Fixing Apple HomeKit for 2020

Cupertino, January 7, 2020

CES - formerly known as the consumer electronics show - starts this week in Las Vegas. On the display and behind the closed doors will be everything that every manufacturer and store thinks we will want to buy for the big holiday shopping season at the end of the year.

iMore, Windows Central, Android Central, Cord Cutters, MrMobile - all my colleagues are covering it right now, so keep it locked to all their links in the description for the worst, worst, and weirdest show . .

Last year, I made an entire video of what I thought would be the hottest new HomeKit kit ... of the year. But some of the things I was expecting the most still seem MORE. So instead of rinsing and repeating that this year, especially in light of recent announcements, I thought I should take a step back and take a bigger, more illustrated look at where HomeKit is and where I think that should be in 2020.

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consistency

I've mentioned this many times before on this channel and will continue to mention all the chances I can have until it changes, because that's me, but HomeKit is still one of my weirdest brands. for Apple. Because it's just the raw frame name. And it feels that way - raw, technical, almost barren.

Siri is not SiriKit, Music is not MusicKit, Arcade is not Core Arcade, and Messages are not APNsend or anything else. But for some reason Home is still HomeKit.

But I would love to see the brand changed in Apple Home.

Clean, simple, friendly and consistent.

It sounds small, maybe small, and certainly Apple is much better at branding than I ever will be. But every time I see the sign, the kit just comes out. And the only part that should stay out is the Home.

Compatibility

One of the most frustrating parts of HomeKit for the past few years is Apple's competitors, namely Google, Amazon and Samsung, who are sniffing home accessories manufacturers. Samsung received SmartThings, Google received Nest and Dropcam, Amazon received Ring and Blink and Eero. As a result, some of the biggest ones, like Nest, their HomeKit support just weren't announced.

It's not really a surprise. Even Google, who loves to talk about openness, never accepts anything, unless they are forced to. Ask late, Windows phone users lamented

But, now there is reason to hope here. Apple, along with Amazon, Google, Samsung and others, including Zigbee, even Ikea, have formed the CHIP: The Connected Home over Internet Protocol project.

I will believe when I see the Nest HomeKit support, of course, but if all goes - and I'm not mistaken, this is still a huge, huge if - in the nebulous future, any home accessory purchased will work only with Siri. , Google Assistant, Alexa and all other systems.

And, if you have more assistants in your home, such as an Android phone, iPad, Alexa, and lots of different hubs and speakers, each accessory hopes to work just as well, so that the pain is reduced customers and companies. You know, where it has to be.

Control

In recent years, Apple has moved from hardware to software security for HomeKit, and now they are even open, providing some of it as part of the CHIP alliance. But, even with all those changed back-ends, I would argue that Apple has more work on the front end.

We all like to complain about how Apple can be controlled, but the truth is, we complain even more about the things that Apple lets other people control. And with HomeKit, they still left too much control in the hands of accessory manufacturers.

I'm sure there were reasons for this, but in the beginning there wasn't even a Home app. You had to control HomeKit through a variety of applications for terrible accessory manufacturers. Now, even though Apple has finally released the Home app, terrible apps for accessory manufacturers continue to interfere.

I can't count how many times the Hue app or another app for the accessory manufacturer overwrote and screwed up my Home settings. Currently, I can't even use my smart lock as a smart lock because the August app displays it and distributes it once a month or so, if that feels like it. So, yeah, I kept using the keys. Like an animal. And the Hunter app never worked for me.

It's time for Apple to remove just about all the home management features from those terrible accessory manufacturer applications and only allow configuration changes from the Home app.

I mean, I understand, accessory manufacturers want to keep control over what they consider to be their experiences. But they are simply not good at experiences. They are good at making accessories. So focus on that. Focus on that. Aia ago. And allow Apple to do what is right for them - the experience.

You can let the applications do nice things, like special functions, by accessing the accessory, but it would be better to make them empty, like sticker or keyboard applications. You download them to add them home, and so you have to register a mute account with them, as any accessory manufacturer really wants to do, but then they stay out of your reach and don't help.

For good.

contraptions

I made a whole video about it, so I'll link it below and keep the recap, but Apple has long believed that it needs to have the key technologies to deliver the best products. And I went on to argue that Apple needs to have more at home if they really want to provide the best experience out there.

Sure, Apple's laser focus strategy means they have to be incredibly selective about the products they work on and can only work on a few, and they simply work from an upgrade hole where the Mac comes from, and every blogger, podcaster, pundit and YouTuber on the planet is more than happy to tell them how to spend all their money, three times daily.

But…

I will still say that Apple needs to rethink the end of the AirPort router line and seriously consider pushing its own versions of the other important accessories for security and privacy.

HomeKit routers and secure cameras are good, even good. However, there are very few companies whose recent histories have given any legitimate reason to consumers to trust our privacy and security at home. With bits that leave us devices for the internet and those designed to keep us safe.

Apple had their own share, absolutely, including Siri's ranking even last year, but by virtue of their business model, even those screws are quick to take care of and have minimal damage compared to other companies. which depend. on our data for their business.

So, count me among many who would love to see an Apple-made mesh router, a security camera, a door lock and a doorbell. None of them stores data on any server accessible by anyone beyond us.

And, if Apple really believes that they simply don't have the bandwidth, they can form an offshoot company, such as their Filemaker database subsidiary or Beats headphone subsidiary, which deals with just about everything but values ​​and Apple policies in place.

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