apple’s products including HomeKit. The air conditioner connects over Wi-Fi to Apple devices and is able to be controlled remotely via an iPhone or iPad.
August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock is a Bluetooth compatible deadlock that syncs with Apple’s iOS system to allow entry to your home. It can be programmed to allow guests at certain times, notify you when someone knocks at the front door and takes less than ten minutes to install.
Using your iPhone, the Phillips Hue light bulbs let you adjust lighting levels to suit your mood. Philips lightbulbs have recently been featured in the App Store with two new additions – dubbed Friends of Hue. These include a portable Bloom LED light bulb and stick-able LightStrips.
Chamberlaine MQ Garage
An Apple certified partner, this WiFi connected automatic garage door opener uses GPS to pinpoint your car’s location and automatically shuts behind you when the car is safe inside. The app can be purchased from the iTunes Store, though you will need to install the hardware to your garage door (rrp $129.99USD)
Withings Smart Baby Monitor
Withings are market leaders in creating smart products that sync with your home. The Withings Baby Monitor is a video camera that streams footage directly to your iPhone or iPad. With an environment monitor that can track temperature, humidity, noise and movement this baby monitor is set to be a leader in its field.
iDevices iGrill Mini
Breaking into the home automation space with a device that allows you cook perfect burgers with your iPhone, this nifty device that lets you check the temperature of your food as well as graph the temperature progression of your perfectly charged steak.
With a clean interface and smooth lines, the SkyBell is HomeKit’s doorman. The WiFi syncs with iOS 8 and has a video camera that lets you see and speak to your guests. In addition, a motion sensor ensures you’re always aware if someone is at the front door.
Apple’s answer to Google’s Nest, the Honeywell Lyric is a smart thermostat that can adjust the temperature in the home based on your presence. The Lyric also takes into account indoor and outdoor temperatures as well as humidity to set its thermostat.
iHome are an array of audio products that have received the Apple licence to work with their iPad and iPhone. From rechargeable Bluetooth speakers to docking stations with alarm capabilities, the iHome will complete the ambience of an Apple HomeKit smart home.
What about Apple’s own products?
If you are worried that HomeKit is going to be just a platform to be populated by third-party partnerships, think again. Apple have released on their website that HomeKit will have some unique Apple features, including Siri.
“By delivering a common protocol, HomeKit securely pairs and allows easy control over individual or groups of devices throughout the house. With Siri® integration you can say, “Good morning,” and have the lights turn on in specific rooms, the thermostat adjust the temperature and the garage door open.”
It will be interesting to see how Apple plays out in the smart home market place, especially with the other big players, Samsung, Google and Microsoft all producing some exciting products of their own.