Preview: The Home App for Apple HomeKit
Apple is hosting the 2016 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week in San Francisco. During the keynote speech on Monday, Apple announced a lot of exciting information regarding iOS10, Apple HomeKit, and the new Home app. This was the first time HomeKit was covered at WWDC since it was released two years ago. ConnectSense was able to get the developers copy of iOS10 and explore the exciting Home app.
The home screen of the Home app shows the user what is currently going on with their devices as well as any of their favorite scenes or devices. Any accessories added to HomeKit will have the option of being added to the favorites section. All of the favorites can be controlled with the touch of a button from the home screen. It is also incredibly easy to change the home in which devices are being controlled if the user has multiple homes. Editing the settings and layout of the home screen are very manageable and simple. In the top right corner of the screen there is a “+” that allows for the creation of scenes and accessories. When creating a scene, there are often suggestions for appropriate applications of scenes, but the user also has the option to name the scene themselves. The user has the ability to add whatever accessories they want to the scene; then they can alter the states of the accessories. An example would be a scene that locks the front door, closes the garage door, turns off the lights, and sets the thermostat. Before the scene is finalized, there is an option to test the scene as well as add it to the favorites menu.
The rooms screen allows the user to break down their devices a little bit more. There are still scenes as there was on the home screen, but this time there is an option to select different rooms instead of homes (e.g., garage, living room, bedroom). Various accessories and scenes can be added within a room environment, giving the user more power over devices.
The last aspect of the Home app is the automation screen. There isn’t much in this portion of the app mostly because this is beta one, but it is safe to assume more will be in this section down the line. Even though there isn’t a lot of functionality to the automation tab, there is an interesting fact included. It states that Apple TV is essentially a gateway when the user is away from home. In addition to this, it says that an iPad that is left at home can be used as a gateway as well.
The iOS10 software provides a lot of power for Apple HomeKit. Besides the Home app, the user is also able to control their favorite accessories and scenes from the Control Panel. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen for an easy way to control devices. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting software.