The WWDC of June 2017 was a blast for all Apple fans, but home automation enthusiasts were most interested in the HomePod. Is the manufacturer about to become the center of your wireless home ecosystem? Let’s check out the smart home Apple envisions to be the Future.
A tech giant and a company known for starting the smartphone revolution, Apple is known to be innovative and creative in the design of their products. Pushing the limits forward, they’ve managed to change the world by giving us the iPod, closely followed by the iPhone. The glass brick that does everything for you in your pocket is much due to Apple’s innovation. Whether you hate or adore the company, the fact is that the tech industry is what it is today, a big part thanks to Apple.
Yet, the Apple Watch isn’t the iPod. It also isn’t the only questionable decision made by the manufacturer in the past few years.
If you follow the latest technology news, you’ve probably come across the WWDC of June 2017 and the multiple products Apple presented. While we can’t really discuss the new iPad or iMac Pro, the HomePod is right up our alley.
Taking the recent changes of Apple HomeKit in iOS 11, we decided to take a further dive. Let’s check out the smart home Apple envisions to be the future and whether the company can fit in the home automation market.
Apple in 2017. Where’s the innovation?
Avid home automation enthusiasts, we’ve had a rather critical approach towards reviewing Apple’s attempts to join the smart home industry. Previously being one of the most innovative tech manufacturers, the company has been slightly falling behind its competitors. Last year, the announcement of the Microsoft Surface Studio put a wrench into the content creation market. In fact, the Studio was widely considered to be an Apple product released by Microsoft due to its sleek innovative design, software features and ecosystem and the hefty price tag.
What’s more, Alphabet’s blow to the company with the Google Pixel smartphone and the release of the innovative and futuristic Samsung Galaxy S8 also made a dent into Apple’s monopoly over creativity and innovation in design.
Of course, we don’t want to start a war with Apple’s enthusiast. In fact, a huge portion of our team are fans of the company. Yes, they are slightly frustrated with some of the more questionable choices of the manufacturer, but that doesn’t mean that Apple don’t offer great products. Quite the opposite. A reason behind their past and current successes lies in the quality of the products they offer.
Being as unbiased as possible and discussing the matter with utmost respect for the company that Apple is, let’s be reasonable with whether or not the smart home market is the right choice and what we can expect in the future. Will we be switching from a Z-Wave ecosystem to an Apple HomeKit one?
The HomePod. By Apple.
Last year, we’ve discussed the report on Apple’s development of an Amazon Alexa competitor stating that if done right, a new smart speaker can result in a surge of new smart home enthusiast. Today, we are happy to note that the HomePod might be even more intriguing that initially thought.
Supporting voice control via Siri, the HomePod will allow you to control your Apple HomeKit enabled devices. What’s more, it will give you the option to ask a range of questions or check your calendar, much like you can via Siri on your iOS devices.
Of course, this isn’t out of the ordinary. Both Amazon Alexa and Google Home are already out and support the functionality of voice commands. What’s more, as a video from TechRadar shows, Apple’s assistant tends to lack behind compared to the current AI competition.
That being said, we don’t expect the HomePod to outperform the existing smart speakers on the market in terms of pure AI. Nevertheless, the selling point of the device, as presented at WWDC, is its push towards music.
While both the Echo and Google Home feature powerful speakers, Apple’s selling point is a unique software that allows the HomePod to play music by being aware of its surroundings. Analyzing the room via its directional microphones, Apple’s smart speaker might be able to prove a viable option to its competitors due to this selling point.
What’s more, if you are already an owner of Apple HomeKit enabled devices and everything in your home is run via Siri, there’s nothing stopping you from making the HomePod your smart speaker of choice.
iOS 11 and Apple’s HomeKit
Another interesting note from WWDC were the new upcoming updates to HomeKit in iOS 11. During the third day of the conference, the company managed to better shape the smart home Apple vision.
One of the most notable upcoming changes are the new product categories that will be featured on the platform. Sprinklers and Faucets will be added alongside the current HomeKit product categories, resulting in a total of 16 different product types.
To further ensure the security of your smart home devices, Apple seems to have taken a page from the Z-Wave Alliance notebook and will implement QR Code and NFC pairing options to their upcoming devices. Presented for simplicity and ease of installation and use, the new pairing method should also add a level of added physical security, if implemented correctly.
Apple is also making a push towards improved latency and aims to expand its software authentication and self-certification process for HomeKit accessories.
What is the Smart Home Apple Believes to be The Future?
Ever since Apple released HomeKit, the company has pushed towards a seamless smart home experience. As home automation enthusiasts we understand the struggles of setting up all of the devices in your home via IFTTT and more. However, a portion of what makes smart tech so exciting is the customization. You can turn your home into a functional place designed toward your liking.
Nevertheless, we are also aware that DIY isn’t for everyone and that the simplicity of plug-and-play is generally a great option. Will Apple be able to deliver the best seamless experience? We doubt it. Apple must compete on multiple fronts to win the battle on the home automation market and chances are, they won’t be the perfect option for most.
Of course, we also believe that there is a market for every tech Apple releases. What’s more, when it comes to tech being unbiased and choosing the best option available on the market, regardless of the brand, is the way to go. The HomePod does seem like an interesting device and the Apple smart home does shape up to be quite intriguing. Do you think Apple is a decent choice in the world of home automation? Let us know in the comments below.