It looks like smart homes are inching closer to reality, according to recent updates on Apple's upcoming iOS 9. A new "Home" app will reportedly let customers set up their devices that operate as part of HomeKit, writes 9to5 Mac.
HomeKit debuted last year at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The home automation management platform is intended to enable connected devices like smart thermostats and wireless door locks. It will also hopefully inspire businesses to build said connected devices.
The HomeKit platform will serve as the foundation for smart gadgets throughout the home, which will all be connected by iOS. If Apple's initiative goes according to plan, customers will be able to use the framework for controlling products from different manufacturers through third-party apps or Siri.
The Home app will function as a setup tool for the HomeKit system. While it's not very advanced in its capabilities, current functions include:
- Finding and setting up HomeKit devices via wireless connections
- Connecting devices using Apple TV as a central hub
- Visualizing a house layout to facilitate easier organization of HomeKit products
- Portraying a "series of screens" so that customers can find new apps and devices associated with HomeKit
We haven't heard much about HomeKit over the last few months because of developmental delays, like problems with the code used to program connected accessories. However, Apple has been quietly working to address these issues, and employees are now testing early versions of Home in iOS 9.
While reports suggest the possibility that Home could be restricted to internal Apple usage, the description of the app suggests that it will eventually appear in consumer hands.
In May, an Apple spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal, "HomeKit [hardware certification] has been available for just a few months and we already have dozens of partners who have committed to bringing HomeKit accessories to market and we're looking forward to the first ones coming next month."
Given that timeframe, there's a chance that Apple will confirm the aforementioned details on HomeKit and the Home app during its annual WWDC event on June 8.
Will manufacturers be able to coordinate alongside Apple's schedule? It doesn't look like smart devices will be appearing in stores in the near future -- at least not until Apple provides the framework. A HomeKit manufacturer noted that "our launch timing is greatly dependent on Apple's launch," and that its products do not currently have a definitive launch deadline.
[Did you miss any of the InformationWeek conference in Las Vegas last month? Don't worry: We have you covered. Check out what our speakers had to say and see tweets from the show. Let's keep the conversation going.]