Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:30

Home is where the HomeKit wants to be

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Macworld

Since it first introduced HomeKit back in 2014, Apple has been dancing around the idea of the smart home and automation. Since then, it’s expanded its offerings bit-by-bit. It added the Home app in 2016, finally putting a front-end interface on controlling smart home tech and adding the ability to use the Apple TV as a home automation hub.

But despite those improvements, HomeKit has yet to really catch on. It’s still missing more than a few pieces, but with the annual Worldwide Developers Conference just over a week away, it’s possible the company has something up its sleeves to finally turn the smart house into a smart home.

The home hub

I’ve spilled plenty of ink on a theoretical Siri Speaker elsewhere, but the lack of a real home hub is part of why I think HomeKit feels so unanchored. Using the Apple TV (or an iPad) feels like a stopgap measure, chosen simply because they’re devices that are almost always on and connected to your local network.

[ Further reading: The best wireless routers ]

But with competition from the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and soon even Microsoft’s smart speaker entries, the Apple-TV-as-home-hub feels particularly kludgy. Beyond its capabilities as a platform for automation (more on which in a bit), it’s far less powerful or convenient than a comparable smart speaker device.

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SPEEDEE

SPEEDEE spends his day searching the internet for the information you need to better use your Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and all else Apple.

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