In­te­gra­tion with Con­trol Cen­tre puts Home just a swipe away, even if your iOS de­vice is locked

Mac Format - - APPLE HOME -

The big­gest change in iOS 10 is that HomeKit is sup­ported by an of­fi­cial app. Sim­ply called Home, It’s bun­dled with iOS, which should en­cour­age more com­pa­nies to sup­port HomeKit – Ap­ple has named sev­eral that have prod­ucts planned. Se­cu­rity prod­ucts are an im­por­tant type, and in ad­di­tion to the var­i­ous cam­eras that we’ve men­tioned, there are prod­ucts such as Au­gust’s Smart Lock that work with HomeKit. Au­gust’s Video Door­bell Cam shows who’s at your door, even when you’re away from home, so you can open the door for a de­liv­ery or to help out a fam­ily mem­ber who has for­got­ten their keys. Au­gust’s range is avail­able from Ama­zon UK, but its prod­ucts are pri­mar­ily de­signed for US dead­bolt locks and fit­tings, so check to see if they’re suit­able for your home be­fore or­der­ing.

Light it up!

An­other key ap­pli­ca­tion of home au­to­ma­tion is man­ag­ing your en­ergy bills. Light­ing is one area where HomeKit has al­ways done well, with the pop­u­lar Philips Hue range and Nanoleaf’s eye-catch­ing Smarter lights among the first prod­ucts to sup­port HomeKit. For many homes, though, heat­ing is the big­gest en­ergy bill, and though there are sev­eral smart ther­mostats avail­able in the UK, few so far sup­port HomeKit. How­ever, since iOS 10 was an­nounced, Bri­tish Gas has been work­ing to add HomeKit to its Hive ther­mo­stat, along with Honey­well and its Lyric range of heat­ing prod­ucts. We’ve also seen a HomeKit ver­sion of the Ne­tatmo Ther­mo­stat for sale on Ap­ple’s on­line store, though, oddly, Ne­tatmo didn’t want to talk to us

about it. Un­for­tu­nately, one of the big­gest names in this field is un­likely to sup­port HomeKit at all, as the pop­u­lar Nest Ther­mo­stat is owned by Google, which is fo­cused on its own Weave tech­nol­ogy.

Some US prop­erty de­vel­op­ers plan to build HomeKit in to new homes, pro­vid­ing con­trol of lights, heat­ing and even garage doors from the mo­ment buy­ers move in. Home and away There’s more to HomeKit than just the Home app. Siri is an im­por­tant part of Ap­ple’s plans for it, en­abling you to con­trol your de­vices us­ing voice com­mands. Siri is pretty in­tel­li­gent too – as well as sim­ply turn­ing a light on or off, you can is­sue spe­cific com­mands such as “dim the lounge light to 50%”, or tell your ther­mo­stat to “set the tem­per­a­ture to 15 de­grees”.

Your HomeKit de­vices ap­pear in iOS 10’s Con­trol Cen­tre, so you can quickly ad­just their set­tings. There’s a Home app on Ap­ple Watch too, for con­trol of your de­vices with­out pick­ing up your iPhone. Even Ap­ple TV gets a look-in, as the third- and fourth­gen­er­a­tion mod­els can be used to re­motely con­trol your HomeKit de­vices over the in­ter­net. Sadly, the Mac isn’t yet part of HomeKit at all. We’ve also heard ru­mours that Ap­ple is plan­ning a de­vice that com­bines voice con­trol with a speaker to com­pete with the head­line-grab­bing Ama­zon Echo speaker and the forth­com­ing Google Home.

So, de­spite a slow start, iOS 10 is a real step for­ward for HomeKit and should en­sure more de­vices be­come avail­able for your Ap­ple Home over the next few years.

Rather than touch your iOS de­vice, you can tell Siri to do things like set a light to ex­actly 50% bright­ness.

Favourite ac­ces­sories and scenes ap­pear in Home and in Con­trol Cen­tre as well.

Home pro­vides es­sen­tial con­trols for de­vices. Tap De­tails to find a link to a piece of kit’s own app, which can of­fer even more.

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