Apple’s smart home is about to become a reality.
At the company’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) on Monday, the iPhone maker is expected to reveal more details about how it plans to make the iPhone the remote control for your home. And while there might be a few surprises, we already have a pretty good idea about what Apple might say about its big push into the home.
Here’s a look at the three big things Apple is expected to say about its plans for the smart home.
How you will control Apple’s smart home products
On Wednesday, a new Apple support page surfaced detailing how to set up and use HomeKit, which is Apple’s framework that enables smart devices to communicate with and be controlled by an iOS device.
HomeKit-compatible devices can be paired with an iOS device in just a few steps. First, you will need to download the app that goes with the product, then you will need to enter a code into the app. The code will come with the device.
Once you’ve done this, the devices are paired and you can begin controlling the home device using Siri voice commands.
It was also reported by 9to5Mac last month that Apple will reveal an app called ‘Home’ where the devices can also be controlled from.
A single app for controlling everything makes a lot of sense, said Frank Gillett, a technology analyst for Forrester research.
“The strategy that Apple is pursuing is to use an app. Presumably they will announce an app called ‘Home’,” Gillett said. “The app could speak to the HomeKit certification programming interfaces; then, in effect, Apple’s app will be able to orchestrate an organiser and make everything work together in a way that frankly is hard for an individual company to put together.”
Apple TV will be the smart home hub
According to the alleged support page that was discovered Wednesday, Apple’s TV will also serve as a central hub for controlling of all of the connected items in a home.
So if you have an Apple TV (third-generation or later with software version 7.0 or later), you can control all products that are HomeKit-compatible with your iOS device while you are away from your house. All you have to do is sign in on your iOS device and your Apple TV with the same ID to remotely control your connected products.
“It makes a lot of sense for them to use a product that stays in the home, such as Apple TV,” Gillett said.
“Apple TV already runs a version of iOS so that means it’s pretty easy to have it run a copy of any application that might be on your phone and then enable the phone from outside the home to link to the Apple TV inside the home, which then acts as an orchestrator,” he said.
Earlier this week, the first lot of Apple-compatible devices for the home hit the market.
The rollout of these products marks a new era for Apple because, as Gillett said, the company is moving into the physical extension of their app store.
“Apple is taking the appcessory approach where you buy a gadget and it comes with an app and is enabled in a way that it wasn’t before. It’s like hardware appcessories,” he said.
It’s also a big move for the company because these products must be approved by Apple to ensure all HomeKit-compatible products come with a big endorsement from the tech giant, which carries a lot of weight for consumers.
“Look, it’s partly just about the fact that Apple is now online and in stores saying that these products are high quality and good experience that they meet the standards of Apple,” Gillett said.
And while an Apple endorsed product doesn’t necessarily mean consumers will rush out to load up on smart home products, Gillett says it could help sway consumers next time they are shopping to replace a home accessory.