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:
homekit April 28
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).
homekit April 25
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.
homekit April 22
Early adopters of Apple’s HomeKit home automation framework tend to notice one thing early on: there’s no real UI beyond Siri. HomeKit helps bridge functionality between various smart home accessories which tend to each have their own connected apps using Siri, but Apple hasn’t released a Home app in the same way it made Health for HealthKit.
Instead, users rely on a folder full of third-party apps from accessory makers, some of which are better than others, or a highly functional but somewhat pricey third-party app called Home to give HomeKit the UI it needs. Today there’s a new app on the market called Hesperus, which is free to use and has a friendly, customizable interface.
homekit February 29
If you’re looking to upgrade your home appliances and add Siri control, then HomeKit is a key feature you’ll want to look for when buying new hardware. The number of HomeKit-compatible smart thermostats is continuing to grow with Honeywell’s Lyric Round Wi-Fi Thermostat (2nd-gen) as the latest to hit the market.
Among competing thermostats, the basic premise is the same: Wi-Fi connectivity lets you remotely control heating and cooling from mobile apps, and intelligence using location and the Internet let you add some home automation. The pay off is potentially a lower energy bill and the cool factor of controlling the temperature with Siri.
Having recently reviewed the ecobee3 HomeKit thermostat as well, I’ll be using it as a comparison below to highlight what makes Honeywell’s Lyric Round smart thermostat different.
homekit February 19
In case you missed Apple’s fight with the FBI this week, the launch of Apple in China, or any of the other big Apple stories we’ve covered, below we’ve rounded up this week’s top stories and recommended reading to get you up to date over the weekend. Enjoy. expand full story