Over the past few months of using the Level Lock+, I've been thinking a lot about the role of hardware in the future of the smart home. Sure, software (even voice) is great for interacting with devices, but I've found something magical about Home Key. My smartphone is a hardware device that communicates with my hardware lock via software. The software is invisible. It was so great to just tap the lock with my iPhone and open it. It also made me believe that Apple will have to continue to pull that rope in the future. All this of course applies to the recently released Aqara smart lock with Home Key support. HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework. AirTag and Home Key AirTag is a device that I continue to find interesting. It's one of the few Apple devices not designed for you. It's just there. When you need to find something, it's just there waiting for you. It verifies who I am through iCloud. It got me thinking about how AirTag could be developed to become a more important part of the Apple experience. First of all: why can't AirTag be a home key? Let me just tap the lock on it to activate the lock/unlock sequence. It would be yet another way to use Home Key together with Apple Watch and iPhone. Your keys are some of the most personal devices you have, so you can designate your Airtag on your keys as "Home Key Enabled." AirTag could also be designed (along with the Mac) to unlock my Mac when I get very close, but then unlock as I walk away. It has expanded the Apple Watch's ability to unlock your Mac to AirTags. Is it as secure as AirTag? No, but it's also possible that AirTag's future could also include a Touch ID component. What else? I think this idea of an Apple device that can activate aspects of your smart home based on proximity would be extremely interesting. What if AirTag technology could be added to your shoes so that HomeKit knows which room of the house you are in? What if AirTags could be designed as “sensors” to detect other devices? Let's say you can leave an AirTag in the living room and it can detect an Apple Watch or iPhone entering the room and adjust scenes based on the connection. Wrapping Up There is a lot of magic when you go from hardware to software and back to hardware for a smart home. Using a Home Key can activate scenes in your home for lighting, music and temperature that a traditional key cannot. However, Home Key comes close to the reliability of a physical key. It is a key with software, not an unlocking with a software key. AirTag has a lot of potential as a low-cost NFC device to expand this thinking as well. At this point I'm going to add the Level Key Cards as a short-term way to unlock the door. FTC: We use monetized auto-affiliate links. More.
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