New features come with new iPhone devices. And starting next week, Apple HomeKit users will be very welcome to receive iOS 15, HomePod 15, tvOS 15 and watchOS 8 software updates. Apple has confirmed that all this will be available on the same day, September 20.
So, if you were excited about the unlimited HomeKit Secure camcorders, the HomePod Mini as a speaker for the Apple TV 4K or the chance to see your ringtone on your Apple Watch, you're in luck.
Here's a look at all the new HomeKit and HomeKit features that will be released on Monday.
Finally, you'll be able to use Siri on the HomePod Mini to turn Apple TV on and off, to turn on a specific show or movie, or to pause or resume playback for you. This was a feature of Amazon's Alexa smart speakers. and Google Assistant for a while (when paired with a Fire TV or Chromecast device) and we're excited to see Apple raise the Siri mini speaker to a tie.
One or a pair of HomePod Minis can now be the default speaker of the Apple TV 4K. This feature was previously only available for the original (discontinued) HomePod, but is now available for the smaller (and not discontinued) Apple Smartphone. In addition, the HomePod Mini may be the output for other audio devices that use ARC / eARC, if your TV has those inputs.
Security cameras connected to the Apple HomeKit Secure Video (Apple's option for storing movies on smart home cameras) via an Apple TV 4K or HomePod Mini can tell you now when they see a package. This adds to the detection of people, animals and vehicles and will increase the usefulness of the two HKSV compatible residential ringtones currently on the market - Logitech View and Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell.
Apple TV can now stream multiple streams from your HomeKit cameras instead of one, so you can examine your domain on the big screen. It will also provide control of nearby accessories, such as a porch light, so you can turn on the lights using the remote control without having to remove the phone.
Speaking of multiple cameras, with the iOS15 update on iPhone and iPad, you can now add an unlimited number of cameras to HomeKit Secure Video if you sign up for the new iCloud Plus 2TB plan ($ 9.99 per month). Previously, 5 was the maximum number allowed, which is a bit limiting if you want to cover an entire house inside and out with rooms.
The voice assistant comes with other HomeKit accessories compatible with the speaker. The Ecobee SmartThermostat is the only confirmed accessory so far - and the feature won't be activated for a few more weeks, according to Ecobee. But more devices are likely to follow soon, allowing you to ask Siri to control smart devices in your home, set timers and alarms, and use the intercom feature in multiple rooms in your home. Next, you'll need to have a HomePod Mini on the same network for your device to relay requests.
Siri is getting smarter in terms of home control, adding the ability to ask the voice assistant to do something later or based on an event. This means that you will be able to use commands such as "Hey Siri, turn off the lights when I leave home" or "Hey Siri, turn off the TV at 18:00"
With WatchOS 8, the Apple Home app gets a much-needed redesign. Now, when you access individual accessories as well as HomeKit scenes, the clock will use the context to determine which of them are offered for control. You can now also view HomeKit-compatible camera streams from a ringtone camera directly to your wrist, and you can use the intercom to quickly send a message to your entire home, individual rooms, or personal devices.
To update your HomePod and HomePod Mini software, go to the Home Settings in the Apple Home app (you can enable automatic updates here). For Apple TV 4K, look in the settings menu on your device, and for the Apple Watch, use the Watch app on your iPhone or the settings app on your watch.
Updated, 8:26 AM ET, September 18, 2021: He said the article refers to Siri on a HomePod Mini, not a discontinued HomePod, to control the Apple TV. Information has been added that the HomePod Mini can also be the audio output for other devices via ARC / eArc. He clarified that the new feature for accessing accessories and scenes on the Apple Watch is that the Home app provides relevant accessories and scenes using context.
Correction, 8:26 AM ET September 18, 2021: An earlier version of this article stated that the update will allow you to view camera power on the clock and that you can unlock a door using HomeKit on AppleTV. You can already view video streams on your Apple Watch, the update adds the ability to view streams from a ringtone camera. You can control secure accessories, such as door locks, only through a personal device, not through the Apple TV interface. We regret the mistakes.
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