Inside iOS 10: Apple simplifies HomeKit control with dedicated Home app

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
Answering a long-running demand, Apple has introduced a dedicated Home app with iOS 10, giving people a central location to manage and control their HomeKit accessories.




While HomeKit devices have always had a form of universal control through Siri, full functionality has required third-party apps, usually by individual hardware makers. Some of those apps can see and control devices by other vendors, but others can't, and a lighting app isn't of much use with a thermostat.

Opening up Home, users are prompted to pick favorite accessories, which are then added to the app's main tab. This tab is also where users can add more gear, as well as their favorite Scenes -- grouped actions affecting multiple devices. A "Good Morning" scene for example might open up window shades, turn on the air conditioning, and turn on your bedroom and kitchen lights.




Selecting favorites is particularly important because of the iOS 10 Control Center, which now includes a panel you can swipe to for controlling accessories at any time. Previously the closest people could come to this were Notification Center widgets like the one for Philips Hue bulbs.

The main tab also offers a convenient status display, showing for instance how many lights are on, and what the temperature is set to.

The next tab is Rooms, which lets users see any area-specific scenes and accessories, including non-favorites. A third tab, Automation, can be used to configure automatic reactions to detected events. A simple example might be having doors lock once an iPhone has left the house, or outside lighting come on at sunset.

Unlike some HomeKit apps, Home will work not just on iPhones but on iPads and the Apple Watch running watchOS 3. If left behind and connected to your Wi-Fi network, iPads can even serve as a hub for out-of-the-house control, something previously limited to Apple TVs.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in June following Apple's announcement of iOS 10 at WWDC 2016. It is being republished to coincide with the mobile operating system's public release. For more on iOS 10, see AppleInsider's ongoing Inside iOS 10 series.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,301member
    This should be the app that pushes these products to new levels by simplifying the user experience. Instead of worrying about developing and maintaining apps, suppliers can concentrate mainly on making good hardware and let Apple worry about controlling it. Consumers then have one place to go to control all their smart home devices as they add them.
    nolamacguypatchythepiratekrislordjbdragonlollivercornchipjagnutjony0mdriftmeyerireland
  • Reply 2 of 16
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member

    We still have the fundamental problem of who has ultimate control in the house. Great it support geo-fencing, but I do not think your significant other will be happy if your locking doors and turning off lights every time you leave the house.

    Automation like this will not be successful until the system is able to handle multiply people with varying preferences, schedules, and weight  all this by each person depending on who is where and when.

    lollivercornchiplatifbpdoozydozen
  • Reply 3 of 16
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,425member
    I have two HomeKit devices.  An Ecobee 3 Thermostat and Hue lights.    They both work well but HomeKit vr 2 has glitches that I hope are remedied by this 3rd major revision. 

    What I like about HomeKit is that it simply ads a abstraction layer so that I don't need to have my OS explicitly support the many protocols used in HA.  I could still use my Hue lights without HomeKit via Zigbee but I don't have to. 

    I watched the WWDC presentation and it gave me hope.  Some of questions I had about devices with multiple functions that can be automated (say a fan with a built in light) now can be represented in a more clear manner.  

    I don't expect a lot of great HomeKit stuff coming this year.   CES 2016 was really kind of lame regarding HA products.  The big thing though is Zigbee 3.0 was ratified which means that next year there should be more Z 3.0 products coming.  

    Love the HomeKit camera support despite not loving 90% camera options out there.  I'm simply not going to buy and install a camera that requires a cloud subscription.  When a HomeKit camera comes sans the need for cloud subscriptions I'll be a handful even if they expensive. 


    patchythepiratecornchipdoozydozen
  • Reply 4 of 16
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    beyond easy to solve, if they haven't already. 
    doozydozen
  • Reply 5 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,301member
    This should be the app that pushes these products to new levels by simplifying the user experience. Instead of worrying about developing and maintaining apps, suppliers can concentrate mainly on making good hardware and let Apple worry about controlling it. Consumers then have one place to go to control all their smart home devices as they add them.
    maestro64 said:

    We still have the fundamental problem of who has ultimate control in the house. Great it support geo-fencing, but I do not think your significant other will be happy if your locking doors and turning off lights every time you leave the house.

    Automation like this will not be successful until the system is able to handle multiply people with varying preferences, schedules, and weight  all this by each person depending on who is where and when.

    Personally, I'm more interested in control rather than automation, per se. Some examples...

    I'm leaving work so I turn on the A/C (or adjust the thermostat) before I leave the office. That time changes every day, so I don't want to program a timer. I may not be going straight home, so I don't want to use geo-fencing. My wife may be home that day so it's not necessary at all.

    We're running late, turn on some lights so we don't come home to a dark house. I don't necessarily want this automated. The lights I turn on for this, are not the same lights that would be on if I was home. Of course, we'd probably set timers when we're on vacation, but it's not an everyday occurrence.

    Right now, I have two Wemo switches, which are not Home Kit compatible to control some lights and a pool filter. I can definitely see us adding more 'connected' devices. My next A/C sure will be. Maybe try some Hue bulbs or the like.
    edited June 2016 patchythepiratecommand_f
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Any more info about "Automation"? What can serve as a "detected event"?
    doozydozen
  • Reply 7 of 16
    doggonedoggone Posts: 385member
    I bought a couple of ConnectSense outlets to try out the HomeKit.  The outlets and app is good being able to switch on connected devices using the iPhone. It also can run timed activities and scenes.

    The biggest problem is reliability. The timer doesn't work most of the time.  Often the manually control will not connect to the outlets and then later it does without any modification by me.

    It is my hope that the dedicated app will solve these problems.  Until then I doubt I will be buying more devices.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member
    mike1 said:
    This should be the app that pushes these products to new levels by simplifying the user experience. Instead of worrying about developing and maintaining apps, suppliers can concentrate mainly on making good hardware and let Apple worry about controlling it. Consumers then have one place to go to control all their smart home devices as they add them.
    maestro64 said:

    We still have the fundamental problem of who has ultimate control in the house. Great it support geo-fencing, but I do not think your significant other will be happy if your locking doors and turning off lights every time you leave the house.

    Automation like this will not be successful until the system is able to handle multiply people with varying preferences, schedules, and weight  all this by each person depending on who is where and when.

    Personally, I'm more interested in control rather than automation, per se. Some examples...

    I'm leaving work so I turn on the A/C (or adjust the thermostat) before I leave the office. That time changes every day, so I don't want to program a timer. I may not be going straight home, so I don't want to use geo-fencing. My wife may be home that day so it's not necessary at all.

    We're running late, turn on some lights so we don't come home to a dark house. I don't necessarily want this automated. The lights I turn on for this, are not the same lights that would be on if I was home. Of course, we'd probably set timers when we're on vacation, but it's not an everyday occurrence.

    Right now, I have two Wemo switches, which are not Home Kit compatible to control some lights and a pool filter. I can definitely see us adding more 'connected' devices. My next A/C sure will be. Maybe try some Hue bulbs or the like.

    This is the other problem, it is not necessarily good to turn heat and cooling up and down all the time. Your house is thermal mass and it take time and energy to move that thermal mass up or down in temperature. However it take far less time and energy to maintain that thermal mass. The only time you should be setting back the temperature is if you are going to be away a long time. Maintaining a lower or higher temp in your house over longer period of time uses more energy. I do not mess with my thermostat all that much, I save more energy by making my house 68/65 in the winter and 75/78 in the summer and replacing most all my lights with LED. The only thing I use controls for if to set scenes and control outside lightly. The rest of the time I turn lights on and off as I need them and yell at the kids to do the same.
    mdriftmeyervolcanlmagooTomE
  • Reply 9 of 16
    mike1 said:
    This should be the app that pushes these products to new levels by simplifying the user experience. Instead of worrying about developing and maintaining apps, suppliers can concentrate mainly on making good hardware and let Apple worry about controlling it. Consumers then have one place to go to control all their smart home devices as they add them.
    It always seemed ludicrous to me that 3rd party devs would write the software. By doing so, you've only fractured the intent and slowed the adoption rates.
    calidoozydozen
  • Reply 10 of 16
    maestro64 said:
    mike1 said:
    This should be the app that pushes these products to new levels by simplifying the user experience. Instead of worrying about developing and maintaining apps, suppliers can concentrate mainly on making good hardware and let Apple worry about controlling it. Consumers then have one place to go to control all their smart home devices as they add them.
    maestro64 said:

    We still have the fundamental problem of who has ultimate control in the house. Great it support geo-fencing, but I do not think your significant other will be happy if your locking doors and turning off lights every time you leave the house.

    Automation like this will not be successful until the system is able to handle multiply people with varying preferences, schedules, and weight  all this by each person depending on who is where and when.

    Personally, I'm more interested in control rather than automation, per se. Some examples...

    I'm leaving work so I turn on the A/C (or adjust the thermostat) before I leave the office. That time changes every day, so I don't want to program a timer. I may not be going straight home, so I don't want to use geo-fencing. My wife may be home that day so it's not necessary at all.

    We're running late, turn on some lights so we don't come home to a dark house. I don't necessarily want this automated. The lights I turn on for this, are not the same lights that would be on if I was home. Of course, we'd probably set timers when we're on vacation, but it's not an everyday occurrence.

    Right now, I have two Wemo switches, which are not Home Kit compatible to control some lights and a pool filter. I can definitely see us adding more 'connected' devices. My next A/C sure will be. Maybe try some Hue bulbs or the like.

    This is the other problem, it is not necessarily good to turn heat and cooling up and down all the time. Your house is thermal mass and it take time and energy to move that thermal mass up or down in temperature. However it take far less time and energy to maintain that thermal mass. The only time you should be setting back the temperature is if you are going to be away a long time. Maintaining a lower or higher temp in your house over longer period of time uses more energy. I do not mess with my thermostat all that much, I save more energy by making my house 68/65 in the winter and 75/78 in the summer and replacing most all my lights with LED. The only thing I use controls for if to set scenes and control outside lightly. The rest of the time I turn lights on and off as I need them and yell at the kids to do the same.
    Yes, but let's be honest. Until home owners invest in a properly controlled `closed' system where zones are maintained within +/- 5 degrees Fahrenheit; and thus have 2 or more mid-size 95+ efficiency GAS variable speed furnaces or heat pumps in a 2500+ sq ft home, lined with sensors within the R30-R40 walls and R40-R60 Roofs all of this managed temperature zones is academic.
    mike1doozydozen
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Hi, I made a few videos about HomeKit, I hope someone will be interested. (English subtitles) Review Setting
    waverboydoozydozen
  • Reply 12 of 16
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Thought this Home app would arrive way back in iOS 8. Glad it's here though.

    By the way yesterday I drove myself crazy trying to "add" my Apple TV as a Home device.
    Turns out you can't. Apple TV is a hub in itself and has nothing controllable. Very disappointed in tvOS 10 and the lack of controls. It seems logical there would be an option to switch to dark mode after sunset etc.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 13 of 16
    I just upgraded and the HOME app doesn't see about 10% of my HUE lights. The HUE app sees them, but the APPLE app does not. It's complete, useless trash. Another icon I can't delete that will go in the APPLECRAP folder. :(
  • Reply 14 of 16
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    Your house is thermal mass and it take time and energy to move that thermal mass up or down in temperature. 
    Right on! I live in LA but I never have to use either heat or AC because my walls, attic and windows are very well insulated. An automatic thermostat is completely unnecessary in my situation. I used to live in Colorado where we would heat with a wood stove. Sometimes automation is not as efficient as just maintaining direct control.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,301member
    maestro64 said:
    mike1 said:
    This should be the app that pushes these products to new levels by simplifying the user experience. Instead of worrying about developing and maintaining apps, suppliers can concentrate mainly on making good hardware and let Apple worry about controlling it. Consumers then have one place to go to control all their smart home devices as they add them.
    maestro64 said:

    We still have the fundamental problem of who has ultimate control in the house. Great it support geo-fencing, but I do not think your significant other will be happy if your locking doors and turning off lights every time you leave the house.

    Automation like this will not be successful until the system is able to handle multiply people with varying preferences, schedules, and weight  all this by each person depending on who is where and when.

    Personally, I'm more interested in control rather than automation, per se. Some examples...

    I'm leaving work so I turn on the A/C (or adjust the thermostat) before I leave the office. That time changes every day, so I don't want to program a timer. I may not be going straight home, so I don't want to use geo-fencing. My wife may be home that day so it's not necessary at all.

    We're running late, turn on some lights so we don't come home to a dark house. I don't necessarily want this automated. The lights I turn on for this, are not the same lights that would be on if I was home. Of course, we'd probably set timers when we're on vacation, but it's not an everyday occurrence.

    Right now, I have two Wemo switches, which are not Home Kit compatible to control some lights and a pool filter. I can definitely see us adding more 'connected' devices. My next A/C sure will be. Maybe try some Hue bulbs or the like.

    This is the other problem, it is not necessarily good to turn heat and cooling up and down all the time. Your house is thermal mass and it take time and energy to move that thermal mass up or down in temperature. However it take far less time and energy to maintain that thermal mass. The only time you should be setting back the temperature is if you are going to be away a long time. Maintaining a lower or higher temp in your house over longer period of time uses more energy. I do not mess with my thermostat all that much, I save more energy by making my house 68/65 in the winter and 75/78 in the summer and replacing most all my lights with LED. The only thing I use controls for if to set scenes and control outside lightly. The rest of the time I turn lights on and off as I need them and yell at the kids to do the same.
    No central a/c in my home and impractical to add. So, thru-wall A/Cs running for 12 hours while nobody is home is probably a bigger waste of energy.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    TomETomE Posts: 172member
    You are absolutely correct - Thermal Mass is a term I have not heard in a while (retired 11 years ago as a Sr. Power Plant Engineer.  People have this idea that they save by closing doors, vents, running the temps up / down, etc.  Perhaps there is a case where it it true, but not if the house system is designed correctly.

    I agree that the best thing to do it to leave it alone and let it operate as designed.  If designed wrong (too small or too large HVAC - try to get it redesigned.  Sure , it is not free, but in some counties and states, the Codes are very lacking.  Georgia Counties are not uniform and non-licensed HVAC contractors who do not even have a State License abound.  Penalties are not enforced.  Florida has a pretty strict code.  Our Counties, States, & Nation love to pass laws that are impossible to enforce or administer.  Then they pass some more : Both Republicans and Democrats like to do this.  

    Your ideas are correct.  What you use for the controllers would be of interest.  I have some old Belkin light modules and several iZON Cameras, but I am not especially pleased with this older technology.  Any ideas ?
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