This story is part of. All the latest coverage from Apple’s annual WWDC developers conference.
Update, November 12: Read our HomePod Mini review.
Apple has announced updated features for HomeKitplatform by 2020 . When the update reaches mobile software this fall, Apple will recommend automation settings for HomeKit-enabled smart home devices and introduce deeper integrations between powering your smart home and and yours .
HomeKit connects various Apple-supported devices around the house, including, and , to an iOS control center app called Home. In the Home application, you can manage smart devices at home from different manufacturers, including connecting multiple devices together in groups to control them simultaneously.
Apple’s senior HomeKit software engineer Yah Cason led the smart home portion of the presentation during Apple’s virtual conference. Having highlighted the joint consortium of smart home companies,, in which Apple, Google, Amazon and others entered earlier this year, Carson entered the new specific features that come in the HomeKit ecosystem with iOS 14.
The first new component he highlighted was the suggested automation feature. When you add a new smart home device compatible with HomeKit, your iPhone, as you might have guessed, will give you a few possibilities to make the most of your new gadgets.
Carson also highlighted Apple’s increased focus on home security cameras, which began with WWDC last year and its announcement.. Where last year the emphasis was on device security and facial recognition, this year we see how it could come together in a more meaningful way around your home.
If you have a HomeKit-compatible video ringtone, with iOS 14 you’ll be able to stream video directly to your Apple TV, so you can see who’s at your door. Photos, allowing your HomePod to announce that a specific person is at your door if the system recognizes them based on data in your photo library.
Carson has also unveiled a feature built into HomeKit that will allow you to assign activity areas to smart cameras in your home. An activity area allows you to customize the most important areas of the camera’s field of view. This way, you can identify the exact area you want to trigger automations, such as an alarm or a light that turns on and off, in the camera’s motion detection functions. An example would be to tell the room to worry only about who is coming on the front walk, as opposed to sending you alerts every time someone walks on the sidewalk, if they are in the field of view of the room.
The customization of the area of activity is often integrated in a certain room software, but it is for the first time when we are aware that a platform owner builds it so that it applies to any compatible room.
Competing smart home providers Google, Amazon (through its Ring subsidiary) and Samsung also offer similar integration between video streams and different screens around your home, so for those connections Apple brings, for the most part, HomeKit on par with other smart home platforms. Unlike its competitors, which rely heavily on cloud-based storage for facial recognition and other sensitive data, Apple’s implementation relies heavily on data stored locally on various devices. This gives it a stronger story for user control, which could attract more skilled consumers who respect privacy.