It was over a year ago that Apple introduced the idea of HomeKit and earlier still that people were speculating about what (if any) moves Apple might make in the smarthome space. When Apple announced HomeKit, it left us with more questions than answers. Now we know a bit more.
HomeKit is a framework for managing and controlling connected devices in your home—things like smart thermostats, connected bulbs, smart locks, and more (which Apple calls “accessories”). This framework is baked into iOS 8 and later and offers a means for manufacturers to allow their products to work together. It also gives your i-devices control of these accessories through device manufacturers’ own apps or even through Siri.
After lots of news, speculation, and misunderstanding, the first wave of HomeKit-ready products is finally hitting the market. Similar to Apple’s Made for iPhone program, devices compatible with HomeKit will all wear a “Works with Apple HomeKit” logo on their packaging. What’s important to note is that many of the HomeKit products we’ll see rolling out are products that are already on shelves today, but only those devices wearing the spiffy new Works with Apple HomeKit badge will, indeed, work with HomeKit. So if you’re buying one of these products, and you want it to work with other HomeKit devices, make sure it has that logo!
These are the first available devices:
Eve. Elgato surprised everyone last fall when they announced a line of connected home devices, including lighting and sensors. Elgato’s line of Eve sensors is HomeKit compatible, and they are available for pre-order from just under $40 to $80.
Many more HomeKit accessories are expected over the coming months. Lots of companies discussed products they were making for use with HomeKit, and GE recently made a big splash with little information about their plans to enter the space. Additionally, Philips just announced that all Philips hue lights will work with HomeKit sometime this fall. Thought they’re not specifying how this will work, we expect that you’ll need to swap out your hub with an updated version at an additional cost.
With the small amount of information Apple has shared publicly about HomeKit and this sudden launch of new products, there’s a good deal of consumer confusion—even in the press covering the space. One thing is certain: there’s still a lot to learn about HomeKit. We’ll continue to watch the market as manufacturers introduce new products and report about some of them here. And for ongoing coverage of the smarthome space, check out The Digital Media Zone’s podcast, Home: On, covering the latest in home automation and control for DIY consumers and enthusiasts.