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Apple HomeKit release date rumours: Apple's system for controlling gadgets in your home coming this spring

Lou Hattersley | Jan. 28, 2015
With HomeKit and iOS 8, Apple has promised to bring the Internet Of Things (IoT) and home automation to iOS. But when is HomeKit coming out? We can already buy home automation devices, but when will you be able to buy HomeKit devices for iPhone and iPad? Here's our HomeKit release date and rumours article.

So far we haven't seen any evidence of a dedicated Home app to sit alongside Health. However, we keep hearing that HomeKit is really about Siri integration. Rather than connecting to a separate Home app, the devices will be controlled directly via Siri - which could well provide the single-app convenience that users would want from a Home app.

HomeKit, Siri and the Apple TV
It is thought that you will be able to use Siri to turn on the lights, unlock the door, and turn up the central heating when you arive home.

However, if you are away from home the only way you will be able to control your gadgets using Siri is if you have an Apple TV. There is evidence that the Apple TV will be part of the HomeKit line up: HomeKit was added to Apple TV at the same time as the iOS 8.1 update came our - if you have installed Apple TV Software version 7.0.1 your Apple TV is HomeKit ready.

But why is it necessary to use the Apple TV at all? If you have a central heating system such as Hive, you should be able to control it from the iPhone app whereever you are. The idea that you could only control it if you were in your home seems to be the opposite of the objective - you should be able to turn the heating off when you don't need it, or turn it up when you are on your way home. Given that these apps can be controlled remotely, without needing the Apple TV or some other hub, why would Apple's HomeKit require Apple TV.

We's be inclined to think that this Apple TV HomeKit connection was a red herring, except that Apple contacted ArsTechnica in January 2015 to confirm that the Apple TV is acting as an intermediary when you're issuing Siri voice commands to your home from a remote location.

According to ArsTechnica, Apple says the device is less of a "hub" meant to tie all of your devices together and more of an entry point to your local network. To avoid the complicated networking configuration sometimes needed to access your private network from the outside world, iOS devices will send your voice commands to your Apple TV, and the set-top box will then pass that command on to the relevant HomeKit device.

HomeKit and security
You might be concerned about using HomeKit for your home security - how easy will it be for someone to gain access to your home if your iPhone is stolen? What if you forget your password? Will you be able to get into your own house? Security is paramount for products such as home security systems, since they provide access to your house, and it is essential that you have confidence in the security Apple has baked in to the HomeKit framework, and its ability to fix any vulnerabilities as soon as they're discovered.

 

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