What is Apple HomeKit?
Update: Nest isn’t the only HomeKit-enabled thermostat in town. Hardware manufacturer ecobee announced that its new thermostat, ecobee 3, is now available in select Apple retail stores across North America.
Announced alongside iOS 8 at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple’s HomeKit software aims to put its own spin on home automation. Using HomeKit as a framework, developers can link up iOS products to communicate with home appliances, such as thermostats, light bulbs and garage openers.
While the initial framework of HomeKit was unveiled alongside the release of iOS in September 2014, manufacturers have been waiting to bring out HomeKit-enabled products to consumers over the course of this spring.
Not sure what home appliances will be compatible with your iPhone, iPad or, one day, the Apple Watch? Fear not, as we’ve rounded up a list of upcoming (and a few already-released) products expected – or are already confirmed – to bring Apple connectivity to a home near you.
Ecobee3 Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
While Nest was the company to become synonymous with the term "smart thermometer," it wasn’t the first one to the market with the technology. That honor belongs to a small Canadian company called Ecobee.
Ecobee’s third foray into smart-home temperature control is its best one yet, and now includes support for Apple HomeKit. What sets it apart from the competition? Additional sensors measure temperature and occupancy in multiple locations and can be purchased in packages of two for $79.
Schlage Sense Door Lock
The Schlage Sense lock system, designed with Apple HomeKit in mind, hopes to do away with keys by allowing you to access your home with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod using Bluetooth technology.
The Schlage Sense allows cutting-edge home owners to set and change entry codes using a dedicated app as well as use an illuminated touchscreen keypad for those of us who are still prone to locking ourselves out of the house at 1 o’clock in the morning.
How much does it cost? TBA
Where can I get it? Schlage has stated that select stores will begin selling the Sense later this year (US only).
Honeywell Lyric Thermostat
The Honeywell Lyric has been out for nearly a year, but is expected to receive an update in 2015 that will allow you to turn your iDevice into a smart remote via HomeKit.
The Lyric’s smart technology allows it to adjust temperatures to household activity, controlling energy usage without occupants ever having to leave their beds or set complicated schedules for when they leave the house.
How much does it cost? $279.99. Though, at the time of writing, Honeywell is selling the Lyric for a discounted $249.99 through their website.
Where can I get it? You can order the Lyric online through Honeywell’s webpage, or through various home improvement retailers (US and Canada only).
Hue Automated Lighting System
While the Hue lighting system has yet to confirm HomeKit support, manufacturer Philips‘ past support of iOS devices would suggest that an upcoming crossover is likely.
Philips’ Hue high-tech lightbulbs can be controlled with a dedicated app and an electronic hub that can manage up to 50 individual light sources at a time. You can customize color, timing and brightness for each bulb, and by setting and saving various "scenes" smartphone users can simulate a sunrise in the morning or a turquoise-and-hot-pink ’80s themed party in the evening.
How much does it cost? Starter Kit is $199.95 (£174.99), with additional standard bulbs starting at $60 (£50).
Where can I get it? Hue products can be found on Amazon and most electronics retailers, though Apple features the product in its own store.
MyQ Garage Opener
The MyQ is an sensor for your garage that includes a Wi-Fi hub and door sensor which can transform a smartphone into a functional garage door opener as well as sync up any pre-existing remotes, should you wish to avoid swapping out your entire garage-opener setup.
In addition to being using a smartphone as a key, the MyQ application, in conjunction with HomeKit, can also send notifications that detail when the garage has been in use, thereby foiling teenagers nationwide hoping to "borrow" Dad’s Mustang.
Insteon Hub Pro
Insteon is no stranger to the home automation game, with over 200 different products ranging from thermostats to light switches available to outfit your walls with smart tech.
Several of Insteon’s products already talk with each other over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but with the HomeKit-compatible Hub Pro, the company’s long list of products can be consolidated and controlled with a single iPhone or iPad, synchronizing lights, temperature, smoke detectors and more in one place when it launches later this year.
How much does it cost? $149.99
Where can I get it? Preorder online through SmartHome (US, UK and AU included)
Incipio Power Strips, Outlets, and Adapters
Incipio’s series of ‘smart plugs’ give you complete control over your outlets using Siri commands (i.e., "Siri, turn off the lights") as well as offer proximity detection for when you want certain electronics to turn on when a person enters the room.
Insteon’s 2015 lineup of smart plugs is comprised of The Direct Smart Outlet, which plugs directly into a wall socket, a Direct Wireless Smart Lamp Adapter, for attaching to lightbulbs, and a 4-Port Direct Powerstrip, for control over multiple devices.
How much does it cost? $24.99 for Direct Wireless Smart Outlet (pictured left), $24.99 for Direct Wireless Smart Lamp Adapter (pictured bottom-center), and $59.99 for 4-Port Direct Powerstrip (pictured top-right)
Where can I get it? All three products are displayed and priced on Incipio‘s webpage but have yet to go on sale (US, UK and AU included).
Eve Home Monitoring by Elgato
The Eve home monitoring system by Elgato isn’t really a single product. Rather, it’s more along the lines of an entire monitoring ecosystem, with a full arsenal of various remote sensors that can detect a range of statistics, from air quality to water use.
Sitting at the top of the range is Eve Room, it’s an interesting device that will monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. Eve Door and Window, as the name suggests will allow you to check the current state of your entrances and exits. This is particularly useful if you’re forgetful and frequently leave the house open to criminals.
Eve Weather is, as the name suggests, a little box that monitors the weather outside your home. It’ll record temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Finally, there’s Eve Energy, which will record how much energy your appliances are using, and allow you to switch them on or off remotely. Again, great if your forgetful and frequently leave lights or even worst – hair straighteners turned on.
While this isn’t the first line of home quality products, what makes Eve unique is that the various sensors will be able to connect to an iPhone or iPad using the HomeKit framework to give you a status report of your home, which can be a boon for the environmentally conscientious looking to reduce resource consumption or improve their quality of life.
How much does it cost? Pricing of the Eve range begins at £34.95 ($39.95 US) for the Door and Windows, and rises to £69.95 ($79.95 US) for Eve Room.
Where can I get it? They will appear in Apple’s Online Store this July (US, UK and AU included).
The Withings Home
The Home by Withings is a stationary camera that toes the line between security monitor and user-friendly webcam. It features a high-quality camera that works during the night with time-lapse video recording, a motion sensor, two microphones and even air quality tracking.
Utilizing HomeKit support, the Home can send data based on what it picks up to the user’s iPhone, making it as useful for home security as much as monitoring your toddler or pet.
How much does it cost? $200 (£169.95)
Where can I get it? Order online through Withings
Much like the previous Incipio line, iHome’s upcoming SmartPlug intends to put Siri to work by giving HomeKit users voice control over their outlets.
In order to achieve that, the SmartPlug utilizes an application called iHome Control (a new addition to iHome’s suite of apps designed for use in concert with their list of audio products) that will lets users group multiple plugs together and control electronics en masse.
How much does it cost? $39.99
Where can I get it? iHome reportedly plans to release the SmartPlug later this Spring. (US and Canada only)
Tempo Environment Monitor
The Tempo by Blue Maestro is a versatile, lightweight device designed to track environmental conditions in a number of personal and commercial situations.
Utilizing either HomeKit or a Bluetooth connection via a dedicated app, Tempo allows you to track the humidity, barometric pressure, temperature and other metrics for a wide range of environments, from your pet lizard habitat to your humidor for questionably-obtained cigars.
How much does it cost? $72.00 (£45.00)
Where can I get it? Order online through Blue Maestro
Another contender in the brewing smart plug battle, the Switch by iDevices features similar HomeKit-enabled connectivity between your home and iPhone, utilizing Siri support and a dedicated app that can control multiple electronics remotely without the need for a central hub.
The Switch changes up the formula by featuring a stackable design, customizable light strip, and planned integration with other products that have been featured on this list, such as the Chamberlain MyQ and Schlage door lock.
How much does it cost? $49.99
Where can I get it? iDevices has yet to announce when it will release the Switch (US, UK and AU included).
ConnectSense Smart Outlet
While there are a handful of other uses, it seems most developers are really hooked on the idea of using Homekit as a smart outlet, with ConnectSense bringing its own rendition to the table.
Much like its competitors, the Smart Outlet claims that it will have Siri connectivity, multiple device control, and easy setup. The Smart Outlet also boasts features such as alerts for energy usage, USB ports for simplified charging and ZigBee technology that gives it the ability to communicate freely with other smart devices in the home.
How much does it cost? $79.95
Where can I get it? Pre-order online through ConnectSense (US only)
Velvetwire PowerSlayer Blu
Having your home hooked up to your phone is only convenient if your battery doesn’t die before lunchtime. The Powerslayer Blu, while sounding like a late-’70s heavy metal band, is actually a quite contemporary charger from Velvetwire that connects to your device in more ways than one.
The device alerts you when your iPhone battery is fully charged, offers power surge protection and sends reminders if the phone is due for a charge or gets separated from the device, the latter being a godsend for travelers prone to leaving their cables at home before a long trip.
How much does it cost? $59.95
Where can I get it? The PowerSlayer is listed as ‘coming out soon’ on Velvetwire’s site, though its current iteration is built to work only in the US, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, and other countries with similar 110v outlets.