When it comes to smart home platforms, Apple HomeKit’s been sort of like the ugly stepchild. Smart home devices were much slower to adopt it than Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and even though it works well, it required a bit more research to make sure the devices you were buying specifically supported it.
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I've been adding a bunch of smart home devices to my home. It's part of an ongoing experiment to see what I can do to make my life easier, my home safer and to save some money on power bills. But I'm finding that I keep hitting some roadblocks. And while I do hit the odd technical roadblock, I'm finding that the biggest problems stem from the intransigence of vendors.
When unexplained delays pushed Apple's smart speaker back from a 2017 debut, Apple said it needed "a little more time before it's ready" and promised an "early 2018" release. Now it seems Apple is making good on its revised launch window, as the HomePod will officially go on sale on February 9.
Slowly but surely, Apple is been threatening to creep into the smart home market. The company just took one more small step by announcing that it's HomeKit software will give you access to connected home devices from anywhere in the world by using iCloud. And the software will finally work on a whole bunch of products.
Early rumours may have hinted that Apple had a fully integrated smart home up its sleeve. But after a few WWDCs, we know that's not the case. And it's unclear what developers are going to do with Apple's HomeKit, a piecemeal tease that implies you'll soon be able to control your smart toaster with your iPhone. But in the meantime, we have this Microsoft concept video from circa 1999, showing the amazing interconnected smart home of tomorrow.
In the home of the future, there will be no light switches, but the light will always be perfect, syncing itself with the sun and adjusting to your circadian rhythm. The smart home vision for future of lighting is energy efficient and completely responsive. And according to Stack, that future is now.
Instead of jumping head first into the smart home market by allowing iOS users to (finally) control all of their connected appliances and devices from a single app, Apple has instead decided to tip-toe through the connected home's front door with a new API that ensures everything can be securely connected wirelessly, and controlled using Siri voice commands.