iGen.fr has an interesting tidbit about a private press briefing from Apple in New York seemingly timed before next week’s iPhone 7 event. The site notes that the briefing is related to HomeKit somehow, although details are unclear about what exactly is discussed during the private meeting, and speculates that it could be related to the rumored Siri Speaker that would compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home.
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It’s also possible that Apple is simply demoing HomeKit’s improvements in iOS 10 (which iGen mentions). HomeKit is vastly improved in iOS 10 thanks to a new Apple Home app that lets you setup and manage smart home accessories and access quick actions from Control Center.
- Hands-on: iOS 10 + watchOS 3 Home app for HomeKit on iPhone, iPad, & Apple Watch
- iOS 10 promotes iPad to HomeKit remote access device like Apple TV, both now run automation
- Download iOS 10’s HomeKit Home app wallpapers for iPhone and iPad
- August, Canary, Withings, D-Link, Ring & others confirm Apple HomeKit support coming w/ iOS 10
New automation triggers like sunset and sunrise and new hardware categories like doorbells and security cams also bolster Apple’s smart home framework, but demoing these capabilities would require unreleased products with newer firmware versions than what’s publicly available. For example, August’s Smart Doorbell Cam includes a HomeKit-approved chip but doesn’t have the necessary firmware update to work with the Home app yet. (August’s Smart Lock also needs a firmware update to work with the iOS 10 Home app).
It is curious that Apple would schedule a private press demonstration ahead of a major media event, however, but the HomeKit audience could also focus on non-tech media that covers general home-buidling news. A dedicated space with HomeKit hardware setup would also make sense.