Although Apple’s execs have promised to bring the Internet of Things and home automation to the iOS system through the company’s HomeKit smart home platform, no launches occurred in 2014. The company announced their take on the home automation concept at the same time that iOS8 was unveiled, back in June. Many tech experts expected the Apple HomeKit to be released at this year’s WWDC, but the new system barely rated a mention. It seems that the platform was not quite up to Apple’s standard by the time WWDC rolled around and it’s like due to that third-party manufacturers are still in the process of becoming Homekit certified by Apple. As a result, the launch will now likely be the big news of the next Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas in January 2015.
Both consumers and tech journos are buzzing at the theory that the first batch of products for the system will be ready next year. So what exactly is the company’s new HomeKit system?
According to Apple, HomeKit introduces a new way for buyers to control any supported devices in their home using Siri. Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, explained the system at WWDC. He said, “In addition to being able to control individual devices in your home, with HomeKit you can group devices and changes into scenes, and then with Siri integration you can say something like ‘get ready for bed’ and be sure that your garage door is closed, your door is locked, the thermostat is lowered, your lights are dimmed. That’s HomeKit.”
HomeKit will enable users to control each connected device in their house from their iOS hub, using Siri. The smart home technology will work with a variety of products from many different makers. Simply by voicing a command to Siri, buyers will be able to control anything from door locks, cameras and alarm systems to lighting, switches and thermostats.
Right now, some of the companies known to be creating HomeKit-compatible products are Phillips, Haier, Honeywell, and Elgato. There’s also iHome, Osram, Chamberlaine, and Marvell to add to the list. Furthermore, U.S. firm iDevices has announced a significant USD$10M investment in the HomeKit system. The company’s founder and CEO, Chris Allen, said that, “Apple’s entry into home automation was a pivot-point in the industry, bringing order to chaos. We immediately recognised the opportunity presented”.
One of the product ranges being integrated into the HomeKit is the Hue variety of network-connected bulbs made by Phillips. Haier’s Tianzun smart air conditioner is on the list too. Also in the mix is Belkin’s range of WeMo products, and the MyQ Smartphone Garage Door Opener created by Chamberlaine.
For more information on Apple’s HomeKit system, head to the company’s developer page online. Once the system and any related products have been released, updates are likely to be posted here too.