It’s that time of year again – that time just ahead of the next Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference where everyone is obsessed with all the rumors about updates to the hardware and software of Apple’s products. This year, though, I’m paying attention. This year, one of the big rumors is that Apple might be releasing a stand-along HomeKit app to support their HomeKit platform. This is a pretty strong rumor, and if it is true, it is great news for those of us that are developing our smart homes. Here’s where we stand right now, in terms of rumors about the possibility of a stand-alone HomeKit app.
- Apple trademarked the app icon artwork
- Someone claiming to be a marketer for Apple posted a review on Amazon that stated the app was coming with iOS 10
- HomeKit was said to have been in development for iOS 9, but wasn’t ready in time
- A HomeKit app is needed for the connected consumer experience
- The app would give Apple a competitive edge in the smart home space
Right now, the Apple HomeKit platform is just that – a platform. It isn’t its own operation station. Today, HomeKit acts as the Internet of Things for your smart home appliances; it connects multiple devices, like lights and smart locks, to each other through its framework, so that they can use IFTTT recipes. Users can control their smart homes using their phones and tablets as hubs, but this is where the main issue with HomeKit comes in: you have to download the external apps for each individual device to operate them. Since many smart home consumers are using devices from different brands, this becomes a cumbersome process. This kind of process is what makes using smart home devices seem dumb, and turns something that is supposed to help you streamline your life into a mess.
The HomeKit of the Future
If Apple does in fact release a standalone HomeKit app with iOS 10, smart home users will finally be able to centralize all their third-party apps, and use their phones and tablets as their hubs to manage everything. If users could open one app can control all their smart products – from blinds to locks and from lights to coffee makers – the connected experience would get a whole lot better. It’s not just the management experience either, it’s the building experience. Having a dedicated HomeKit app would simplify the process, and it might even help convert those on the fence into actual smart home users.
The other thing you have to consider, of course, is the consequence of not releasing a standalone app this year. If Apple doesn’t release something and grab early adopters now, another company will.
So where do you stand – do you think Apple will be ready to release a standalone HomeKit app this year, or do you think it is still in development? If it is released this year, are you interested in trying it out?