homekit May 12

AAPL: 90.34

-2.17
Stock Chart

A recent patent filed by Apple and discovered by PatentlyApple hints at ways in which Apple is planning to make its HomeKit platform smarter. The patent, published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is for an “automated environment” in which HomeKit would be able to track the routines of users and implement automated behaviors based on those habits.

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homekit May 9

AAPL: 92.79

0.07
Stock Chart

Since HomeKit was introduced with iOS 8, one major missing piece from Apple’s home automation effort has been a built-in app that provides a user interface to the underlying framework. Interacting with Siri is the only Apple-supplied HomeKit UI; users rely on third-party apps instead for all visual HomeKit management.

The downside to this approach is that there isn’t officially one HomeKit app to rule them all, and companies that make great smart home sensors and accessories don’t necessarily make great software. Compare that to Apple’s HealthKit framework which connects various App Store apps to a single dashboard in the built-in Health app. The approach isn’t perfect, but a similar effort for HomeKit would be welcomed.

The good news is Apple’s been developing a built-in HomeKit app for a while now, and a rumor surfaced over the weekend that such an app could finally be ready for iOS 10. As a close HomeKit follower, I’m very curious to see what iOS 10 may have in store for Apple’s home automation effort, but my first thought is that there are a few gems among the current crop of HomeKit apps that Apple may not compete with well even from its position as the platform owner…

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homekit May 7

AAPL: 92.72

-0.52
Stock Chart
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homekit April 28

AAPL: 94.83

-2.99
Stock Chart

Like a lot of new technologies from Apple these days, HomeKit isn’t perfect but the parts that work well are really useful. Apple’s home automation framework connects smart accessories from various companies all under the control of Siri and HomeKit apps like Home or Hesperus. But HomeKit is relatively young still and there’s plenty of low hanging fruit in terms of ways the framework could improve with iOS 10 and beyond. Here are a few ideas I hope we see with HomeKit this year:

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August Home unveiled its second-generation Smart Lock with an updated industrial design and Siri control through HomeKit last October. Starting this week, August’s Bluetooth-connected deadbolt is available to purchase from Amazon and Best Buy after a lengthy pre-order period (although stock appears slim so far).

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homekit April 25

AAPL: 105.08

-0.60
Stock Chart

Apple doesn’t include a Home app for HomeKit like it does a Health app for HealthKit, but Matthias Hochgatterer’s Home app is a worthy solution for anyone diving into Apple’s Siri-controlled home automation platform. In testing various HomeKit-compatible smart accessories, Home for iOS has been a critical piece of the puzzle in making everything work correctly and reliably.

Siri controls HomeKit, but third-party apps from various accessory makers are needed for creating scenes and triggers that really make home automation come to life. Eve does the best job of making one app for all HomeKit accessories, but a dedicated HomeKit app with excellent support for all accessories is ideal. Home, which costs $14.99 but is available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, is a rather essential purchase for having a good experience with Apple’s HomeKit.

Last week we shared the latest HomeKit app on the market, Hesperus, which features an approachable design and customization options at no cost but lacks iPad and Apple Watch apps and Notification Center widgets for now. I mentioned Home for iOS, which is obviously pricier up front, and noted how its Settings-like design can feel cold in comparison. Over the weekend, however, Home for iOS reached version 1.6, which includes tweaks to how accessories are organized plus some nice iconography that I think really enhances the overall design.

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