Last June at WWDC, Apple’s developer conference in San Francisco, the Cupertino, California company revealed a new set of developer tools for building better apps on its platform. One of those tools included HomeKit, a set of tools for bridging iPhones and iPads to home automation products creating a standard and preventing developers from having to roll the same necessary solutions every single time a connected device is developed. This is how Apple describes HomeKit:
HomeKit is a new framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in a user’s home. Apps can enable users to discover devices in their home and configure them, or you can create actions to control those devices. Users can group actions together and trigger them using Siri.
Many have speculated that Apple’s introduction of HomeKit serves as a precursor to Apple’s own entry into developing home automation appliances and products. 9to5Mac reported late last month that Apple is indeed said to be developing mainstream Smart Home hardware.
Currently Apple is relying on third party companies to endorse its HomeKit technology and using its own endorsement to certify and push products developed from those partners.
These smart home accessories rely on software running on iPhones and iPads for control and remote interaction, but a recent blog post on ipack3d.com entitled “The Missing Piece in Apple’s HomeKit – iControl” believes Apple’s iOS devices lack the proper sensors to make them proper home automation controllers.
In my opinion, current iOS devices (iPhone & iPad), are not well suited for Apples HomeKit & Home Automation for a number of key reasons:
• The lack of ZigBee, Z-Wave, IR prevents compatibility with hundreds of existing Home Automation devices. • Many members of a household still do not own their iOS device (small children, grandparents, ……). • Limited battery life for Home Automation.
A crucial hardware piece that is missing in the Apple Home Automation ecosystem, is a device / hub that would be in the centre of the living room, to control “Smart Home”. The simplest way to describe this gizmo is that it is a cross between a universal remote control and an iPod Touch with lots of connectivity options and sensors built into it.
Maybe the author is on to something with this iControl theory using additional sensors, but having yet another device to rely on sort of discounts the convenience of actually having the device already in your pocket be your control, and these hardware mockups have me hoping my home doesn’t get too smart. See for yourself…