Apple announces their own IoT app called "Home"

Apple announced their new iOT solution:

It’s interesting because a central hub is not required. You can technically control any of the compatible devices directly using your iPhone. If you do want to control things remotely though, you would use an Apple TV as a central hub.

I’ve got 2 of the newest Apple TV models… I would hope they are capable of integrating with other systems (i.e. SmartThings)…

I’ve purchased a handful of smart home type devices over the past couple years but am tired having 20+ individual apps to control them…

That said, if it is built upon HomeKit, it has a long way to go as with all the devices I currently own, none of them work with HomeKit…

It’s HomeKit, yes. Apple is now going to provide its own built-in app like it does for mail and messages.

However, until they enable “accessory triggers” for Bluetooth devices, HomeKit is really limited for home automation.

For example, right now with the Elgato eve contact sensor, you can open the app and see the last time a window opened, but you can’t get a notification when it does, and you can’t use the sensor to trigger anything else. So you can’t use a motion sensor to turn on lights.

Apple has described the capability, and even uses the motion sensor example in their own marketing materials, but as yet it’s just not enabled. You can trigger on geolocation or on time, but not on a Bluetooth sensor report

I didn’t see anything detailed yet from WWDC as to whether they will enable this in IOS 10.

Until they do, homekit is only half of an HA system. ( and I say that as someone who has some HomeKit devices and likes them.)


Thank you @JDRoberts for detailing the current limitation. It is a glaring omission, perhaps understandable without the central hub. If AppleTV could become that hub maybe they will finally enable more functionality.

And I hope I can eventually replace ST with HomeKit completely. I liked the low cost possibility that ST provides and enjoyed to some degree the DIY nature of it too, but I’m not engaged, informed, nor patient enough to really babysit this system. Sad that I won’t be able to use z-wave zigbee stuff that I’ve purchased so far but one of these days I’ll approach home automation as a home improvement task with proper budget and not just a hobby of automating stuff here and there. It’d be great if ST could support HomeKit but I don’t see that happening ever. ST wouldn’t let Homekit to do its job and just become a dumb box to control the stuff.

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Homekit requires your mobile device to run any rules. So if you are away and no mobile device (maybe Apple TV) will any rules execute? Everything has to be bluetooth or wifi connected.

Seems like a good idea for people who just want to control lights from phone (Hue or Wemo) but for full automation it feels lacking. No motion sensors or real contacts that I can tell.

Well then you are going to hate the high cost, inflexible solutions that Apple is historically famous for.


Probably so :wink:

It is a tradeoff, generally with Apple’s way and others. More closed and inflexible but more reliable and stable. Right now I really need reliability of Apple more than flexibility of ST. It’s great that you can set up granular rules that fits your lifestyle but too frustrating for me when they don’t work and I have to troubleshoot it. I’d rather have simpler yet more predictable system, which was why I was considering moving to Wink but now I’ll wait for more HK development. And if today’s keynote is any indication of future Apple I think they are opening up their system more than ever.

I recall when the original “closed” Mac II’s came out and they were awesome. Everything, generally, “worked” and you could do things on them that no DOS machine could dream of. Then along came Windows. And. It. Sucked. So bad. But the price point was so compelling that eventually even the most stubborn bailed. And that was when Apple had to reinvent itself as the iPod company, and eventually became successful with the creatives (using a new technology platform from Next… thank you, Steve), which fortunately for them has gone very well. In this case, “closed” worked, then it didn’t, then it did.

Closed is so compelling, and at the same time difficult to do. Especially in this age of community-driven solutions. I really wonder if they can figure out where there’s enough value-add to counterweight the speed, flexibility, and leverage that an open platform can offer. If this stuff ever goes so “vanilla” consumer that the drop-dead ease-of-use they’re famous for matters a lot, then I bet they win in the end. Otherwise, maybe not so much. Frankly I’m not sure the masses will ever crave for home automation as they do for iPhones.

HomeKit deals with this in several different ways. There’s no restriction against the device itself storing some information like schedules. This is how a lot of the early home automation systems handled light schedules.

Second, you do have remote access to your devices if you have an Apple TV to do the local communications. This actually works very well.

Third, you can set up an iOS device as a local home automation control panel And leave that one always at home. That’s what we do at my house anyway and how we handle our flic buttons.

HomeKit does have motion sensors and contact sensors from the Elgato Eve line. But at the present time because those are battery operated Bluetooth devices, they can’t act as triggers for the automatic scenes. That’s a very serious limitation. The capability is built into HomeKit, and Apple even mentions it in their own marketing materials about HomeKit (walk into a room, a motion sensor detects you, and the lights Come on) but as of iOS 9 .3 they have yet to enable it for Bluetooth sensors.

As you mentioned, this is a very serious limitation with regard to home automation. So we’ll just have to see what happens in the future.

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Good point. I think the genius of the iPod was it’s store and what it has evolved into. Apple makes it significant profit money from the store. The masses have been losing the craving for iPhones for years as it’s marketshare is on nonstop decline to Android’s. I think inflexibility is having a slow death to the iPhone.

Agreed, so what exactly are you finding in your current ST setup unacceptable that you see Apple fixing? Is it the SHM piece?

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I’ll admit, I am an apple fan boy and I can’t wait until homekit is in full force. I do love the community here at smartThings, but I spend far too much time trouble shooting much of my automation. Then there is smartThings support… It is very slow and many times I feel they can’t find root cause for my problems. If I wait long enough, the problem resolves itself.

I’ve even offered to pay for support (To support) just to get a faster resolution.

Apple Support on the other hand has never let me down when it’s come to hardware. If they support homekit the way they support their hardware, I will be all in.


I have two 4th generation Apple TVs in my house and in my opinion the integration with HomeKit with those is lacking.

The remotes have microphones on them and I when I ask Siri to tell me if my front door is unlocked (I have an August HomeKit enabled lock) Siri responds that she can’t help me with that and doesn’t seem to be able to do much at all with HomeKit… as such I definintely feel that Apple has a long way to go in the HA realm.

Guys, did you notice that Fibaro was on the list. I’m guessing that some interaction will be done via fibaro hub, to reach zwave devices.

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Basically what @Keo said. ST offers a lot of possibility but having to maintain and troubleshoot constantly has passed the point of diminishing return for me. As much as I do enjoy DIY and maker spirit of it I just don’t have enough energy or enthusiasm for what’s supposed to work for me instead of the other way around.

ST’s reliability has improved, but still not enough. I think home automation should become invisible once set up and you shouldn’t even think about it so that you can focus on other things in life. I just want a system that I can use myself and also recommend to my non-tech savvy friend without worrying about getting a call for help every week.

Whether Apple’s HomeKit would provide such solution remains to be seen, but I like their track record so far. (If nothing else I do want the Home app’s interface because after two full years I still get confused by ST app.)

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Fibaro was on which list? I haven’t seen anything regarding them and HomeKit, but maybe I missed it.

There was a much earlier (Fall 2014) zwave/homekit bridge that did, but that was back when ST was also saying they would probably be HomeKit-compatible before anyone knew there was a required hardware piece and they thought it would just be a communication protocol. The project got shelved in the beginning of 2015 along with a lot of other products once the full requirements were clear.

Taken from the keynote.

Good catch! And very interesting!

I was looking at that list a couple of days ago. The couple that caught my eye was GE and Kwikset. I know I’d be hoping for way too much for any type of compatibility with any existing products. Pretty sure it will be new products that would require new purchases, but I can always dream. I have had a pretty easy time with ST. Admittedly I came in late, only a couple of months ago after a lot of the growing pains you guys have had to go thru. But I’ve been able to add devices relatively stress free, with the exception of trying to get voice notifications over my Samsung M5’s. But what I liked the most about the Apple Home app was the simple beauty of it. I’m no big fan of the ST app. Thankfully Smarttiles has a nice control interface that I was able to use as a front facing controller for ST. Don’t know why ST didn’t just give us a similar screen where we could see and control things like that.