In June, Apple held it’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and—in addition to several new features of OS X, iOS, WatchOS and TVOS—introduced a manual control interface for HomeKit accessories with iOS 10.
People have been waiting with baited breath for this announcement, made by Apple SVP of Software Engineering, Crag Federighi. Serious improvements have been made to HomeKit, first announced at WWDC in 2014, finally making the smart-home controls—smarter.
Users of HomeKit have been wishing for a centralized, Apple-designed app for controlling HomeKit enabled products. For use on the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, Home is Apple’s one-stop HomeKit solution app intended to serve as a fully featured command center for all of HomeKit’s features.
Home offers a simple way to manage all of the connected products in your house and will be fully functional and supported when Home launches as part of iOS this Fall. Home collects control functions for things in your home, like lights and door locks, into a single app. Prior to this, users had to access HomeKit enabled hardware through Siri.
So, when you have the Home app, you’ll have a customizable main screen that will list your favorite Scenes and accessories for easy access. There’s a Settings section that offers options for changing the name of a Scene and to add additional users.
In the Rooms section of the app, new accessories can be added and new Scenes can be created, able to work with all the HomeKit-connected products in your house.
Additionally, there is an Automation feature that allows HomeKit accessories to be set up based on time and location—turning lights on at dark or cranking the air conditioning when you leave work. While the Apple TV serves as a remote hub for HomeKit, in iOS 10, you can also set an iPad to serve as a hub to enable HomeKit devices to work remotely.
Also, with the new Home app, iOS 10 provides support for additional types of HomeKit devices like air conditioners, heaters, air purifiers, humidifiers, cameras, and doorbells.
For example, Home can be set up with a Scene like, “I’m home” which opens the garage door and turns on the lights. Another Scene titled, “Goodnight” can be customized to lock doors, change the temperature and turn off lights.
Home also includes Lock Screen integration for alerts and device status without having to unlock your iPhone and open the app. Users with appropriate hardware, such as a front door camera doorbell, can interact directly with hardware through the Lock Screen.
Apple does still have some work to do. Although the dedicated Home app will ultimately clear the clutter of third-party HomeKit control apps and make HomeKit more visible and understandable, there are still elements that left a lot of users confused and even frustrated.
At iHummingbird, we can simplify the newfound issues users may run in to and make the set up and use of HomeKit for our clients as simple and fantastic as it’s intended to be.