It’s that special time of year when everyone gets crazy about Apple’s future operating systems, hoping to bring them to an end at WWDC. While all HomeKit goodies usually appear towards the end of WWDC week in dedicated developer sessions, this year will obviously be different.
Will HomeKit receive a key moment? Will there be a HomeKit developer session? Nobody knows! That doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun. Here are the current rumors and my list of what I would like to see for HomeKit in this dub-dub year.
So far, in the process of launching WWDC, we have heard some details about what Apple has in store for HomeKit through various leaks. The biggest header seems to be a night swap style feature that changes compatible lighting in the home to suit the varying color temperatures presented by nature. So, during the day, the lights would be defaulted to a cooler temperature, which could help energize, and at night, they will change to softer and warmer colors to promote rest.
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Apple also seems to be working on extensive facial recognition capabilities for HomeKit cameras. Currently, HomeKit can analyze the action in front of the camera vision to determine if it is an event based on a person, an animal or a vehicle and will notify or record accordingly. For iOS 14, Apple can bring the ability of cameras to recognize specific faces, which could allow personal notifications, such as “Jon got home” when walking in front of the camera.
Finally, rumors indicate that HomePod is gaining deeper integration with Apple TV. Rumors suggest that the HomePod will be able to be set as a permanent source of audio output and will even work with stereo pairs, which makes the Apple smart speaker more suitable for home theater use.
Before we dive into specific desires, let’s focus on some of the things behind the scenes that impact all devices. These include available automations and accessory types, as well as data or settings that are never displayed to the end user.
Whenever I try to explain automation to someone who doesn’t live in the HomeKit world, I always lead with an example of turning on a fan when it gets too hot, even though I know the Home app doesn’t accept this directly. Yes, you can do this using a third-party app, but the whole point of the Home app is to provide a safe and consistent user experience.
Strangely, the Home app has the ability to display temperature automations at present, if they are created in another app, you can’t build them in Apple Home. Other missing automations include humidity and, although not as useful, at least for me, light-based automations. Obviously, this needs to change and I hope it comes with improvements this year.
Apple’s list of accessory categories is also in desperate need of expansion, with HomeKit currently missing some of the largest sellers of smart homes. Not only do you find it strange to exit the Home app to control non-HomeKit accessories, but only for the platform in general, so many options are available for other voice assistants.
Just the missing categories in my head include: robot vacuum cleaners and mops, appliances like coffee machines, refrigerators, ovens, toasters, water heaters, washers and dryers, and other things like adjustable beds and pet feeders. Short support orders certainly help in some of these cases, but it is not a complete replacement.
Improving the quality of life
While I’ve never experienced this personally, I’ve heard horror stories where someone’s HomeKit configuration or database becomes corrupt, requiring them to tweak it and start over. Technically, HomeKit shouldn’t need backups, because iCloud keeps everything in sync, but for those occasions it would be nice to have them.
I have to go back and set each accessory and camera name, create automations, create scenes or select types of accessories is not something I want to do again, and a simple backup would definitely help the cause. There is a third-party application that has backup capabilities, Controller for HomeKit, which helps, but again takes users out of the Home application experience.
Device registration is another one of those features that has a third-party option through the HomeKit Controller, but like all things, it’s limited and not as useful as it could be. Even if it’s something as simple as a text file that can be generated on demand, having the ability to see when or why an accessory decided to play the game unanswered or when the air conditioner was suddenly changed to heat up from the cold. incredibly handy.
HomeKit hubs, Apple TV, HomePod or iPad always at home are another painful point for HomeKit, because the user has no way to determine who should drive them all. HomeKit, unfortunately, seems to choose at random which of them will act as a hub, no matter where it is actually in the house. A simple switch is all that is needed here, nothing fancy.
iOS and iPadOS 14
Now on iOS, which surprisingly, I don’t actually have a lot of platform-specific wishes. In general, I like the look and feel of the Home app on iOS, so apart from the additional icons of the device, I don’t have much desire for visual change. Instead, I just want to improve your quality of life.
Preferences for everyone
Setting your favorite accessories and scenes in the Home app is a handy way to keep frequently used objects in the front and center, but as it is, changing things affects everyone in the Home. It would be good for everyone to have their own favorites, especially for those who only need access to a few devices.
As mentioned earlier, HomeKit is a great way to keep all the important details in sync between devices, but it lacks other areas, including camera wallpapers. I’ve spent a lot of time changing the wallpaper for each room in the Home app whenever it’s time for an update, which seems like a relatively easy solution via iCloud (at least I think so).
Another wish I have for iOS is accessory restrictions or a full “kids” or “guest” mode. Since we have HomeKit accessories in almost every corner of the house, I would like to be able to give access only to the devices inside, says my daughter’s room. This would allow it to adjust things like brightness or brightness, ceiling fan speeds, or operate a smart connector without having access to more critical things in the house, such as the thermostat.
The same goes for guests, where I would like to be able to assign only a few accessories that might be needed if someone is looking at the home, preventing possible confusion and lengthy explanations. I seriously considered mounting an iPad on the wall or using an old iPhone just for this specific purpose, and as great as the HomePod, sometimes it’s faster and easier to touch a button.
HomeKit Secure Video
Switching to HomeKit Secure video, where another obvious desire revolves around areas of activity or movement. The latest version of the excellent Logitech Circle View and the affordable eufy wireless 2 and 2C upgrades have shown users how desperately we need to assign certain areas of their vision to notifications and recordings.
This is especially true because the lack of HomeKit-enabled bells is readily available, as some users rely on a front-facing room or porch to keep tabs on packages or visitors. I’d also like to see Apple dedicate a tab for cameras or have a list of recorded events, because navigating the timeline to watch videos isn’t the best experience.
Spraying or irrigation assistance, while excellent, is hampered by HomeKit’s lack of programming capability. What makes smart sprinkler systems so special is their ability to run a predefined program, without the need to automatically build / start automatically for each day and time and their ability to take into account local weather. The Home app could definitely benefit from this, as I’m pretty sure everyone who owns a HomeKit irrigation device is using the manufacturer’s app exclusively at this time.
Control center and widgets
My final wish for iOS and iPadOS 14 is a better Control Center and widget experience. As it is, the current Home portion of the Control Center is far too limited and just navigating to it requires too much interaction, so much so that I simply gave it up a long time ago.
I hope to see Apple create a widget for the Home app for either minus a screen, or available directly in the icon grid that can have specific accessories or scenes assigned to it, or live camera streams. This would also tie in with the separate props and stage favorites, as everyone could have things they care about from a faucet or slip.
tvOS and HomePod
When it comes to the living room, the Apple HomeKit still has a long way to go for both the TVOS and the HomePod. While Apple TV has HomeKit support, it is limited to cameras and there is no complete accessory control solution. For the HomePod, it’s more of a matter of keeping up with competitors, both in terms of hardware and voice commands.
Sure, having the Home app on the big screen wouldn’t be the preferred method of interacting with my home, and it wouldn’t be one I’d use more than once or twice a week, but I’d like at least one option. . Third-party apps, such as HomeCam, help fill the gap for some things like cameras, but there’s no app that gives access to all my accessories, at least not one that’s been updated in recent years.
I would also like to see the ability to display HomeKit notifications on tvOS if you wish. I know this won’t be the most popular opinion, but I’d appreciate a notification via Apple TV when someone is hiding around the property or when the garage door opens. Taking things a little further, I would definitely like to have the option to jump into a stream of live cameras directly from the notification, just like on iOS or macOS.
Speaking of cameras, even though tvOS can display HomeKit streams, it doesn’t support HomeKit Secure Video, which means you can’t examine recorded footage. The cameras on tvOS do not transmit any sound on the platform, which is a strange limitation that seems to have been forgotten once Apple sent the integration of HomeKit on TV.
We would also like to use a HomePod starter camera directly on an Apple TV on demand, just as our friends can switch to the world of Alexa and Google Home. While not as critical as this can be set up using shortcuts and the HomeCam app mentioned above, HomePod seems to fight shortcut attacks by simply refusing to run randomly.
Perhaps the biggest reason I want the Home on TV app is that, like many, I dreamed of the day when we could have a device always turned on in the house, which will show us values such as the air quality in our connected sensors and, of course, the camera supplies, all in one central place.
Yes, I could just leave a small window open on my Mac or have my phone screen turned on at any time while you load at my desktop, but I’d rather just have it in the background, on a big screen, which it’s not honest ”I don’t get used to it all day. Unfortunately, the closest thing tvOS currently has is the third-party app, DayView, which was abandoned when the developer joined Apple.
I know, I know, WWDC isn’t about hardware, but hey it’s a wish list, so why not? In addition, I only have one hardware wish this year, which is a cheaper, smaller HomePod that has only average sound. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad how good the current HomePod sounds and I use it every day in a few rooms in my house, but I want Siri in every room in my house, which is simply not feasible at the current price.
I know Apple doesn’t make it cheap, and the focus on HomePod is really music, but like it or not, people buy it for HomeKit, and sometimes people don’t care if their music sounds good, they just want music. Apple, you do it yourself and create a HomePod mini that looks better, sounds better than most other options and is made of more premium materials. Just put a price tag around $ 99 and I’ll be happy.
Let’s face it, using the Home application on the Apple Watch is not the most pleasant experience and, in some cases, it is absolutely painful. Even with the latest Apple Watch hardware, things are slow, unanswered and hard to track at times, plus the Siri watch is even less reliable.
Speed and reliability
Launching the Home app isn’t as common on the Apple Watch, at least for me, so when I want to punish myself for trying to do something on the small screen, it often takes longer than switching to the iPhone and doing it there . All of this comes from the Home app on the watch, always needing to refresh accessory states at launch, even with the background update enabled and adding it to the Dock or clock face.
Once everything is finally updated, the attempt to switch a device status or remove a power from the camera is hit or miss. When things work, it certainly takes longer for accessories to react to change than on other devices, if they ever happen. What makes it worse is that I often wonder if I actually touched the accessory plate to turn off a light or a plug. So when combined with slow response times, I can sit there waiting for no reason if the clock has not turned on the tap.
Also, in its current form, the WatchOS Home app will only display accessories that are set to Favorites over iOS, which really makes sense for things to be accessed faster, but makes it frustrating when you want to access this accessory has not been blessed with this distinction. I certainly don’t just support a gigantic list of accessories on the watch, but I’d at least like the ability to move from room to room if needed.
Finally, for watchOS, I would like to see that Apple includes HomeKit scenes or accessories in the complications of the watch face. Yes, it’s true, another desire to lock, but the third-party HomeRun app shows us how useful HomeKit can be right on the clock. Apple may start small, including only scenes on the front of the watch, but it would be great to see the sensor data just a moment from the wrist in the future.
I’m definitely glad that Apple brought the Home app to macOS a few years ago, but it needs some work. Even if I’m going to throw in a few additions that I’d like to see, I’d be ecstatic if the Home app was simply adapted for this year’s launch.
The Mac Home app seems to be suffering from accessory refresh issues, especially after waking it up after a few hours of inactivity. I usually have to close the Home app completely before all my accessories are up to date and usable, and I had a morning when I panicked a little when I saw the main status message in the “Garage Door Open” app display. when it really isn’t.
Also, I can’t tell you how many times I had to close the app and restart it just for the small camera navigation button to reappear in the tab bar. I have no clue that this button is disappearing, and while there are other ways to get around it, this simply shouldn’t happen.
Moving on to the new capabilities, as with iOS, I’d like to see Apple announce HomeKit widgets, which are accessible via Today View in the macOS notification center. Yes, extracting the Home app isn’t the hardest thing to do when you’re already on a Mac, but I’d love to be able to switch a favorite from the notifications panel or take a look at a camera without completely interrupting the flow. For work. .
As I mentioned a few times in this list, third-party developers are helping to fill the gap for HomeKit for other Apple platforms, why doesn’t the Mac get the same love? It would be great to see what developers could do with everything that makes the Mac unique, but at this point it’s up to Apple to make HomeKit available. The quick actions of the menu bars, the dedicated windows for displaying live views of each HomeKit camera and the storage / display of measurements from sensors are just part of its potential.
What are your WWDC 2020 HomeKit wishes?
What are your wishes for HomeKit for this year’s WWDC? Do you have any ideas for improving the Home app in general? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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