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For all our iPhones and iPads can do, perhaps one of the coolest recent innovations is the inclusion of Apple’s HomeKit functionality. Introduced at the Silicon Valley tech-giant’s World-Wide Developer Conference back in 2014, HomeKit is a fascinating new feature of iOS that allows users to control various appropriately outfitted devices. These kinds of devices include ‘smart’ light bulbs, thermostats, smoke detectors, locks, and even toaster ovens, among other things.
However, HomeKit currently relies exclusively on 3rd party manufacturer’s apps and integration to control those existing and forthcoming utilities we outfit our homes with.
Yet, with iOS 10 looming just over the imminent horizon, Apple is poised, according to a new rumor that surfaced over the weekend, to introduce its own, fully-fledged, dedicated HomeKit app. As a matter of fact, last September Apple filed a trademark for a supposed HomeKit app icon — which, in iOS 10, could consolidate and streamline the combination of all the pre-existing 3rd party HomeKit apps.
As it stands, HomeKit relies almost entirely on 3rd party apps, created by independent manufacturers, to control the devices and settings in our home. For instance, I recently picked up a color-changing, LED lightbulb — manufactured by PHILIPS, and a wireless, under-the-pillow vibrating alarm clock — both of which are controllable by my iPad, though they require two separate apps to control. Apple’s HomeKit app, accordingly, could streamline this so that I’d be able to control both of these devices via the single app.
Believe it or not, this rumor was revealed by one of Apple’s own marketing department employees, whose identity has since been verified by MacRumors. The employee wrote, very matter-of-factly, in an Amazon review of some existing HomeKit products, that “The next version of iOS due this fall will have a stand-alone ‘HomeKit’ app as well.”
Well I guess that’s that, right? He added the following, for what it’s worth:
“As I work in marketing for Apple, we test many Smart Home devices, especially for iOS HomeKit integration…Some advice, there are many third party applications, most free, that offer more control and customization(s) with many Smart Home devices. ‘Yonomi’ is a free app that I often use, ‘Home’ is another which costs $14.99. Both offer support for many devices with more added daily (including Amazon Echo).”
Even if Apple does ultimately release a dedicated HomeKit app, though, the platform as a concept still has quite a ways to go before it becomes a part of everyone’s program. Still, it’s pretty cool to think that we can now control some of the most fundamental parts of our home — the lights and temperature, for instance — with our smartphones, right? And, of course, Apple’s HomeKit app, if it ultimately touches down, will certainly be another big step in the direction of automating our lifestyles moving forward.
Do you currently use any 3rd party HomeKit enabled devices in your own home? Let us know in the comments!