We round up some of the hottest HomeKit tech
Apple HomeKit is booming. Thanks to iOS 11, it’s easier than ever for makers of smart home devices to get their products working with the platform. That’s a great thing, as Apple HomeKit wants to unify your smart home, putting your iPhone, iPad and Siri in control of everything from smart thermostats to connected lightbulbs and more.
It’s the tech in the background that lets all of your gadgets talk to each other and everything is controlled in one place: Home, a dedicated app that arrived with iOS 10, making it easier than ever to get started.
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If you’re an existing Apple user who wants to be part of the HomeKit smart home revolution, you’ll need to know what works and what doesn’t. HomeKit accessories and devices are sold with a “Works with Apple HomeKit” badge. Some older devices that rely on Apple’s old hardware-based HomeKit capability also use “HomeKit edition” as an identifier, and newer products are getting software updates and, as such, might not even mention HomeKit on the box.
All of this can make jumping into HomeKit a little bit of work. For some help, check out our list of the best Apple HomeKit devices – and we’ll keep things updated as time goes on…
Logitech Pop Home Switch
Smart home control buttons are becoming ever more prevalent. The Logitech Pop Home Switch went live back in August, but it’s only recently that HomeKit compatibility was added.
The Pop jumps onboard your smart home’s Wi-Fi and scans for compatible devices it can control. You then just configure the scenes you want it to perform – turning down the lights to get ready for bed, opening your smart blinds in the morning and so on.
There’s a starter kit which comes with two Pop Home Switches and a hub and you can add on extra Pop buttons too.
D-Link Omna 180
Next, let’s take a look at a smart security camera. D-Link’s Omna is a 180-degree, 1080p connected cam that has infra-red LEDs for night vision up to 5m and two-way audio.
Once it’s hooked up to HomeKit, it gets even smarter, too. So you can set up scenes so that if the Omna 180 detects motion in that room of the house, your smart bulbs will come on automatically. Plus, you can control the camera through Apple’s Home app.
Why would you want purple lighting in the bedroom and fuschia in the living room? Because you can, of course. Colours and brightness can now be controlled within the Apple ecosystem through Siri and, if you’re an existing Hue user, it’s simple to port all the info needed from your old bridge.
If you’re already got Hue you need to pick up the new HomeKit Upgrade bridge, otherwise go for the HomeKit compatible starter kit. Then you can also add a Lightstrip Plus, Downlight or Hue Go or to the mix.
This HomeKit-enabled Dimmer Kit lets you chat to Siri to control your smart bulbs or lamps – with the plug-in dimmers.
It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing set up, but there’s lots of features – from automatic scenes and schedules to geofencing when you leave and enter the house – and the Caséta line works with just about everything: HomeKit, Google Assistant, Nest, Logitech remotes and Honeywell thermostats, so you don’t need to worry about locking yourself in with a smart home system.
Honeywell Lyric Round smart thermostat
Honeywell announced the latest version of its smart thermostat in 2016. The new Lyric is identical to previous models but adds HomeKit support – you can set the temperature from your iPhone, get alerts when it needs maintenance and there’s geofencing so the Lyric will know when you enter and leave your house.
These can be integrated with other HomeKit devices, such as Honeywell’s Lyric smart cameras and security systems plus the smart thermostat is compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings and Alexa too. This is your answer if you like the look of Nest but you’re sure you want a HomeKit home.
Nanoleaf Aurora is a modular lighting system that you can stick to your walls and windows to make beautiful designs. It comes as a set of triangles which will glow and/or flash whatever colours you wish and, just to top it all off, it’s entirely voice controlled.
Here’s where the HomeKit bit comes in: you can use Siri (or Alexa) to control your lights with your voice. Buy a starter kit and add panels as you go. Beaut.
Hunter Symphony and Signal ceiling fans
Hunter’s Wi-Fi enabled Symphony and Signal ceiling fans work with Apple HomeKit too.
That means Siri control, as ever, and integration with other HomeKit products including creating scenes for fans and smart bulbs as you move from room to room in your house or get ready for bed.
Elgato Eve Home Monitoring
Knowing your home isn’t just about how to get that toilet flush with the ‘knack’ to work. Nothing escapes the attention of the Elgato Eve range, which consists of four separate sensors (room, weather, energy, door and window) that will grant you immediate access to your house’s humidity levels, air quality, and temperature – and even the air pressure outside.
Elgato’s smart, energy monitoring plug and light switch are also be HomeKit compatible though its smart bulbs haven’t showed up on the list of devices yet.
First Alert ONELINK Wi-Fi
Nest kind of has the smart smoke and CO detecting market tapped up but don’t discard First Alert if you’re looking for some automated HomeKit compatibility.
The alarm, which replaces your current wired device (a battery powered version is also available) will alert you with notifications in the event of a smoke or carbon monoxide emergency and the HomeKit integration means you can run tests and alter mood lighting directly from your iPhone.
August Smart Lock Pro
August’s famous lock has become even more clever. The Smart Lock Pro still uses a Bluetooth connection to your device to open up as you approach, but now it comes with a bridge that let’s you control your lock from anywhere. It’s also got a new feature called DoorSense that checks if your door is actually closed before auto-locking. Smarter alerts will tell you if your door has been opened for a longer time, too. And of course, it also works with a key, if your phone runs out of battery. iPhone owners can use Siri to lock and unlock doors using voice commands.
The Smart Lock Pro also works with Apple Watch, so you can use your wrist worn device to lock the door, view your activity log, and receive instant notifications. Adding to the convenience, Access mode is still around, offering a list of companies that can take care of stuff at home for you while you’re away.
iDevices Outdoor Switch
Your friends might be on top of home automation behind closed doors but what about outside? This is the first rain-tight smart plug to give options for those who want to have Siri-controlled lights this Christmas, or maybe get the outdoor party started while still plating up in the kitchen.
Plug it into the energy sapping 8-foot high Santa in the garden and you’ll never have to worry about being bankrupted if you forget to turn him off when you’re away from home. The rest of the iDevices HomeKit line-up is rounded out by a smart bulb socket and a smart plug.
Available now in the UK, the Starck-designed Netatmo Valves can help you use 37% less energy in your home. When connected to your radiator, they can help set a heating schedule for a room, regulate the temperature based on weather and insulation, and detect when a window is open. And of course, there’s HomeKit and Siri support.
Logitech Circle 2
HomeKit is starving for smart cameras, which is why it’s great news that the Circle 2 is now available with HomeKit support. Logitech’s versatile camera can work indoors and out, in wired and wireless options, and can stick on all matter of walls and surfaces. However, only the wired version is HomeKit compatible for now. You’ll be able to use its motion sensing powers to trigger home automation, tell Siri what to show you and even command it from your Apple Watch. There’s also a £79.99-per-month subscription that gives you person detection and activity zones.
If you’ve wanted to jump into smart lights but didn’t want to deal with hubs or pay for Philips Hue, until now you were pretty much out of luck. Thankfully, LIFX has finally updated its bulbs with HomeKit support, so you can control them from Siri or the dedicated Home app. You won’t have to buy any of the new bulbs either, as this is all done via software update. You can check out LIFX’s complete lineup of compatible bulbs at its website.
Apple, obviously, has a lot of pull in the tech world. There are millions upon millions of people with iOS devices who want to jump into the world of smart home technology and, by extension, need HomeKit support.
iOS 11 is out, and that means a boom in HomeKit-compatible devices is underway. The difference lies in the way Apple now authenticates devices for its platform. Previously, Apple required a special chip inserted into products, making it difficult for manufacturers. That’s been changed to a much simpler software authentication, which means all kinds of products are just a software update away from the HomeKit ecosystem.
More and more companies are announcing HomeKit products, here are some of the best ones you can look forward to in the near future.
What good are fancy blinking lights if you can’t put on a little show? The Rhythm is a £40 add-on that you plug into your existing Nanoleaf Aurora setup to gain some beautiful musical abilities. And of course, there are scenes you can pre-program to and Siri support. Hey Siri, get the party started.
August Doorbell Cam Pro
While the new August Smart Lock Pro has HomeKit support from the jump, the Doorbell Cam is still waiting. It’s not clear what the hold up is, but now the Doorbell Cam Pro is around the corner, going on sale 10 October for $199. August has promised HomeKit support for the regular Doorbell Cam, even building in the previously required HomeKit chip. It’s likely the Doorbell Cam Pro will follow suit with HomeKit support, but what isn’t clear is when that’ll happen.
Netatmo Presence and Welcome
The floodgates of HomeKit-compatible smart cameras are opening up. Netatmo recently announced that its outdoor Presence and indoor Welcome cameras will both get HomeKit compatibility by the end of the year. In addition to letting you check in on the Home app or on your Apple Watch, you’ll get all the benefits of a Netatmo security camera. If you’ve wanted a security camera but don’t want the hassle of a subscription service to host your videos, Netatmo is for you because it’s done for free.
If you’re looking for a HomeKit compatible smart speaker, there really is no alternative but Apple’s own HomePod. The only problem? You’ll have to wait until December for this $349 answer to the Echo. Siri will host the proceedings in this device, allowing you to control your other HomeKit devices. She’ll of course be able to answer your queries, and Apple will leverage Apple Music to turn her into a DJ of sorts, spitting out tunes based on your requests, like what the number one song in 1973 was. The big thing, according to Apple, is that the HomePod will use spatial awareness to specifically design room-filling sound to your environment.
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