After a sluggish start, Apple HomeKit is gradually speeding up with the launch of the recent iOS 8. Introduced worldwide during the WWDC2014 in San Francisco, the HomeKit is hoping to reinvent the wireless home automation experience.

Reinventing a relatively new technology
A smart home is not exactly a revolutionary idea. In this decade, manufacturers have already begun to integrate appliances such as televisions, fridges and A/C systems with smartphone automation features. However, what Apple seems to want to do is to provide a whole new home experience by consolidating control over all of the aspects of the home.

This means, for example, that you can tell Siri to “get ready for bed” and this command will automatically dim your bedroom lights, pull the blinds down, adjust the A/C to your evening preset, and presumably lock the doors.

Security and partner manufacturers
The developer presentation at WWDC2014 mentioned the importance of security and privacy. They illustrated how all of the home data collected and generated by each appliance from any partner manufacturer gets sent to the Apple common database, which is in turn accessible by those same manufacturers. He pointed out end-to-end encryption between iOS devices and home appliances as a solution to the security and privacy question. All of these features are implemented through MFi (Made For iPhone) standards that every partner manufacturer has to comply with in order to get licensed.

Obviously, Apple wants to get it right, which is why it’s been focusing on implementing its security and privacy paradigm with its MFi standards program.

Coming very soon
Apple has just finalized their MFi program, and more third-party hardware manufacturers are expected very soon, after having worked HomeKit into AppleTV. Here are a few interesting products that have been confirmed to work with HomeKit: August (smartlock), Philips Hue, Chamberlain MQ Garage, Netatmo Weather Station, and Withings Smart Baby Monitor.

12 Comments
  1. I’ve got a washing machine that I can delay its wash cycle by 9 hours, so I put it on overnight before I go to bed and it’s all ready in the morning. I use that all the time. Then I think about all the other things that could be automated: dishwashing, lights, A/C. The thing that really excites me about HomeKit is that I can set it all up and maintain it from one place. It’s like a glue that holds all that great technology together. Let’s hope it works well through simple Siri commands like you suggest.

    • I’ve got one too and it saves me so much time. I set it so the wash cycle ends 10 minutes before I return from work so it’s all ready for me to put out to dry once I get home.

  2. This sounds great, but I bet it’s going to be a really expensive upgrade, at least for most home owners out there. I’d think it twice before spending cash on something like this. I can’t deny this is a perfect home improvement upgrade for all those tech savvy people out there, specially for the ones who can afford it and are actually happy to invest on this.

  3. This is what I’ve been waiting for all my life! Seamless technological integration in you living space is the way of the future. This is particularly relevant for me as I’m going to be refurbishing an old property, and I want to incorporate this modern marvel into the house before I finish everything. I might look at other brands and other kits though before sticking with Apple.

  4. This seems like a risky investment to me, due to the fact that the homes that will be using this must agree to a contract. Apple is taking a big leap here, and I wish them the best. Hopefully they can use information from this product to further their company.

    • They’ve certainly got more money than they can actually spend right now so they can afford to take risks such as this. If it ends up being a loser, they’ll still be quids in!

  5. I hope I am fortunate enough to have experienced living in a home with Apple HomeKit. I often imagine working for Apple and I could just picture myself behind the scenes, following up on leads, making friendly calls over Skype, saying things like, “Would you like to optimize your earning power with iAd? It’s lower i, capital A, and d. As in delta. Yes, delta.” Selling Home Smarthome Automation Kit, and spending the holidays over at the Bahamas. On my success story it would say, “it all started with an app.”

  6. This reminds me of those Amazon buttons they announced on the first of April, and everyone thought it was a April Fools joke, but it was not! Amazon’s idea for those buttons was the following: they had little buttons which you could put around your house, like for soda for example, and when you’ve run out of it, you would press that button and it sent an order to get you more soda! Of course you had to synchronize all this before.

    • Those aren’t bad ideas at all, but a more flexible system (think a purpose built touchpad for the fridge, instead of a button) with wide ranging capabilities would help more. Amazon being the master of the modern mail order era is working on something bigger than refill buttons, I expect. Whatever they come out with, I expect it to be the Kindle of next-generation consumer goods supply.

  7. I think it’s good. I think it’s actually helpful to some people, while to others it might be annoying :/ But the fact that Apple is working on such things to help people save time, and do it automated, that’s really good, personally though, it’s not for me.

  8. The time home automation can save you . . .

    I wonder how this will shape up when more companies start getting interested in home automation. Apple might have been the first but when the other players wade in, will we be seeing more improvements and Apple leaving all their competitors in the dust . . .

    It’s us consumers who’ll benefit from all these anyway — so no complaints 🙂

  9. Even though I’m not a big fan of the idea of having a smart house because I think that it’s kind of scary, I have to admit that I love the idea of not having to turn on and off the lights, checking doors and getting ready the Ac, sometimes we’re too tired (or lazy) to get these things done. And I’m pretty sure that in about 10 years, most of the houses would be smart… let’s see how this turns out.

Leave a Reply