or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Apple heads for home: Why HomeKit may not bring an 'iLight' or 'iLock,' but a new Apple TV
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple heads for home: Why HomeKit may not bring an 'iLight' or 'iLock,' but a new Apple TV

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
As follows any new announcement from Apple, the world's most secretive consumer electronics company, the days since the the unveiling of HomeKit -- Apple's new "smart home" platform -- have been filled with rumors and speculation about where it might go. AppleInsider now steps back to take a look at the most likely scenario.




The promise of so many mid-century science fiction stories is now closer to reality than it has been at any point since the invention of the transistor: our homes are coming alive, learning to respond to and even anticipate our needs. One could, if one was so inclined, at this very moment knit together any of a number of free web services and devices available at local hardware stores to have their home lighting, security, ventilation, and audiovisual systems respond automatically to their owner's presence or absence.

But it's difficult. Not in the way that doing very large-scale integration for processor design is difficult, but in the same way that getting the $0.20 clocks on your microwave, oven, and television to display the same time at the same time is difficult.

As Steve Jobs would have said, it's a bag of hurt.

The State of the Home (automation system)



Crestron's iPad-powered home automation control console
Crestron's iPad-powered home automation control console


The easiest way for homeowners to give their house an education is to contract a professional to install a proprietary system from companies like Crestron. These work exceptionally well, but they can cost tens of thousands of dollars and generally don't play well with others: expansion requires another significant investment, not just plugging in a new bulb and connecting it to your Wi-Fi.

Today's crop of smart home devices is trying to run an end-around on these established systems. This is 2014, the thinking goes, and technology that can make people's lives easier should be available to everyone, not just those who can meet their yacht in Saint-Tropez each June.

Unfortunately, everyone has a slightly different idea of what that should look like.

As AppleInsider has shown in the past, the consumer smart home market is massively fragmented. Many devices use competing standards, some use proprietary protocols, and few can even speak between themselves -- never mind talking to each other.

Enter HomeKit






Apple has aimed HomeKit squarely at the root of the problem: interoperability. HomeKit is designed to abstract away the difficult job of managing connections between smart home devices and instead allow control interfaces to speak a single, common language whether they're talking to a garage door opener, a light bulb or a lock.

Users, Apple believes, shouldn't have to put up with using five different apps to control five different aspects of their home. Likewise, developers shouldn't have to reverse-engineer protocols or work to support five divergent control schemes.

Apple's thousands of engineers haven't created HomeKit out of the goodness of their hearts, of course. They need to sell iOS devices, and one of the ways they've chosen to go about it is by creating an ecosystem that makes users' lives easier for having chosen an iPhone over a Nokia handset or an iPad instead of a Galaxy Tab.

The seemingly obvious extension of that strategy is for Apple to move past the HomeKit software solution and design their own line of connected light bulbs and locks, and multiple rumors are now circulating to that effect. To think this way, though, is to ignore Apple's entire history when it comes to developer platforms.

Apple's platform history






The generally accepted premise behind Apple's recent success is one of control. Apple wants to dictate the user experience from beginning to end, a position spurred by Jobs's favorite Alan Kay quote -- "people who are really serious about software should make their own hardware."

Since the beginning of the iPod era, Apple has put forward a consistent strategy when it comes to developer platforms and the massive ecosystem of accessories that surround its products. Apple dictates the way in which third parties can build off of its foundation -- keeping a degree of control -- and in exchange for doing things the Apple way, accessory makers and developers gain access to Apple's hundreds of millions of relatively wealthy customers.
Apple wants control, but it also needs a robust third-party ecosystem.
Most of the time, this system works extremely well. Today there exist numerous large companies who are mostly or completely focused on designing and manufacturing accessories for Apple's devices, never mind the enormous number of software development jobs that the App Store supports.

Sometimes, though, when the system breaks down and Apple feels it can do better, it creates something to show the others how it thinks things should be done. The iPod Hi-Fi is an infamous example; so were the original iPhone's Bluetooth earpiece accessory and the iPhone 4's bumper case, designed to show off the glass back of the device.

But the smart home industry doesn't have a hardware problem. Indeed, by most accounts, generally excellent hardware is held back by inferior software -- that's what HomeKit is for.

The HomeKit Hi-Fi



The new boss: same as the old boss?
The new boss: same as the old boss?


It's telling that the list of easily-remembered, Apple-manufactured accessories is short. If Apple's ecosystem were a house, it would have clean lines, well-supported walls, and a neutral color scheme -- ready to be customized by its owner, because Apple knows that everyone has different tastes, but we all need a place to live.

This is why Apple's most likely entry into the smart home space isn't an "iLight" or an "iLock." Instead, it's a revamped Apple TV with a built-in smart home bridge.

Imagine bringing home a fourth-generation Apple TV, connecting it to your Wi-Fi network, and immediately being able to ask Siri to turn off your downstairs lights and raise the temperature in the house when you go to bed, no matter which smart home manufacturer made the bulbs and thermostat. All of this with minimal additional configuration -- and minimal investment -- thanks to the behind-the-scenes work done by Apple with HomeKit.

Apple doesn't want to replace your smart home devices. It just wants to make them easier to live with.
post #2 of 78
As an Apple owner (Macs, iPhones, iPads) and Control4 owner, i'm excited to see how HomeKit allows extensibility for purpose built Automation systems. I was asking from day 1 of the announcement how they were going to integrate all the piece parts (light bulbs, outlets, etc) and not just relying on the iOS device. One of the main reasons I like the dedicated system its that it doesn't just rely on WiFi. Control4 uses ZigBee, and open standard wireless P2P mesh technology. It's much more stable than WiFi. The other issue that I see is ask yourself how many times you have to reboot your Apple TV because it's locked up or just won't play Netflix.
post #3 of 78
As much as companies whine and moan when they percieve the "playing field to not be level, that is all they really want. Just slanting toward their company. Apple is offering a level playing field and only time will tell if companies choose to take advantage of it. However that will mean they will have to compete rather than control. It should be interesting to watch it unfold.
post #4 of 78
Actually, i question the entire notion of the 'integrated automated' home - if that is indeed what HomeKit is all about. is it really worth the trouble?

in fact, for most of everyday life, old school manual/built it controls remain the easiest sufficient UI of all.

they are located, of course, where the activity is happening - appliances for example. why bother to use an app or voice UI to deal with my refrigerator or dish washer? i still have to open the doors, move things in and out of them, etc. their button controls are simple and quick. same with thermostats, lights, garage opener, and the rest. it is not like you car, where a hands free UI is mandatory. and you can use inexpensive motion sensing switches now, for example, to turn lights on/off when you enter/leave a room, so why bother with a voice UI?

there certainly are exceptions. for example, i cannot figure out our drip irrigation system control box. its UI is a total mess. there is no diagram of the system, and all the adjustments you want to make to its zones - how much water, when, etc. - are bizarrely difficult to enter. boy, could that ever use an app.

which highlights the point that where timers and complex adjustments are useful there might be a real role for home automation. fancy lighting perhaps, and maybe your HVAC, but few other things.

but even then, dedicated apps (and web based controls) are superior to any generic UI system. the several brands of home security systems, for example, include very detailed information and varying capabilities to display and UI. plus you don't need a HomeKit to just add geofencing to them. and new smart lightbulbs like the Hue are easy to control via their own app - and much more flexible to locate exactly where desired than any built-in lights at modest cost could ever be.

"Home automation" is already happening - some of it very well done. the gadget-head holy-grail of a "master" UI to somehow control it all via a single voice UI interface - like a sci-fi movie - sounds very cool, and Apple, Google, and others are working on it i guess.

but maybe it will wind up being like all those universal TV remotes that are never as easy to use as promised to control your entire AV set up and never quite as good as the remotes that came with each gizmo.

the smartphone/tablet has already solved this real problem. IMHO a single portable hand held device with multiple specific optimized UI apps for each gizmo is actually the best UI of all. nothing else really needs to be standardized. i really don't care if all my appliance clocks are synced to the second - that's utterly trivial.
Edited by Alfiejr - 6/29/14 at 8:59am
post #5 of 78
Nice take. Particularly the last sentence.
It's the same answer I've given regarding an "Apple Television set" ever since that rumor first started.
post #6 of 78
This post appears to give no reason for putting Siri and homekit in the Apple TV itself instead of just touch-based iOS devices.
post #7 of 78
Apple needs to make the classic "key" unnecessary for home and car.

Apple needs to make the physical credit card unnecessary.

A complex device is not needed for either of these... Everything else is gravy.
post #8 of 78

Using the Apple TV as the brain/hub and a calling point out to the Internet for all the devices in your home is a FAR better idea than having to deal with each device from each manufacturer being intelligent enough to call out to their servers on its own, which you then individually ping when you need them.

 

Changing a function at home should LITERALLY involve calling home–accessing a piece of your home's hardware over the Internet.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Actually, i question the entire notion of the 'integrated automated' home - if that is indeed what HomeKit is all about. is it really worth the trouble?

in fact, for most of everyday life, old school manual/built it controls remain the easiest sufficient UI of all.

I'm also undecided on the actual usefulness of all this home automation. It might be beneficial for a large modern home, but the current worldwide trend is increased population density with strict regulations by associations and management companies that are quite restrictive about what you can and cannot install in your small living area. I don't have any exact numbers but I would guess that a large majority of people in the world today who currently have an iOS device live in less than 100m2 apartments (1076 ft2) where very little automation is needed due to compactness of the living space. I just don't see the mass market appeal of home automation.

 

I have a large home so I might be interested in some automation but it is somewhat of a hassle to install all new appliances and lighting for a marginal convenience upgrade.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #10 of 78
Automation saves water and electricity when done well coupled with motorized shades, foam insulation, and a variety of other methods.

Smaller homes with higher density doesn't make automation useless. Automation, integration, health monitoring will have a combination of unexpected side effects as well as benefits. Convenience, energy saving, longevity, security are just a few of the potential theoretical benefits.

This stuff WILL sell I can guarantee it. It just hasn't been done "for the masses" well yet. The tech is now cheap and implementation just requires collaboration.
post #11 of 78
AppleTV + HomeKit + Airport Extreme.
post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Actually, i question the entire notion of the 'integrated automated' home - if that is indeed what HomeKit is all about. is it really worth the trouble?

in fact, for most of everyday life, old school manual/built it controls remain the easiest sufficient UI of all.

they are located, of course, where the activity is happening - appliances for example. why bother to use an app or voice UI to deal with my refrigerator or dish washer? i still have to open the doors, move things in and out of them, etc. their button controls are simple and quick. same with thermostats, lights, garage opener, and the rest. it is not like you car, where a hands free UI is mandatory. and you can use inexpensive motion sensing switches now, for example, to turn lights on/off when you enter/leave a room, so why bother with a voice UI?

there certainly are exceptions. for example, i cannot figure out our drip irrigation system control box. its UI is a total mess. there is no diagram of the system, and all the adjustments you want to make to its zones - how much water, when, etc. - are bizarrely difficult to enter. boy, could that ever use an app.

which highlights the point that where timers and complex adjustments are useful there might be a real role for home automation. fancy lighting perhaps, and maybe your HVAC, but few other things.

but even then, dedicated apps (and web based controls) are superior to any generic UI system. the several brands of home security systems, for example, include very detailed information and varying capabilities to display and UI. plus you don't need a HomeKit to just add geofencing to them. and new smart lightbulbs like the Hue are easy to control via their own app - and much more flexible to locate exactly where desired than any built-in lights at modest cost could ever be.

"Home automation" is already happening - some of it very well done. the gadget-head holy-grail of a "master" UI to somehow control it all via a single voice UI interface - like a sci-fi movie - sounds very cool, and Apple, Google, and others are working on it i guess.

but maybe it will wind up being like all those universal TV remotes that are never as easy to use as promised to control your entire AV set up and never quite as good as the remotes that came with each gizmo.

the smartphone/tablet has already solved this real problem. IMHO a single portable hand held device with multiple specific optimized UI apps for each gizmo is actually the best UI of all. nothing else really needs to be standardized. i really don't care if all my appliance clocks are synced to the second - that's utterly trivial.

The threshold of 'automation' is when you do or say one thing, and an orchestration of activities in your home is executed.  otherwise, you're just putting one thousand remotes in your pocket.   

 

The interface is important, you're correct.  But having the logic of many things in one UI is better, and then 'learning' how you want your home is the next level (I program mine with python, using Indigo), and the next level is the 'cloud sourcing' of information (weather for me... I don't want to be watering through a thunderstorm, or 20 minutes before a thunderstorm, and/or I want to close the windows before the rains hit).

 

your 'utterly trivial' example is utterly trivial.  The better example is I want to turn off the alarm system, unlock the door, turn on the hall lights, and set the temp for 'occupied' when I issue a single command... or even better, when my location and motion indicates that I'm approaching my door.  20 apps for 10 lighting types, 3 motion systems, Sound monitors, video systems,  my HVAC, my alarm system, my water sensors, my water valves, my Home theater system, my intercom, my irrigation system, my curtain control system and my weather monitor isn't 'automation'

 

It's Babel.

 

Much like CarPlay, I'm anticipating new homes, retrofits to be wired (WiFied) for home automation.   My guess there will be 4 or 5 players in the game for central controllers (Honeywell, Tyco/DSC, Elk are there now) .   Apple can be one of them, or talk to all of them.   And unlike TVs, the market isn't saturated.  And the home automation 'interface' requires half a EE Ph.D and half a CS degree, with serious knowledge in industrial engineering.    Sort of like programming DVRs and HTs, and TVs, and Cable boxes together.  

 

If Apple can solve AppleTV,  they can solve this.  Profitably.

post #13 of 78

So the speculation is that the next Apple TV will be a "smart home bridge"? Maybe.

 

Some high-end custom homes had smart features, including a music, PA, smoke-, fire-, and motion-detectors, and light switches in every room. These devices were wired into custom servers running dedicated home automation software. Thanks to wifi, the cost of home network/automation can be more affordable. A low-powered network-connected device like Apple TV could easily run some kind of home automation software without compromising its ability to play media, but, I argue that a more natural "hub" for home automation is a future version of AirPort Extreme. By adding a little more computing power to AirPort Extreme, it could easily store scripts and other customization intelligence, and it's always on. The UI would be available through iOS and AppleTV apps, as well as either a web interface that you could access from any PC or Mac attached to the home network. It could even be iCloud-connected to back up settings, making it easy to replace or upgrade without losing your home automation settings.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #14 of 78
The only smart devices I have are clocks that read the radio broadcast time signal. The only thing I ever have to do with these guys is change the batteries.

Thinking if getting a wemo and hooking it up to IFTTT
post #15 of 78
Something Apple might bundle with the new TV are connected speakers & microphones. Perhaps this is already a joint project with Beats? The first priority would be to allow “Hey, Siri” to work from any room in your home. All the other devices could best be left to third parties.
post #16 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

So the speculation is that the next Apple TV will be a "smart home bridge"? Maybe.

Some high-end custom homes had smart features, including a music, PA, smoke-, fire-, and motion-detectors, and light switches in every room. These devices were wired into custom servers running dedicated home automation software. Thanks to wifi, the cost of home network/automation can be more affordable. A low-powered network-connected device like Apple TV could easily run some kind of home automation software without compromising its ability to play media, but, I argue that a more natural "hub" for home automation is a future version of AirPort Extreme. By adding a little more computing power to AirPort Extreme, it could easily store scripts and other customization intelligence, and it's always on. The UI would be available through iOS and AppleTV apps, as well as either a web interface that you could access from any PC or Mac attached to the home network. It could even be iCloud-connected to back up settings, making it easy to replace or upgrade without losing your home automation settings.

Ahh ... IDK, the AppleTV seems to have more capability for the price:
  • Ax CPU/GPU
  • RAM
  • Flash Storage
  • WiFi
  • BTLE
  • IR
  • TV Connectivity
  • Programmability

I suspect that a new 2014 model AppleTV will have an A7 or A8 class APU, and it will support Metal, H.264 encoding, 11ac WiFI -- and support console class games and other apps. Among these apps could be a controller for HomeKit devices.

In anticipation of a programmable AppleTV, I've been experimenting with the new Swift programming language for iOS and OS X -- I really like it.

So, I thought I'd write a little routine to rate smart phone OEMs (below). Feel free to use it, as Open Source -- just my way of giving something back ...
Code:
func 👊 (companyName: String) -> String
{
    var companyRating = ""
    switch companyName
    {
        
        case "Apple"      : companyRating = "👌"
        case "Microsoft"  : companyRating = "🚫"
        case "Samsung"    : fallthrough
        case "Google"     : companyRating = "💩"
        case "Blackberry" : companyRating = "🚽"
            
        default           : companyRating = "😧"
        
    }
    
    return companyRating
}

var theOEM = "Samsung"

var theRating = 👊(theOEM)

println("The rating of \(theOEM) is: \(theRating)")



The rating of Samsung is: 💩
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 6/29/14 at 12:05pm
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #17 of 78
Home automation is coming. HomeKit can help it along. But it's not the magic bullet. If Apple can extend and build-out its ecosystem to include common household functions, others may eventually hook into it. The comparison to CarPlay is apt. I suspect the transition will be glacially slow. No one expects you to go out and buy a new HVAC, washing machine, refrigerator, or door locks just to use HomeKit today. But when you do finally need to replace those big-ticket items, wouldn't it be nice if they were HomeKit ready?
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
post #18 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogCowabunga View Post

Thinking if getting a wemo and hooking it up to IFTTT

Thanks for the tip. I was not aware of these devices from Belkin. I could use some of these. The main issue I see with my current wiring is that I have banks of switches so the wall faceplates won't work with these, although I am really handy with custom one-off fabrication in my industry. Otherwise I love the fact that you can enter your city and it will keep track of sunset/sunrise. Currently I have photo sensors but they can be unreliable when they transition into shade or on overcast mornings. I currently use vacation timers for some interior lights, but the Wemo version might be a little better as well.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #19 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

Automation saves water and electricity when done well coupled with motorized shades, foam insulation, and a variety of other methods.

Smaller homes with higher density doesn't make automation useless. Automation, integration, health monitoring will have a combination of unexpected side effects as well as benefits. Convenience, energy saving, longevity, security are just a few of the potential theoretical benefits.

This stuff WILL sell I can guarantee it. It just hasn't been done "for the masses" well yet. The tech is now cheap and implementation just requires collaboration.

How do I contact you when a guanteed item doesn't work?

post #20 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


Ahh ... IDK, the AppleTV seems to have more capability for the price:
  • Ax CPU/GPU
  • RAM
  • Flash Storage
  • WiFi
  • BTLE
  • IR
  • TV Connectivity
  • Programmability

I suspect that a new 2014 model AppleTV will have an A7 or A8 class APU, and it will support Metal, H.264 encoding, 11ac WiFI -- and support console class games and other apps. Among these apps could be a controller for HomeKit devices.
 

 

Do you need A7-class processing power to turn some lights on and off? I got one of those programmable light switches that's barely more processing power than a $29 Casio digital watch with multiple alarms. Even something like Raspberry Pi is overkill for an automation controller.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

So the speculation is that the next Apple TV will be a "smart home bridge"? Maybe.

Some high-end custom homes had smart features, including a music, PA, smoke-, fire-, and motion-detectors, and light switches in every room. These devices were wired into custom servers running dedicated home automation software. Thanks to wifi, the cost of home network/automation can be more affordable. A low-powered network-connected device like Apple TV could easily run some kind of home automation software without compromising its ability to play media, but, I argue that a more natural "hub" for home automation is a future version of AirPort Extreme. By adding a little more computing power to AirPort Extreme, it could easily store scripts and other customization intelligence, and it's always on. The UI would be available through iOS and AppleTV apps, as well as either a web interface that you could access from any PC or Mac attached to the home network. It could even be iCloud-connected to back up settings, making it easy to replace or upgrade without losing your home automation settings.
Totally agree about AirPort Extreme being the more natural integration point/hub. Then any iOS device would be a client/control point.
post #22 of 78
The answer is automation , not so much voice commands, most of the arduous stuff like the home sensing when you are about to enter , garage opening as the car approaches would be great to have but the rest meh I'm not so sure about, as a prev poster said a light sensing when you are in the room is great , but of course it needs to be over ridden easily, for example when studying or gasp reading a book. Some voice commands would be good , like raise the temp by 5 degrees , it has to be designed sensibly not a whole load of useless features. I trust Apple will make a better job of it than most. Automate as much as is realistic and it must be secure enuf from hackers

Originally Posted by Rickers - 2014

Cook & Co will bury Apple.  They can only ride Steve's ghost for so long.  Steve == Apple and Apple == Steve.  

Reply

Originally Posted by Rickers - 2014

Cook & Co will bury Apple.  They can only ride Steve's ghost for so long.  Steve == Apple and Apple == Steve.  

Reply
post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I'm also undecided on the actual usefulness of all this home automation. It might be beneficial for a large modern home, but the current worldwide trend is increased population density with strict regulations by associations and management companies that are quite restrictive about what you can and cannot install in your small living area. I don't have any exact numbers but I would guess that a large majority of people in the world today who currently have an iOS device live in less than 100m2 apartments (1076 ft2) where very little automation is needed due to compactness of the living space. I just don't see the mass market appeal of home automation.

I have a large home so I might be interested in some automation but it is somewhat of a hassle to install all new appliances and lighting for a marginal convenience upgrade.

So in summary, you're not sure how useful home automation is, therefore Apple shouldn't bother with it. But, Apples kit will work with many products that real people have bought because they had a need that was met by it. And this will lay the path for more ingenuitive ideas in the future.
post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul94544 View Post

The answer is automation , not so much voice commands, most of the arduous stuff like the home sensing when you are about to enter , garage opening as the car approaches would be great to have but the rest meh I'm not so sure about, as a prev poster said a light sensing when you are in the room is great , but of course it needs to be over ridden easily, for example when studying or gasp reading a book. Some voice commands would be good , like raise the temp by 5 degrees , it has to be designed sensibly not a whole load of useless features. I trust Apple will make a better job of it than most. Automate as much as is realistic and it must be secure enuf from hackers

Exactly. Overridden easily means that the automation is getting in the way. When I come home for lunch, I don't park in the garage, I park in the driveway. If I want the garage door open I'll press the remote opener button. How hard is that? Same thing with the lights. If the baby is sleeping and I just want to quietly go check on him, I don't want the lights to turn on when I enter the room. Like MS clippy. Stop helping me! I know what I'm doing.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinpublic View Post

So in summary, you're not sure how useful home automation is, therefore Apple shouldn't bother with it. But, Apples kit will work with many products that real people have bought because they had a need that was met by it. And this will lay the path for more ingenuitive ideas in the future.

I'm not so sure it is anything more than a knee jerk reaction to Google indicating they are interested in the home automation space. If it doesn't turn out to be all the popular, Apple might just drop it without any warning. 

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ahh ... IDK, the AppleTV seems to have more capability for the price:
  • Ax CPU/GPU
  • RAM
  • Flash Storage
  • WiFi
  • BTLE
  • IR
  • TV Connectivity
  • Programmability


I suspect that a new 2014 model AppleTV will have an A7 or A8 class APU, and it will support Metal, H.264 encoding, 11ac WiFI -- and support console class games and other apps. Among these apps could be a controller for HomeKit devices.

 

Do you need A7-class processing power to turn some lights on and off? I got one of those programmable light switches that's barely more processing power than a $29 Casio digital watch with multiple alarms. Even something like Raspberry Pi is overkill for an automation controller.

Not so much the processing power ... Rather the programmability, additional I/O and ability to store/edit/display device schedules. These are built in to the $99 AppleTV. The $199 AirPort Extreme would require additional hardware (and cost) to accomplish the same results.
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #27 of 78
AI generated extraneous post
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #28 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Home automation is coming. HomeKit can help it along. But it's not the magic bullet. If Apple can extend and build-out its ecosystem to include common household functions, others may eventually hook into it. The comparison to CarPlay is apt. I suspect the transition will be glacially slow. No one expects you to go out and buy a new HVAC, washing machine, refrigerator, or door locks just to use HomeKit today. But when you do finally need to replace those big-ticket items, wouldn't it be nice if they were HomeKit ready?

Door locks are easy, and if you're a sane person, they should be changed every time you move into a property, and every time a child/family member moves out (trust me on that;-).

 

smart thermostats are now around $70 bucks.  That's all the HVAC you have to swap out.

 

Lights... you swap out now every 2-7 years.

 

Toss in a couple motion/occupancy(PIR) detectors, and there is a cost benefit to heating cooling lighting.    I'm saving 20-40 a month (I've got an old house that we have 3 zones for heating and cooling.  If we are in one, we turn off the HVAC (with random fan) in the others, and it's all done automatically, with an device and iPhone app override.   

 

Last winter paid for most of the devices, and my wife Hates me less because I can check door status and lock and unlock remotely.

post #29 of 78

I was really struck by how prescient the speech by Steve Jobs was in 2001 after the introduction of os X.  I looked it up because I forgot exactly when he made the presentation.   He was talking about how he saw the Mac as a digital hub way back then.  I think the how of what Apple does with home automation tech is way more important than the choice of device.  Apple laid the groundwork for a bunch of new devices at the developer conference this year.  The software is the key.  The device is merely a way of having the right package of options for your software to run on.  You can expect all of the rumored devices to make their way to market pretty soon after all this groudwork is in place. 

post #30 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


Not so much the processing power ... Rather the programmability, additional I/O and ability to store/edit/display device schedules. These are built in to the $99 AppleTV. The $199 AirPort Extreme would require additional hardware (and cost) to accomplish the same results.

There will be a need to constantly monitor and communicate state, and execute the realtime conditional logic..  my guess is another box needs to do that, especially for non IP devices.  The Apple end (TV or mac mini) is all about interface and database, and executing 'external' communications (email, tweets, sms, phone, web, other) , and querying the state engine, which is focused on operating the 'plant'

post #31 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Not so much the processing power ... Rather the programmability, additional I/O and ability to store/edit/display device schedules. These are built in to the $99 AppleTV. The $199 AirPort Extreme would require additional hardware (and cost) to accomplish the same results.

 

The current AirPort Extreme already has a dual-core Cortex A9 (Broadcom BCM53019) and 32MB of flash storage and 512MB of DDR3. Elite enough for you?

If glorified digital watches can control a light switch with multi-day programming (including a "solar timetable" that uses your home's longitude and latitude to calculate sunrise and sunset during the year), the AirPort Extreme should be overkill already.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #32 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Not so much the processing power ... Rather the programmability, additional I/O and ability to store/edit/display device schedules. These are built in to the $99 AppleTV. The $199 AirPort Extreme would require additional hardware (and cost) to accomplish the same results.

The current AirPort Extreme already has a dual-core Cortex A9 (Broadcom BCM53019) and 32MB of flash storage and 512MB of DDR3. Elite enough for you?
If glorified digital watches can control a light switch with multi-day programming (including a "solar timetable" that uses your home's longitude and latitude to calculate sunrise and sunset during the year), the AirPort Extreme should be overkill already.

I didn't know what was controlling the Airport Extreme ... Thanks for the info.

Certainly the CPU is programmable and could do the job. But the 32 MB of flash storage indicates to me that it can store minimal device schedules, device monitoring apps, and device logs.

While the Current AppleTV is $100 less -- it has 8GB flash storage, 1GB RAM and a single-core A5 APU, Bluetooth and IR (in addition to WiFi).

This gives the AppleTV advantages:
  • it can connect to IR devices.
  • it connect to BT devices (Inexpensive thermometors, humidity sensors, iBeacons, etc.)
  • it has adequate flash and RAM to realistically monitor and control a household full of devices

But the biggest advantage is that the AppleTV is a legitimate (though locked-down) iOS device. That means that the entire Xcode, iOS, App store ecosystem is potentially available to the AppleTV -- not so, the Airport devices.

That means that apps written for HomeKit will be able to run on the AppleTV when Apple opens it up (to more than a few, select developers). Netflix, MLB, WatchESPN are a few non-Apple iOS apps already running on the AppleTV.

With the recent Xcode enhancements such as Storyboards, Autolayout, Swift Language and Playgrounds you can interactively develop, test and debug HomeKit apps -- using a simulator to control HomeKit devices that don't exist yet.

I can't over stress the importance of this -- it's in the wheelhouse of a device like the AppleTV, and it's available to developers today!

To get an Airport device up to speed they'd need to add an Ax APU, iOS, flash and RAM ... why reinvent an inferior wheel that costs more money and does less?
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Actually, i question the entire notion of the 'integrated automated' home - if that is indeed what HomeKit is all about. is it really worth the trouble?

in fact, for most of everyday life, old school manual/built it controls remain the easiest sufficient UI of all.

I'm also undecided on the actual usefulness of all this home automation. It might be beneficial for a large modern home, but the current worldwide trend is increased population density with strict regulations by associations and management companies that are quite restrictive about what you can and cannot install in your small living area. I don't have any exact numbers but I would guess that a large majority of people in the world today who currently have an iOS device live in less than 100m2 apartments (1076 ft2) where very little automation is needed due to compactness of the living space. I just don't see the mass market appeal of home automation.

 

I have a large home so I might be interested in some automation but it is somewhat of a hassle to install all new appliances and lighting for a marginal convenience upgrade.

 

Me too. And isn't life too convenient these days? Isn't diabetes a global epidemic? Seems to me that we need to get off our fat arses and have a less convenient life. 

 

However, I like the thrust of the article. That seems to be Apple's strategy for the car - provide the software and let the car manufacturers take care of the hardware. Maybe that will be the case with the fabled iWatch - Apple will provide a template or universal OS, and let the watchmakers incorporate it into their hardware as needed; or maybe Apple are designing the hardware in league with the watchmakers.

"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Actually, i question the entire notion of the 'integrated automated' home - if that is indeed what HomeKit is all about. is it really worth the trouble?

in fact, for most of everyday life, old school manual/built it controls remain the easiest sufficient UI of all.

they are located, of course, where the activity is happening - appliances for example. why bother to use an app or voice UI to deal with my refrigerator or dish washer? i still have to open the doors, move things in and out of them, etc. their button controls are simple and quick. same with thermostats, lights, garage opener, and the rest. it is not like you car, where a hands free UI is mandatory. and you can use inexpensive motion sensing switches now, for example, to turn lights on/off when you enter/leave a room, so why bother with a voice UI?

there certainly are exceptions. for example, i cannot figure out our drip irrigation system control box. its UI is a total mess. there is no diagram of the system, and all the adjustments you want to make to its zones - how much water, when, etc. - are bizarrely difficult to enter. boy, could that ever use an app.

which highlights the point that where timers and complex adjustments are useful there might be a real role for home automation. fancy lighting perhaps, and maybe your HVAC, but few other things.

but even then, dedicated apps (and web based controls) are superior to any generic UI system. the several brands of home security systems, for example, include very detailed information and varying capabilities to display and UI. plus you don't need a HomeKit to just add geofencing to them. and new smart lightbulbs like the Hue are easy to control via their own app - and much more flexible to locate exactly where desired than any built-in lights at modest cost could ever be.

"Home automation" is already happening - some of it very well done. the gadget-head holy-grail of a "master" UI to somehow control it all via a single voice UI interface - like a sci-fi movie - sounds very cool, and Apple, Google, and others are working on it i guess.

but maybe it will wind up being like all those universal TV remotes that are never as easy to use as promised to control your entire AV set up and never quite as good as the remotes that came with each gizmo.

the smartphone/tablet has already solved this real problem. IMHO a single portable hand held device with multiple specific optimized UI apps for each gizmo is actually the best UI of all. nothing else really needs to be standardized. i really don't care if all my appliance clocks are synced to the second - that's utterly trivial.

The threshold of 'automation' is when you do or say one thing, and an orchestration of activities in your home is executed.  otherwise, you're just putting one thousand remotes in your pocket.   

 

The interface is important, you're correct.  But having the logic of many things in one UI is better, and then 'learning' how you want your home is the next level (I program mine with python, using Indigo), and the next level is the 'cloud sourcing' of information (weather for me... I don't want to be watering through a thunderstorm, or 20 minutes before a thunderstorm, and/or I want to close the windows before the rains hit).

 

your 'utterly trivial' example is utterly trivial.  The better example is I want to turn off the alarm system, unlock the door, turn on the hall lights, and set the temp for 'occupied' when I issue a single command... or even better, when my location and motion indicates that I'm approaching my door.  20 apps for 10 lighting types, 3 motion systems, Sound monitors, video systems,  my HVAC, my alarm system, my water sensors, my water valves, my Home theater system, my intercom, my irrigation system, my curtain control system and my weather monitor isn't 'automation'

 

It's Babel.

 

Much like CarPlay, I'm anticipating new homes, retrofits to be wired (WiFied) for home automation.   My guess there will be 4 or 5 players in the game for central controllers (Honeywell, Tyco/DSC, Elk are there now) .   Apple can be one of them, or talk to all of them.   And unlike TVs, the market isn't saturated.  And the home automation 'interface' requires half a EE Ph.D and half a CS degree, with serious knowledge in industrial engineering.    Sort of like programming DVRs and HTs, and TVs, and Cable boxes together.  

 

If Apple can solve AppleTV,  they can solve this.  Profitably.

 

 

I'm not convinced. To take your example - turning off my alarm, unlocking my door, turning on my hall lights and setting my thermostat take me next to no time; I'm not interested in automating them.

"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
post #35 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Actually, i question the entire notion of the 'integrated automated' home - if that is indeed what HomeKit is all about. is it really worth the trouble?

in fact, for most of everyday life, old school manual/built it controls remain the easiest sufficient UI of all.

they are located, of course, where the activity is happening - appliances for example. why bother to use an app or voice UI to deal with my refrigerator or dish washer? i still have to open the doors, move things in and out of them, etc. their button controls are simple and quick. same with thermostats, lights, garage opener, and the rest. it is not like you car, where a hands free UI is mandatory. and you can use inexpensive motion sensing switches now, for example, to turn lights on/off when you enter/leave a room, so why bother with a voice UI?

there certainly are exceptions. for example, i cannot figure out our drip irrigation system control box. its UI is a total mess. there is no diagram of the system, and all the adjustments you want to make to its zones - how much water, when, etc. - are bizarrely difficult to enter. boy, could that ever use an app.

which highlights the point that where timers and complex adjustments are useful there might be a real role for home automation. fancy lighting perhaps, and maybe your HVAC, but few other things.

but even then, dedicated apps (and web based controls) are superior to any generic UI system. the several brands of home security systems, for example, include very detailed information and varying capabilities to display and UI. plus you don't need a HomeKit to just add geofencing to them. and new smart lightbulbs like the Hue are easy to control via their own app - and much more flexible to locate exactly where desired than any built-in lights at modest cost could ever be.

"Home automation" is already happening - some of it very well done. the gadget-head holy-grail of a "master" UI to somehow control it all via a single voice UI interface - like a sci-fi movie - sounds very cool, and Apple, Google, and others are working on it i guess.

but maybe it will wind up being like all those universal TV remotes that are never as easy to use as promised to control your entire AV set up and never quite as good as the remotes that came with each gizmo.

the smartphone/tablet has already solved this real problem. IMHO a single portable hand held device with multiple specific optimized UI apps for each gizmo is actually the best UI of all. nothing else really needs to be standardized. i really don't care if all my appliance clocks are synced to the second - that's utterly trivial.
This thread is obviously not for you. But speaking for the CDO (compulsive disorder obsessive) crowd clocks out of sync is just the tip of the iceberg! And most non-apple UI is awful.
post #36 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by berndog View Post

But speaking for the CDO (compulsive disorder obsessive) crowd clocks out of sync is just the tip of the iceberg! And most non-apple UI is awful.

Is that OCD but with the letters arranged in the proper, alphabetical order?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Not so much the processing power ... Rather the programmability, additional I/O and ability to store/edit/display device schedules. These are built in to the $99 AppleTV. The $199 AirPort Extreme would require additional hardware (and cost) to accomplish the same results.

 

The current AirPort Extreme already has a dual-core Cortex A9 (Broadcom BCM53019) and 32MB of flash storage and 512MB of DDR3. Elite enough for you?

If glorified digital watches can control a light switch with multi-day programming (including a "solar timetable" that uses your home's longitude and latitude to calculate sunrise and sunset during the year), the AirPort Extreme should be overkill already.

The reason I think the AE is a better hub is that it has security - because it is already a router and firewall. Security is really the only job it would need to do. It would simply have a plist of the approved Apple IDs and match them up with the permissions to access the various devices. The iOS device will then communicate directly with the appliance. No middle man required in the control part. This is obvious to me because there is no way for the router/hub to know all of the capabilities of the appliance, how could it possibly be the one issuing commands?

 

What I could see is an iOS app that organizes the collection of factory control softwares on the device so that your home automation is all in one screen.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #38 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Not so much the processing power ... Rather the programmability, additional I/O and ability to store/edit/display device schedules. These are built in to the $99 AppleTV. The $199 AirPort Extreme would require additional hardware (and cost) to accomplish the same results.

 

The current AirPort Extreme already has a dual-core Cortex A9 (Broadcom BCM53019) and 32MB of flash storage and 512MB of DDR3. Elite enough for you?

If glorified digital watches can control a light switch with multi-day programming (including a "solar timetable" that uses your home's longitude and latitude to calculate sunrise and sunset during the year), the AirPort Extreme should be overkill already.

The reason I think the AE is a better hub is that it has security - because it is already a router and firewall. Security is really the only job it would need to do. It would simply have a plist of the approved Apple IDs and match them up with the permissions to access the various devices. The iOS device will then communicate directly with the appliance. No middle man required in the control part. This is obvious to me because there is no way for the router/hub to know all of the capabilities of the appliance, how could it possibly be the one issuing commands?

 

What I could see is an iOS app that organizes the collection of factory control softwares on the device so that your home automation is all in one place.

 

That sounds like what is happening with iOS 8. App developers will be able to link into the master Apple apps, which means you won't need to constantly turn to a separate photo editing app, for instance. It's already here to an extent: I bought a Tasks app today which lets me create reminders with custom repeats. Because it links in via iCloud with the Apple Reminders and Calendars Apps, it acts as a conduit, so I can still use the Apple apps. With iOS 8, I won't even necessarily need to leave the Apple apps, as the functionality will be linked in via the new APIs.

"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
post #39 of 78
How about a line of automation-enabled devices that also include beacons so that your system can determine nearly exactly where you are within your home? And who else is home and where they are within the home. Of course this would assume that every member of the family is carrying their iPhone or wearing their iWatch at all times, but it opens the door to all kinds of possibilities.

I nearly choked when I read others claim that a collection of dedicated apps for each 'gizmo' is the Utopia of home automation. Such a lack of imagination! I think that those suggesting that Apple TV will be the 'hub' of the whole system are also off-base. Apple TV will hopefully be able to participate in your home automation setup, and make it better, but I think it will do so as an optional member component of the system as opposed to its hub.

Voice control will be a nice touch for adhoc requests, but the true magic will come from a system that learns our routines, anticipates what comes next and just does it (or offers to do it) - without having to ask for it! A system that works behind the scenes to maximize our energy savings. A system that can respond to combinations of multiple, possibly unrelated events - (like weather, temperature, a doorbell press, a motion detected, an alarm sensor triggered, a family member arriving or departing, a pet with a smart collar entering a room, my location within the house, who else is in the house and where they are within the house, an urgent e-mail arriving, etcetera, etcetera). The possibilities truly are endless and limited only be imagination! I personally can't wait to see what kind of smart-home solutions this technology enables.
post #40 of 78

So Homekit is basically a universal remote.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Apple heads for home: Why HomeKit may not bring an 'iLight' or 'iLock,' but a new Apple TV