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