Apple will add a new app to iOS 8 called “Home,” in which users will control all kinds of HomeKit-connected devices using “virtual rooms.”
So says a new report from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, who knows people who know about Apple.
The app would be used to detect HomeKit-compatible devices throughout the home and set up new devices. It would enable users to directly control specific devices, or control groups of devices according to a set of scripted actions (Apple calls these “scenes”).
Connected home device makers of all kinds have been baking in HomeKit integration to new products this year, and the first wave of HomeKit-certified products will begin to appear in June, Apple has told VentureBeat.
If Apple is serious about pushing HomeKit as a new connected home platform to compete with the likes of Google’s Nest and Samsung’s SmartThings, the app deserves a high-profile spot in the OS. It would make sense for Apple to take the same approach with HomeKit that it took with its health features in iOS 8 — the integration platform, in that case HealthKit, presents information via a fixed app in the OS, the Health app.
The research shows that consumers are becoming increasingly interested in controlling devices around the home — like thermostats, lighting, heating and cooling, and security gear — using a common platform and an app running on a phone or tablet.
Apple believes users might like to use Siri to give voice commands to devices around the home. The system could be integrated with Apple TV at some point in the future as well.