Skip to content

Apple open-sources HomeKit tools to speed up smart home push

Apple open-sources HomeKit tools to speed up smart home push

The biggest Apple HomeKit products from CES 2019

Apple is making available some of its smart home tools to "accelerate the development" of the new smart home standard announced yesterday by industry leaders. Parts of Apple's HomeKit Accessory Development Kit (ADK) will now be available for any developer to experience, regardless of whether they have a business relationship with Apple.

The move comes as Apple, Google and Amazon announced a new open source source standard. The IP-connected House project will incorporate elements of each company's existing technology, be it Amazon, Google Google Weave or AppleKome, which allows smart-action devices to work together more efficiently. Apple's decision to open HomeKit home parts sounds like a sensible first step toward integrating the company's technology into the new standard.

HomeKit devices can be controlled on the Apple hardware ecosystem.
Image: Apple

Crucially, the move does not mean HomeKit will continue completely open-source, nor does it mean that just about anyone will be able to use the software to design and release their own Apple-compatible home accessory. Manufacturers will still need to enroll in the Apple HomeKit MFi software to access the commercial version of the Protocol Accessory Specification and to sell their devices. But HomeKit's open sourcing elements will make it easier for manufacturers to prototype their devices before they spend the money to become an MFi partner.

This is not the first time Apple has tried to facilitate the development of HomeKit. In 2017, it announced that it intends to allow anyone to build a HomeKit device and loosen security constraints (replacing the need for a dedicated security chip with a software solution). However, like. AppleInsider points out, Apple has made the HomeKit Accessory Protocol widely available, which is only part of the development accessory kit. This latest announcement means that there is now an open source ADK available to everyone.

In addition to contributing to the development of the new standard, portions of the open-sourcing ADK could help to adopt HomeKit, which has historically lagged behind competing initiatives from Amazon and Google. This move means that companies can play with the software, before committing to supporting it. If this sounds interesting or you're just a hobbyist who wants to have a tinkerer, then you can access the HomeKit ADK on his GitHub page.