Apple took a dive into the connected home at its Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday with its official announcement of Home Kit, which will allow the iPhone or iPad to become the remote control for an entire home.
Apple’s Home Kit allows devices such as garage doors, door locks, lights, webcams and thermostats to be certified as ‘Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod’ or MFi. Each device can be accessed through the Home Kit app, rather than juggling each manufacturer’s app separately, according to Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering at Apple.
The announcement is in line with news reports from last week, but with a little more detail. Not only will there be a certification program, but there will also be Siri integration.
Once a user's devices have been integrated with the Home Kit, they can be grouped together into different "scenes." When it's time for bed, for instance, the user can say to Siri, “Go to bed,” and the iPhone will turn down the thermostat, make sure the garage door is closed and turn off specific lights in the home.
The announcement did not offer much more detail, such as whether Home Kit will be tied to GPS so that users can set parameters for their phones to go to "away" mode. Even without more information, Apple's announcement still beats Google to the punch of unveiling a strategy for the smart home.
The MFi-certified devices will have a wireless chip that can communicate over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or ZigBee, according to a report in EE Times. Federighi did not offer any details on which communications protocols will be supported.
Apple already has some big-name partners, such as Philips, Schlage and Haier. Haier had the first appliance to receive the MFi certification at CES earlier this year. It connects to Apple devices via Wi-Fi.
Click here to read more on what the Apple Home Kit might mean for the growth of the connected home and utilities trying to tap energy efficiency opportunities through a growing network of devices.