One of the major trends this year at CES was home automation, with a number of companies announcing plans for integrating their devices with Apple’s HomeKit.
One of the key features of Apple’s new home automation standard is the ability to control any HomeKit-enabled device using Siri on an iOS device. This will allow users to turn on or off lights, unlock doors, and more using voice commands.
According to a report from The Verge, in order to accomplish such tasks (like using Siri to turn on or off lights) while away from home will require the user to have an Apple TV on their home network. The Apple TV will serve as a hub for the HomeKit compatible device and allow users to control them while away from home.
Each new Wi-Fi device also shares one common trait: an Apple TV is required if you want to control them with Siri while away from home.
So, while commands like “Siri, turn off the lights in the living room” will always work while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, they won’t from the airport unless you have an Apple TV. But that’s it — you can still switch off the lights with an app, no Apple TV required. This behavior has been confirmed by a source close to HomeKit’s development as well as two launch partners who wish to remain anonymous.
Apple has already included HomeKit in the Apple TV’s software, however, The Verge notes that Apple will not be marketing the device as a home automation hub. It is still unclear whether some of the home automation features will require new Apple TV hardware or if they will all work with the current generation set-top box.