A year after Apple first announced HomeKit at WWDC 2014, the first compatible products are finally hitting the market. HomeKit is an Apple protocol designed to link together all those smart home devices into one network, so we don't have to have a half-dozen apps to control our garage door opener, smart light switches, and more.
It also integrates with Siri, so you'll be able to say "Siri, turn off the lights downstairs" or "Open the garage door." The best part may be that different smart lights and fixtures can be integrated together. For instance, if I have smart lights from one company installed in ceiling fixtures and a smart switch on a lamp in the same room, they can be tied together and treated as if they were all connected.
Apple has built a number of different levels into the system. At the base level are "rooms" which can include all the lights in a certain area. Rooms are connected into "zones" like upstairs or downstairs. Thus, you can simply say "turn off all lights upstairs" and all the lights upstairs (as long as they are HomeKit compatible) will turn on.
HomeKit currently works with locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs and switches—notably missing from that list is ceiling fans like the smart Haiku from Big Ass Fans.
Five companies are announcing HomeKit products today, across all Apple's supported product categories.
Lutron is now offering HomeKit-compatible versions of its Caseta Wireless smart lighting dimmer kits. There are two versions of the kit, which includes a smart bridge, two wireless remotes, and two plug-in lamp dimmers or two in-wall wireless dimmer switches. Both kits are $230 (USD), with additional dimmer/remote kits available for $60. Lutron also sells smart shade systems that can be controlled through the Lutron app, but not through HomeKit... yet.
iHome is offering a HomeKit-compatible smart plug that allows users to remotely control lamps, fans, and other mechanical devices. It will be available for pre-order beginning June 15 and will hit stores in late June.
Ecobee is launching its Ecobee3 Wi-Fi thermostat with HomeKit support. The $250 device cleverly uses remote sensors to measure temperatures in a number of rooms around the home (not just at the thermostat) to ensure proper comfort everywhere. With HomeKit, users will be able to control their thermostat's temperature with Siri. The new HomeKit-compatible model will go on sale in July.
Insteon is launching a HomeKit-compatible version of its $150 Insteon smart hub. The company makes a wide variety of smart devices that talk to the hub, including wall switches, wall outlets, Wi-Fi cameras, door locks, smart bulbs, and more. It's available for pre-order starting today, and it will ship next month. The new hub is available today from Amazon.
Finally, Elgato is launching its Eve smart home sensors to measure air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy, and water consumption. The energy-measuring product can also act as a remote switch, turning products on and off via HomeKit. The Eve products are available for pre-order today, and they will ship next month.
Many more HomeKit-compatible devices should be launching over the next few months, including products from companies like Chamberlain/LiftMaster, Schlage, Philips, Withings, August, and more. Notably missing from that list is Nest, which launched its own networking protocol last year.
What HomeKit devices (if any) do you plan to use in your home? Let us know in the comments below.
- HomeKit is finally on its way: Get ready to control your house from an iPhone
- Haiku ceiling fan for the smart home owner
- Control your garage door from your smartphone with Chamberlain's MyQ Garage
- Apple to introduce new Smart Home features to iOS at WWDC
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.