Listen, we all know that Apple’s HomeKit experience isn’t as fleshed out as some competitors, but it’s not broken. It just needs more updates and features, right? Hopefully with things like Matter and the plethora of CES news, we might be on the right path to a better system.
I’ve completely converted from other smart home systems to exclusively using HomeKit and HomeKit branded devices (except my robovac, but more on that later). Here I want to go over a few features that I would personally like to see incorporated into future HomeKit updates. Before you begin, be aware that HomeKit does not receive updates in the App Store like other apps. Instead, they are rolled out over time and come with system updates. We will probably have a lot of new features at the next WWDC around June.
More devices, obviously
The number one thing everyone in any smart home system wants is more compatible devices, and that’s key for HomeKit more than any other system. Every new smart device that hits the market is designed with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa in mind, especially the lower priced ones. Well, we in the Apple camp like to save money too.
There’s still no HomeKit-enabled robot vacuum. I have to use the proprietary app with my Shark Vac – ew. Plus, the byproduct of having more devices is more competition. With more competition, in theory, product prices go down, and that’s something we can all agree on.
More unique automation triggers
There are a few third-party apps that will leverage your HomeKit ecosystem and Home app. They exist because they offer a different user interface or different functionality. Some of these larger named apps have other, more specific triggers when it comes to setting up automation. This is the main reason for going to a third party.
Apple’s standard Home app does a reasonably decent job of giving most of its users enough triggers. These include days of the week and times of day. That’s great, but what if you want to start automation based on the status of an accessory in your home? How about being based on an action from another app? This is possible with third-party apps, but not with the Home app. Hopefully more triggers will come soon.
From this last reason, some of the other apps available include backing up your personal data. This feature allows you to save your home configuration including accessories, groups, automation, etc. for a new device or a new installation. Not only will you be able to back up your data, but you will also be able to restore it easily. This feature should be easy to pair with HomeKit and iCloud.
A smart display
We need a smart display for HomeKit to act as a sort of command center. It’s great that Apple is letting you use your iPad as a home hub, but how much above a HomePod mini sensation would an iPad mini be?
This HomeKit smart display would let you control your home, ask Siri questions, see personalized data, and even take Facetime calls. I won’t ask for a self-rotating model just yet. All I ask for is a simple centerpiece for my kitchen.
Better family features
It’s a little surprising that Apple doesn’t have more family features for HomeKit. They allow parents and children to interact with many other services through iCloud, but nothing for HomeKit. Currently, the only “family” feature available through the Home app is to add multiple people to your home.
It would be cool to have different profiles with specific permissions available for different groups. For example, children would have the ability to turn off the lights in their bedrooms or adjust the automation, but could not control the whole house. Maybe have specific times when they can interact with the house, while the adults can control the whole house whenever they want.
These features are just a bit of food for thought, but I’d love to see one of them come to life. They would make HomeKit a great contender in the smart home space, and then we wouldn’t have to rely on things like HOOBS and Home+ 5 to give us the features we want and need.
If you haven’t heard it yet, Matter is a new smart home technology initiative led by many companies to increase interoperability between accessories. This new technology is just the first step in the growth of smart home technology. We still don’t know when we’ll start to see devices actively using it or how everything will work. Will all features be available on all smart home platforms? Will there be no more exclusivity? These are just some of the questions we’ll have to wait and see if we get answers.