New Software Will Allow Users to Have More Control of Their Surroundings
Apple took a dive into the connected home at its Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday with its official announcement of Home Kit, which will allow the iPhone or iPad to become the remote control for the house.
Apple HomeKit isn’t a new home automation hub, a smart home device or even a kit. It’s a protocol built into the new iOS 8 that allows iPhones and iPads to communicate wirelessly with smart home devices.
Apple is giving consumers with an iOS device the ability to control their home from what sounds like one app, or via a common UI on existing partners’ apps. Apple CEO Tim Cook said users could even group certain disparate apps together and control them via one command, such as turning off the lights and locking the door by telling Siri that you are leaving.
"We thought we could bring some rationality to this space," Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said while demonstrating HomeKit.
Apple came up with a common network protocol, so not only can an iPhone be used to open smart locks, but virtual assistant Siri can dim lights and lower thermostat settings when told "Get ready for bed."
Apple has also brought the chip companies on board, as it needs to do since it is touting a “common network protocol” with secure pairing so only your iPhone can talk to your garage. Companies such as Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Cree and Marvell have already been building Apple’s specs into their connected device platforms.
WWDC doesn't announce the next iPhone and iPad hardware but the software reveals the future: Apple is describing the blank canvas on which the apps will work and the next generation of hardware will exploit.
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers have access to the revolutionary App Store, which offers more than 1.2 million apps in 155 countries around the world. The App Store receives more than 300 million visitors each week and iOS users have downloaded more than 75 billion apps.
By welcoming select third-party vendors, by focusing on context, and by launching an array of user-centric features that let people live their lives instead of manage their homes, Apple is setting itself up to be a significant player in the smart home — albeit only for those that are buying into the Apple ecosystem.