How Apple’s Homekit is Going to Change the Way We Think About Our Home.
Apple’s Homekit is a feature available to app developers to help them incorporate Apple’s personal assistant, Siri, into their household products’ functionality. In other words, we’ll soon be able to control and manage such things as our thermostat, lights, garage door, front door lock and other everyday household appliances and other items with just our voice.
All of us iPhone owners are already aware that Siri can fulfill our desire to know what the weather is like outside (or halfway across the world, if we need to know how to pack for our next vacation), how many tablespoons are in a liter, and we can also get a bedtime story read to us if we ask enough times. As well as common, everyday functions, buying movie tickets, and getting the current score to a baseball game in progress, Siri’s next iteration (coming as part of iOS 8) will also allow developers to let Siri control just about every aspect of your home.
Almost everyone is familiar with the Nest Thermostat (but if you’re not, check out our review of the Nest here), which already has an iPhone & iPad app, but with Homekit, you’ll be able to tell Siri (from anywhere you have an internet connection) that you want the heat turned up before you get home… with just the sound of your voice.
As well as the Nest, there are also other products like the Philips Hue, a system of wi-fi connected lights that allow you to adjust their color and brightness, as well as power them on and off from any smartphone with an internet connection. With homekit, if you forgot to shut your lights off on your way to work, you’ll be able to do so just by telling Siri to turn them off. It’ll be that simple!
There’s also the Kevo Smart Lock, a deadbolt lock for your front door, the Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener, the Whirlpool Smart Side by Side refrigerator, and a slew of other household appliances (including brand names like iHome, Sylvania, Skybell, Honeywell, and Schlage, just to name a few) that you can currently control with your iPhone using an app that you’ll soon be able to control with just the sound of your voice.
With all of this available functionality in our home, it allows for a whole new level of security, convenience, and safety. Your child is locked out of the house after school, and you’re still at the office? Just tap your home button and say “Siri, open the front door”, and little Bobby or Susie is safe and secure inside. You’re stuck in traffic in the middle of a heatwave? “Siri, cool down the condo” and you’re greeted with a comfortable living room to relax in when you finally get out of traffic. You’ll also be able to set up “scenarios” that will make controlling multiple devices at once extremely simple. For example, you can say to Siri “Siri, it’s bedtime”, and your lights will be dimmed or shut off, your front door will be locked, your garage door will be closed if you forgot to close it, etc. Keep in mind, as well, that these are only the things that we know are going to be available to us when iOS 8 is released. With the imagination and creativity of app developers nowadays, pretty much anything we can think of will probably be possible soon.
iOS 8 is scheduled to be released to the public as a free software update sometime this Fall, with rumor sites speculating at a mid-September release date. Keep an eye out for it and update when you can to have access to Homekit, among many other features, whenever it’s available.