Apple released the Home app recently with the iOS 10 release for iPhones and iPads. The app aims to allow every device in your home setup to be used right from your phone or tablet. One of the issues that has risen in the last few years with all the home automation, and iOT devices is that there can be conflicting software or hardware that doesn’t allow things to work together. More advanced users have been building highly customized setups with things like the Raspberry Pi and custom software for some time, but it can be more difficult to pair a collection of things that are bought.
The idea that you need to have one app for your lights, one app for your locks, one for your camera can make it seem like an annoying process to manage everything. This app does a great job of integrating the use of everything in your smart home right into your phone.
This does limit the products that can be used with home kit, and you will need to look for a “Works with HomeKit” label on the product to use with this app. Another drawback is that you will need to own an Apple Tv to use as the hub of your system. But with this drawback there is one benefit that Apple has always been good at for users – it helps to make things simple. They include a list of good quality, HomeKit compatible products on their website to help get started. The list is does not feature as wide a selection as the Samsung Smartthings hub list of products for example. But all of the products on the apple HomeKit website are good quality, modern devices that you can be sure are the some of the best options for what your trying to do. It has all the common things you would need in your typical smart home: Thermostats, locks, sensors, lights, plugs etc.
The link of of compatible products can be found here: http://www.apple.com/ca/shop/accessories/all-accessories/homekit There is plenty more products out there with support for Apple HomeKit, but this list is a great one for starters.
Another great feature is the ability to use Siri to be able to control your home with your voice. Similar to the idea behind Amazon Alexa, and Google Home, Siri is always with you waiting for your voice commands. One of the best things about this is that Siri is already a useful tool for personal things like setting reminders, asking questions etc so it will seem very natural to also extend the use to things like your home. Although it works fairly well, there is the odd command that may not get understood by siri, which you may have to repeat. This is one area where amazon echo devices excel at, although the siri commands have gotten better with the new iPhones and software releases.
Most of the commands are intuitive enough for you to be able to ask anything related to your devices. You can even ask it to automate things like “turn off lights at 7pm tonight”. The list I will include below is just to give an idea, and is by no means exhaustive. One great feature is that you will be able to figure out most commands just by thinking of them as you would ask. Occasionally there will be a command that requires a different word (something like switch on lights vs turn on lights). Here is a list of some basic commands used frequently with Siri and HomeKit enabled devices:
- “Turn on the lights” or “Turn off the lights.”
- “Dim the lights” or “Set the brightness to 50%.”
- “Set the temperature to 68 degrees.”
- “Turn on the coffee maker.”
- “Turn on the upstairs lights.”
- “Turn off Chloe’s light.”
- “Turn down the kitchen lights”
- “Dim the lights in the dining room to 50%.”
- “Make the living room lights the brightest.”
- “Set the Tahoe house to 72 degrees.”
- “Set the thermostat downstairs to 70.”
- “Turn on the printer in the office.”
- “Set up for a party, Siri.”
- “Set the dinner scene.”
- “Set my bedtime scene.”