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Apple Shows Off HomeKit Functionality With New Website, Video Spot

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Apple has updated the HomeKit webpage, including a new video spot demonstrating what the application, using iOS 10, is potentially capable of doing in a room (via 9to5Mac). The 45-second video demonstrates the Home app for iOS 10 in action, showing a woman operating a range of devices from her phone, including the Honeywell Lyric Round thermostat, Kwikset smart lock, and iHome smart plug.

In the video, we see a young woman taking control of various objects connected to the exit of the bed from her iPhone, such as turning on and off the lights, turning on the coffee maker, closing the door, or adjusting the thermostat. Apple clearly wants to demonstrate that all these things can be controlled with Siri voice commands.

Apple also shows off device interconnectivity in the new ad. In one example, the woman tells Siri on Apple TV, “It’s movie time,” which dims the lights and lowers her house blinds. She is later seen issuing commands from a connected iPad Pro.

The commercial has yet to be posted to Apple’s YouTube channel.

In addition to the new ad, Apple has refreshed its HomeKit webpage with new descriptions. The new copy appears to be more direct, to the point, and focused on app functionality. For instance, the accessories section of the webpage is now titled “One app for all your home accessories” rather than “So many accessories. One easy way to control them.”

The revamped Home app page also includes information about HomeKit enabled products, using the Home app in iOS 10, setting up and triggering scenes, Siri integration, using a fourth-generation Apple TV as a smart home hub and more.

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  • andrez1

    Do they show the flaw? The flaw being that only the primary user in a house can have geo-fences. Everyone in the family can control the lights from the Home app, but if they want the lights to come on when they drive up, they have to use the vendor app (e.g. Hue).

  • Vincent Cadieux

    Also, I have a Schlage Sense smartlock and I’ve setup an automation to lock the door when I leave my house and unlock when I came it. Unfortunately, the Home app ask for a confirmation to execute the automation which is completely ridiculous as I am driving my car and I can’t take my phone while driving, therefore the automation does not work at all.

  • That sounds counter-intuitive! Aside from that, how do you like that lock?

  • Vincent Cadieux

    Yeah but I buyed it especially to have it auto-lock/unlock whitout having to enter my NIP…now it just work as a normal keypad lock….I am not using Home app at all…

  • Yeah, I’ve got a Schlage Sense and an August lock, and that’s one of the more irritating limitations of HomeKit — if anything, I can appreciate unlocking the lock requiring authentication, but it shouldn’t be required to simply lock the lock.

    That said, I’m not sure I trust HomeKit (or the related accessories) enough to lock my locks for me when I’m driving away, so I always use HomeKit to do it manually anyway when I’m leaving so I can listen to make sure they’re actually locked.

    Fortunately, Apple did make one improvement in iOS 10.1 in that you can now query the status of your locks without requiring authentication — this is particularly useful for the Apple TV, since there’s otherwise no way to authenticate. Hopefully they’ll bring the same improvement to locking.

    As an aside, this is also where wrist detection comes in handy if you’re an Apple Watch user — I can issue lock-related Siri commands to my wrist and they work fine, so in my case I’m able to simply call out “Lock up” (I have a scene set up for this) when leaving and Siri will take care of it.

  • In my case, I do like the Schlage, although I’ve chosen to use mine on my side door rather than my front door, so I don’t use it as often as my August, which got front-door placement as I also have the August Doorbell Cam, and the two of them integrate outside of HomeKit, so it’s worth using them on the same door.

    The August also provides its own automatic unlocking system apart from HomeKit that’s based on both geofencing AND Bluetooth proximity, so it’s a bit better than simply relying on HomeKit would be, which could potentially unlock your doors when you’re still half a kilometre away from home, or when you wander in and out of your neighbourhood. August’s system won’t unlock the door until you’re in Bluetooth range, but it won’t do it unless you’ve been outside of the geofenced area (to prevent the door from automatically unlocking if you get close to it again while you’re in the process of leaving).

  • Gary Bowen

    Agreed. When I leave the house, I want the lights to turn off. But obviously the lights should say on when family members are still at home. For this reason, I have that setting turned off for now.

  • Yup, although what the original commenter is saying is that secondary family members that you invite can’t use geofences even if you wanted them to.

    It would be nice if Apple would add some type of family-based geofencing aggregation, similar to what Nest did last year with its own app for its thermostat, but until that happens, there are some admittedly a bit kludgy workarounds you can use, depending on what other HomeKit accessories you have and what your set up is like….. In my case, a light by the door acts as a “condition” for whether I want the rest of the lights turned off when I leave…. If I turn the hall light ON before leaving, that’s an indicator that I want everything turned off when I’m out of range. Otherwise, the “Leaving Home” rule for turning off the lights doesn’t get executed. Note that you’ll need a third-party HomeKit app like Elgato’s Eve app to set up these more advanced rules, as Apple’s Home app is fairly limited in this area.

  • Gary Bowen

    Awesome cool. Will try that Eve workaround Jesse. Thanks.

  • Yeah, it’s definitely worth keeping a third-party app on hand that supports the more advanced rules, as you can do some pretty cool stuff with them. Keep in mind that the advanced rules configured by fully HomeKit-compliant apps like Eve are completely supported by HomeKit, but they’re just not exposed in Apple’s own Home app.

    For example, another trick I use is with Elgato’s Eve Motion sensor in my kitchen…. Normally, it turns the lights off if there’s been no motion for 2 minutes, but since the kitchen light uses a Lutron Caséta dimmer, I can set up a rule that only does that if the light is set at 100%. So if I want to ensure the kitchen light stays on regardless of the motion status, I just press the “down” button on the dimmer switch once, effectively setting it to something like “99%” — it makes no perceptible difference in illumination, but prevents the rule that turns the light off from running.

  • Flash

    I have the august for my office and it was pretty decent – I find it far too large and hope the next generation receives a decrease in size. It also chews through batteries quicker than other brands that just activate or deactivate the deadbolt from turning.

  • Flash

    This doesn’t seem like a quick list – for example under doorbells it only has August, where Ring Pro is HomeKit compatible as well.

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