Apple is making it easier for you to control your smart home.
With the new iOS 10 Home app, you can now control all your Apple Homekit-compatible products from one centralised hub, rather than using a different app for each individual item. Here’s what we know about it so far.
How does the Home app work?
To use the Home app, you’ll need at least one product that works with Apple HomeKit.
Launch the app, and after a quick tutorial you’ll find yourself on the ‘My Home’ screen.
You can now start creating your smart home, and there are three main categories to help you do this: Rooms, Scenes and Automations.
The first thing you should do is create your rooms. This is pretty straightforward - simply set up rooms that reflect the layout of your home, and then populate them with your Homekit products.
When this is done, you’ll be able to tell Siri to do things like “turn off the lights in the main bedroom” or “turn on the heating on the upstairs landing.”
With ‘Scenes’, you can create your custom actions using more than one of your smart home products.
The app contains four suggested scenes to start with: ‘Arrive Home’, ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good Night’ and ‘Leave Home’. So for example, ‘Good Night’ could turn off all your interior lights, turn on your alarm, and external security lighting.
With ‘Automation’ you can set up rules that happen automatically. The location data on your iPhone can be used as part of this, so you could arrange for your heating and lighting to be switched on as you make the journey home from work, or the front door to be unlocked as you stroll up the path.
You can also access your devices remotely if you’ve got an Apple TV or iPad switched on and connected to HomeKit. If it’s an especially cold night, for example, you could ask Siri to turn up the heating in your home by a few degrees, even before you’ve left work.
What Homekit products are available?
There are over 50 brands that have been authorised to use the ‘Works With Apple HomeKit’ mark, signifying that the product has been fully tested and approved by Apple.
If you head over to the Currys website you’ll see Philips Hue lighting, a HomeKit-compatible product available to buy right now.
Some final thoughts...
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, recently spoke about HomeKit, saying that the Home app “makes it unbelievably easy to set up and manage devices throughout the home, whether you’re at home or away.”
He went on to say that there were over a hundred products coming to market this year, with more in the pipeline.
What do you think about HomeKit and the new Home app? Will you be using it to create your own smart home in the near future? Drop us a comment below to share your thoughts.