Stringent Apple HomeKit certification cause of slow market acceptance, report claims

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2020
According to a report on Monday, the slow pace at which devices compatible with Apple's HomeKit are trickling in can be attributed to last-minute security changes, including a modified hardware certification process and tweaks to the networking ecosystem.




Citing industry sources, The Register reports Apple is requiring hardware makers adopt HomeKit-certified chipsets and specialized firmware for security reasons, adding to build cost and in some cases forcing fundamental design changes. While true, Apple's protocols have been in play for some time and are likely not, as the report asserts, "capricious changes."

Reports in January noted Apple finalized HomeKit program details in November, around the time compatible authentication chips started shipping from Broadcom and Texas Instruments. Along with Marvell, the three chipmakers are responsible for supplying certified Bluetooth and Wi-Fi components to be embedded in HomeKit-compatible smart home devices. Broadcom recently announced its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) platform was fully vetted by Apple for use with HomeKit.

Among the more questionable assertions is a claim that Apple is barring devices from performing ad-hoc communication, which would seemingly preclude device-hopping mesh networking options, a staple of existing smart home solutions. Instead, the publication's sources said Apple wants manufacturers to run all device commands through iCloud and Apple TV, a suspect claim given recent hub hardware releases from Insteon and Lutron that boast HomeKit certification. AppleInsider did discover remote access relay functionality for HomeKit devices in an October Apple TV software update, suggesting the device would one day see use as a smart home hub alternative.

The publication cites sources as saying Apple is working on a range extender to carry signals from a central Apple TV hub. The idea is interesting and could be useful to those already invested in Apple's hardware ecosystem if incorporated into an AirPort Express, for example.

Apple's HomeKit initiative has faced substantial delays and is only now bearing fruit more than one year after being announced. Rumors in in May pointed to a delay caused by critical software issues. Apple subsequently debunked those claims, saying the first products were due for launch in June.

HomeKit was introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2014, as a built-in iOS 8 feature that allows iPhone and iPad users to communicate with and control products in a connected home ecosystem. Developers and manufacturers can build in support for task macros, or groups of actions, and even invoke device functions using the Siri virtual assistant.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    Apple needs to get the new Apple TV out there and plenty of HomeKit-certified devices. I'm probably going to end up snagging some 2nd gen Nest Fire alarms and thermostat, plus some WeBo devices that hook into my Amazon Echo.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    There are many of us that purchased Ecobee3 thermostats between late Nov, 2014 and June 2015 fully expecting Homekit compatibility via either a software or firmware upgrade. It's rumored that Apple's chipset requirment forced Ecobee's hand and made it impossible for them to updrade our devices without a swap (which Ecobee has chosen NOT to do except in a very expensive way) leaving myself and others with an early prototype device essentially with no Homekit function. The dates reported here make me suspect that Ecobee in fact released the E3 knowing full well that the early adopters would be left holding the bag with the early units. Apple and Ecobee should sort this out for not just each other but for their end-user customers. It appears Ecobee "dumped" the early E3's. Not cool.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post



    There are many of us that purchased Ecobee3 thermostats between late Nov, 2014 and June 2015 fully expecting Homekit compatibility via either a software or firmware upgrade.

     

    You should know that Apple always uses hardware authentication chips. It's necessary for all of the MFi devices, including cars, AirPlay, full-power Bluetooth, etc. If it wasn't built in on day one, there will never be any upgrade.

  • Reply 4 of 27
    Why should I know that? I'm not an engineer and don't claim to be one.
    konqerror wrote: »
    You should know that Apple always uses hardware authentication chips. It's necessary for all of the MFi devices, including cars, AirPlay, full-power Bluetooth, etc. If it wasn't built in on day one, there will never be any upgrade.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    “We want to churn out crap and make as much money as possible with as little work as necessary.

    If we want to get HomeKit certified we will have to raise out standards and it’ll cost more..."

  • Reply 6 of 27
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post



    Why should I know that? I'm not an engineer and don't claim to be one.



    Why should you expect that the Ecobee have a free firmware upgrade? You're not an engineer and don't claim to be one.

  • Reply 7 of 27
    You evidently are an engineer. You should probably stay in a dark room somewhere and not talk to people.

    I'm entitled to my opinion. Ecobee does not have a Homekit Ecobee3 and a non-Homekite Ecobee3. They only intended to have a Homekit device. The made some, found out Apple was going to require the chipset and rather than start over, they dumped the early batch on some of us. Simple. We paid for their hedge to beat others to the market. They were wrong and we paid for the mistake.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    Nest has gone downhill since Google bought it. You might be buying mine off eBay as I'm switching to Ecobee3 with Homekit.
  • Reply 9 of 27
    pennywsepennywse Posts: 155member
    So I'm confused, is there not an Apple certified smart hub yet? I want to start piecing together a smart home, and want to stick with same devises (Homekit), but am not going to start if there is no Apple Certifed Homekit smarthub.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    Not surprising. Apple doesn't allow serial Bluetooth connections to iOS either; unlike every other device.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    If it weren't for those damn regulations the market would be working. Ayn Rand Akbar!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seriously. I'm glad that Apple is doing its due diligence. Not only in terms of security, but also in terms of maintaining network stability.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    rwesrwes Posts: 192member
    thomasfxlt wrote: »
    You evidently are an engineer. You should probably stay in a dark room somewhere and not talk to people.

    I'm entitled to my opinion. Ecobee does not have a Homekit Ecobee3 and a non-Homekite Ecobee3. They only intended to have a Homekit device. The made some, found out Apple was going to require the chipset and rather than start over, they dumped the early batch on some of us. Simple. We paid for their hedge to beat others to the market. They were wrong and we paid for the mistake.

    You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, as is everyone else, but you should refrain from using "we", because you have (shown) nothing to back up your claim. I am an ecobee owner, and though disappointed in the fact that I'd need a revised Ecobee 3 (for HomeKit, and currently don't plan on getting the new rev), I'll refrain from speaking for everyone or making assumptions.

    Look, Nest "dumped" their "old" Protects (of which I have 2) knowing full well they we're working on a new generation with new sensors. Look, Apple dumped their "old" iPhones... It's a risk you (and I) took. *We* have to live with that.

    P.S. Why because the other reply-er, being evidently an engineer, does s/he have to stay in a dark room and not speak to people. (I am not one; just think your comment unnecessary)
  • Reply 13 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rwes View Post





    You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, as is everyone else, but you should refrain from using "we", because you have (shown) nothing to back up your claim. I am an ecobee owner, and though disappointed in the fact that I'd need a revised Ecobee 3 (for HomeKit, and currently don't plan on getting the new rev), I'll refrain from speaking for everyone or making assumptions.



    Look, Nest "dumped" their "old" Protects (of which I have 2) knowing full well they we're working on a new generation with new sensors. Look, Apple dumped their "old" iPhones... It's a risk you (and I) took. *We* have to live with that.



    P.S. Why because the other reply-er, being evidently an engineer, does s/he have to stay in a dark room and not speak to people. (I am not one; just think your comment unnecessary

     

    I don't speak for everyone, but I know I speak for some. You can be forgiving if you choose but I purchased "4" of the early release E3's. I think I have fair reason to discuss the timeline and how I and others ended up without HomeKit enabled E3's. You can go and read the reviews of Ecobee yourself in the app store. 

     

    Maybe my comment towards the other poster was a little more direct than his, but condescending comes in many colors.

  • Reply 14 of 27
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post

     

    Maybe my comment towards the other poster was a little more direct than his, but condescending comes in many colors.


     

    Somebody gives to you valuable information on how Apple accessories and licensing work.

     

    You don't like what you hear.

     

    You attack the person personally.

     

    I can see why you got ripped off on 4 thermostats.

  • Reply 15 of 27
    prolineproline Posts: 202member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post

     

     

    I don't speak for everyone, but I know I speak for some. You can be forgiving if you choose but I purchased "4" of the early release E3's. I think I have fair reason to discuss the timeline and how I and others ended up without HomeKit enabled E3's. You can go and read the reviews of Ecobee yourself in the app store. 

     

    Maybe my comment towards the other poster was a little more direct than his, but condescending comes in many colors.




    Look, the product you bought was not HomeKit certified and did not have a HomeKit sticker on the box. Apple certainly never promised to upgrade it for you, and if Ecobee did then they're the ones who let you down. That sucks, but even with certification Apple isn't the morality police for every action committed by every developer. More likely though there isn't a shred of proof that Ecobee was going to upgrade the devices, likely this was all wishful thinking on your part. At any rate, whining hour is over.

  • Reply 16 of 27
    hagarhagar Posts: 120member
    At the moment, I'm expecting Homekit to be another horrible mess, just like iCloud, Apple Music, Photos and iTunes Match. It's all very confusing and Apple being non-communicative as always does not help in cases where third parties are involved. Nobody knows how Homekit actually works, what the hardware requirements are and which devices will be compatible.

    I'm very happy with my Nest devices, fully realising they will never be compatible with Homekit.
    But is that so bad? I'm not seeing any advantages. I'm not willing to rely on something like Apple TV for my home domotica. And Siri?

    Me: please raise the temperature 2 degrees
    Siri: I cannot find any songs from britney spears
    Me: no, please raise the temperature
    Siri: Ok, I'll send a message to your wife
  • Reply 17 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by proline View Post

     



    Look, the product you bought was not HomeKit certified and did not have a HomeKit sticker on the box. Apple certainly never promised to upgrade it for you, and if Ecobee did then they're the ones who let you down. That sucks, but even with certification Apple isn't the morality police for every action committed by every developer. More likely though there isn't a shred of proof that Ecobee was going to upgrade the devices, likely this was all wishful thinking on your part. At any rate, whining hour is over.


    You mean, Panasonic are not going to upgrade my 2013 HDTV to 4K for free via software update? well I'm mad as hell, they knew 4K was coming and tricked me into buying 1080p knowing it would be obsolete. /s

  • Reply 18 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adm1 View Post

     

    You mean, Panasonic are not going to upgrade my 2013 HDTV to 4K for free via software update? well I'm mad as hell, they knew 4K was coming and tricked me into buying 1080p knowing it would be obsolete. /s




    This product is 6 months old. Common sense is the only truth needed here.

  • Reply 19 of 27
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 637member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post



    You evidently are an engineer. You should probably stay in a dark room somewhere and not talk to people.



     

    That was hilarious!  Thanks for the laugh.

    Yes, I know lots of engineers.

  • Reply 20 of 27
     

     

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