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Apple's HomeKit Is an iPhone-Powered Universe of Gadgets

Illustration for article titled Apples HomeKit Is an iPhone-Powered Universe of Gadgets

Instead of jumping head first into the smart home market by allowing iOS users to (finally) control all of their connected appliances and devices from a single app, Apple has instead decided to tip-toe through the connected home's front door with a new API feature called HomeKit that ensures everything can be securely connected wirelessly, and controlled using Siri voice commands.

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At the moment, fragmentation is the best way to describe the current state of smart home hardware. Light bulbs, speakers, thermostats, smoke detectors, and other Wi-Fi-connected appliances from various manufacturers all use their own proprietary iOS apps, and it was hoped that Apple's WWDC announcements would bring these all together under a unified UI.

But instead of revealing a dedicated iOS app that can control all of the other devices in your house, it looks like Apple is updating the iOS API with a common protocol that makes connecting hardware easier and more secure.

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It also allows users to group various smart home devices into what iOS will call 'scenes'—somewhere in the UI—which can be then controlled with simple voice commands like "bedtime" which would dim the lights, turn off TVs, and automatically arm your home's alarm system. Sounds great, as long as your iOS device's battery hasn't died by dinner time.

Stay on top of all of Apple's WWDC 2014 announcements on our live blog.

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DISCUSSION

ImALeafOnTheWind
ImALeafOnTheWind

So not only did Apple copy my Android stuff, they're copying "Scenes" from my MiCasaVerde Vera home automation unit. Cool.
BTW, anyone could buy this unit which is standards based and can talk to wifi products like Nest, Z-Wave (my preferred reliable home-automation protocol), insteon, etc. and still use an app on their iPhone to do all of this stuff. Not sure if Siri could control it, but I've had the voice control from my android in my home automation apps for awhile now as well.