Apple smart home updates from WWDC 2021

At its annual WWDC conference, Apple introduced some new features to its smart home initiative. This includes unlocking the front door on your iPhone using the wallet app’s digital key.

However, Apple’s smart home strategy is different from major platforms such as iOS and MacOS. iOS and MacOS both build hardware and control software.

Instead, Apple’s smart home strategy relies heavily on encouraging third-party hardware manufacturers to adopt Apple’s platform, HomeKit. It aims to simplify the process of seamlessly linking gadgets from different companies.

For example, Apple didn’t release an Apple-branded smart lock, but used Apple’s software to promote a smart lock that tightly integrates with the iPhone’s home and wallet apps. Other HomeKit-enabled gadgets include air conditioners, camcorders, motion sensors, doorbells, and lights.

For Apple, this strategy aims to position the iPhone and Apple Watch as controllers for a variety of home features, making them more valuable to current customers and discouraging switching to Android phones during upgrades. Apple’s smart home strategy can also use these devices as smart home hubs, boosting Apple TV or HomePod sales.

“Hey Siri” is back

Perhaps the biggest smart home announcement at WWDC for iOS 15 coming this fall is Apple’s voice assistant Siri working with third-party smart home gadgets such as Ecobee’s smart thermostat this year. He said he plans to open it in the second half. .. Soon, users will be able to say “Hey Siri” to non-Apple gadgets. This is consistent with the features that Google’s assistant and Amazon Alexa already had.

“I don’t think Siri is the main reason people buy Apple products, but by extending Siri to third-party devices, it encourages the use of Siri and pushes Apple into the smart home market. I believe we can help. “Deutsche Bank analyst Sydney Ho wrote in a memo this week.

Through supported third-party devices such as smart thermostats, users can call Siri to send messages, add reminders, or use their family’s iPhone, Apple Watch, or HomePod as an intercom. can do.

However, there is one pitfall. This feature requires a HomePod or HomePod mini. Basically, third-party Siri gadgets pass messages to the HomePod for processing.

Apple’s home key feature in the wallet app.


Apple will also allow users to unlock their front doors and garages on their iPhones if they have a compatible smart lock installed. Apple didn’t announce the device this week, but did show a slide stating that top rock vendors such as Schlage and Aqara will support this feature.

There were also smaller, more incremental updates that users would love. HomeKit can use Siri to schedule events such as turning on smart lights every day at 7am. The camera can identify when the package was delivered. Users can monitor Apple TV’s HomeKit camera in full-screen mode, easily turn on the lights and activate other gadgets in the scene.

Most interestingly, Apple has begun bundling one of its major smart home features as a paid service. The camera is one of the most important smart home gadgets, and Apple relies heavily on privacy marketing to stand out against competitors like Amazon’s Ring, and it’s an encrypted private called HomeKit Secure Video. Save the live video to iCloud by the method.

To get the most out of this feature, users must subscribe to a high-end iCloud service. The service costs $ 9.99 per month with 2TB of storage. Also, unlike Amazon, Apple doesn’t manufacture its own smart cameras, but it relies on partners like Logitech.

For 50 third-party hardware manufacturers that support these features, HomeKit is generally a wealthy consumer without having to do a lot of hard technical work to enable the basic features. You can reach the group. But that also means they have to participate in Apple’s MFi Accessory program. In short, Apple has some control over what it launches through program contracts.

Apple said this week that it favors Matter, a standard designed to work with smart home gadgets, and that Apple has provided some open source HomeKit code. Amazon, Google and Samsung are also participating in this standard.

In a video session on Thursday, Apple engineers said Matter’s goal was to maintain compatibility with smart home devices over the next few years, facilitating the development of new gadgets and apps. According to Apple, for developers, HomeKit code works with Matter without any changes.

Apple smart home updates from WWDC 2021

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