Apple Publishes Open-Source Version of HomeKit Accessory Development Kit

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Apple has released an open-source version of its HomeKit Accessory Development Kit (ADK), following news that it is joining a new industry effort to create an open standard for smart home devices.


On Wednesday, Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance announced the formation of a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new IP-based connectivity standard for smart home products, with a focus on increased compatibility, security, and simplified development for manufacturers.

In a news post on its developer website, Apple said the release of the open-source HomeKit ADK is designed to accelerate development of the new universal smart home standard:
To accelerate the development of the new universal standard, Apple is open-sourcing portions of its HomeKit Accessory Development Kit (ADK). HomeKit has grown to become the most extensive, powerful and secure smart home platform available on more than a billion iOS and iPadOS devices. Built from the ground up to protect customer data, HomeKit and the Home app use innovative privacy technologies and techniques to help minimize the amount of data anyone -- including Apple -- can access as well as powerful security features that protect personal information. By open-sourcing its HomeKit technology, Apple will be helping to jump-start the initiative and ultimately deliver an even better experience to customers.
The release of the ADK means anyone can start developing non-commercial smart home accessories and even build HomeKit devices for their own home, while accessory manufacturers can use it to test products before officially joining the HomeKit MFi program, which can be a time-consuming process, not to mention an expensive undertaking.

Apple says it will contribute its HomeKit Accessory Protocol to the new consortium, and noted that anyone planning to sell HomeKit-compatible accessories must use the commercial version of the kit supplied by the Apple MFi program. The company also confirmed that existing HomeKit accessories will remain compatible with the new protocol when it's eventually released.

To access the HomeKit Open Source ADK, visit www.github.com/apple/HomeKitADK.

Article Link: Apple Publishes Open-Source Version of HomeKit Accessory Development Kit
 

vmachiel

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Well that’s good.. I think? I’m not a developer: can anyone explain how will this help the platform?
 

elvisimprsntr

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Only took them 3 years after they said they would open source it, nearly 10 years since hacking home automation devices using SiriProxy, and 3 years of hacking Homekit with HomeBridge

I suspect the only reason they are now is due to slow adoption rate and it means homekit has two possible future outcomes.

1. Apple wants to make sure Homekit is not excluded in the new Apple, Amazon, Google, Zigbee open standard announcement.
https://www.macrumors.com/2019/12/18/apple-amazon-google-zigbee-open-standard/

2. It means the end of homekit as a future platform and it will be left to DIYers to provide support for their now obsolete products.

Only time will tell if Apple sticks to their commitment and the new consortium adopts Homekit at all.
 
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TonyC28

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So when can I start adding my Nest products to HomeKit? Or is there a physical hardware reason that makes it impossible?
 

az431

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I suspect the only reason they are now is due to slow adoption rate
And your evidence of a "slow adoption rate" is what? Gut feeling?
- - Post merged: - -

So when can I start adding my Nest products to HomeKit? Or is there a physical hardware reason that makes it impossible?
This has nothing to do with whether Nest will support HomeKit. Zero.
 

MisterMxyzptlk

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Dec 6, 2019
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I’ve been using HomeKit for several years. Anecdotally, I put reliability at 95%. Which is good enough for lights but you can’t use it for say controlling a water faucet. Eliminating bridges (with everyone on the same standard) could improve things. As I think the device failure probabilities multiply.
 

TonyC28

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This has nothing to do with whether Nest will support HomeKit. Zero.
You seem nice. Thanks for the response. I guess I was a little thrown off by this line from the article:

Apple said the release of the open-source HomeKit ADK is designed to accelerate development of the new universal smart home standard

But hey, if you say it has "nothing...zero" to do with it then I must have read that line wrong.
 
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elvisimprsntr

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And your evidence of a "slow adoption rate" is what? Gut feeling?
Having worked with several small manufacturers of products and applications over the years, who cannot afford the overbearing expense of MFi development and certification to sell their wares as Apple MFi certified. This ultimately drives out competition, leading to higher consumer prices and profit for few.
 

CJM

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IP based connectivity is the interesting part here, as I’m pretty sure Philips and Zigbee don’t do that at the moment.
 

Westacular

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Oct 9, 2007
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The company also confirmed that existing HomeKit accessories will remain compatible with the new protocol when it's eventually released.
No, they didn't: What Apple said was
Existing HomeKit accessories will continue to work after the new protocol becomes available since Apple plans to continue to support HAP for communication with smart home accessories in its ecosystem.
i.e., existing HomeKit accessories will continue to work using the existing HomeKit Accessory Protocol even after the new Connect Home over IP protocol is finalized and adopted. Apple's saying both protocols will be supported by their devices. Apple is not saying that random HomeKit accessories will suddenly learn how to speak the new protocol.
 

araadt

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Apr 28, 2016
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It’s similar to the USB C and emoji consortium to set standards.
I'm going to be pedantic and note that the Unicode Consortium does a lot more than just ensure we get wizard-hat emojis. Their standardization drives what's at the core of all fonts.

"Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard is maintained by the Unicode Consortium, and as of May 2019 the most recent version, Unicode 12.1, contains a repertoire of 137,994 characters (consisting of 137,766 graphic characters, 163 format characters and 65 control characters) covering 150 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets and emoji."
 
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elvisimprsntr

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No, they didn't: What Apple said was

Existing HomeKit accessories will continue to work after the new protocol becomes available since Apple plans to continue to support HAP for communication with smart home accessories in its ecosystem.
i.e., existing HomeKit accessories will continue to work using the existing HomeKit Accessory Protocol even after the new Connect Home over IP protocol is finalized and adopted. Apple's saying both protocols will be supported by their devices. Apple is not saying that random HomeKit accessories will suddenly learn how to speak the new protocol.
This is an example of what it's not good to be an early adopter. Too many competing proprietary home automation standards, ultimately leaving early adopters with door stops after the technology, company, or cloud services are dropped. It will likely be left up to the open source community to provide continued long term support once Apple decides to discontinue support. Apple should have open sourced the protocol from day one, as it said it was going to do during the original keynote many years ago. Doing so now and joining the new consortium has sealed HomeKit's fate. Glad I never jumped in with both feet.
 
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JimmyHook

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Only took them 3 years after they said they would open source it, nearly 10 years since hacking home automation devices using SiriProxy, and 3 years of hacking Homekit with HomeBridge

I suspect the only reason they are now is due to slow adoption rate and it means homekit has two possible future outcomes.

1. Apple wants to make sure Homekit is not excluded in the new Apple, Amazon, Google, Zigbee open standard announcement.
https://www.macrumors.com/2019/12/18/apple-amazon-google-zigbee-open-standard/

2. It means the end of homekit as a future platform and it will be left to DIYers to provide support for their now obsolete products.

Only time will tell if Apple sticks to their commitment and the new consortium adopts Homekit at all.
What company is listed first on your consortium list?

Hmmmm... tortured logic. I could easily say that Google joined the consortium to make sure that their pathetic little assistant has a role in future smart home devices... but I’d never say that.

I could also say, using the same logic, that Echo smart home devices and Assistant devices will be left to hobbyists in the future
 

konqerror

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Only took them 3 years after they said they would open source it, nearly 10 years since hacking home automation devices using SiriProxy, and 3 years of hacking Homekit with HomeBridge
You're getting two things confused. The HAP specification was publicly released in 2017. What was just released is a specific C implementation of the protocol.

Regardless of the rights to the protocol or implementation, HAP requires licensing to obtain an Apple-signed certificate in commercial use. This actually does not conflict with most definitions of "open source".
 

RoboCop001

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I’m confused about the part where manufacturers still need to acquire the commercial version of HomeKit to officially release devices.

Does that mean the HomeKit brand (and others) will remain? And that they all just use the same standard? But if they’re all the same then why does a manufacturer need to get the commercial HomeKit? Wouldn’t Home app work with anything developed under the new standard?
 

vipergts2207

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This is an example of what it's not good to be an early adopter. Too many competing proprietary home automation standards, ultimately leaving early adopters with door stops after the technology, company, or cloud services are dropped. It will likely be left up to the open source community to provide continued long term support once Apple decides to discontinue support. Apple should have open sourced the protocol from day one, as it said it was going to do during the original keynote many years ago. Doing so now and joining the new consortium has sealed HomeKit's fate. Glad I never jumped in with both feet.
Apple is maintaining support for current HomeKit devices, so I’m not really sure what you’re on about with the doom and gloom lol.
 

elvisimprsntr

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Apple is maintaining support for current HomeKit devices, so I’m not really sure what you’re on about with the doom and gloom lol.
Just read the FAQ https://www.connectedhomeip.com

Will my current smart home products still continue to work as they do today?
Yes. Amazon, Apple, and Google are committed to continue support for consumers and their existing products.
Will current smart home products continue to work?
Yes. Amazon, Apple, and Google are committed to continue support for developers and their products.
Will they also be compatible with the new protocol?
The focus of the Project will be on new products. For developers interested in joining the effort, please join the Project Connected Home over IP Working Group.
They have pledged support for existing products, but ultimately development will stagnate as manufacturers future products adopt the new standards. You are more than welcome to cling to false hope, but I will not invest in any of the many home automation protocol technologies struggling to survive.
 

vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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Just read the FAQ https://www.connectedhomeip.com



They have pledged support for existing products, but ultimately development will stagnate as manufacturers future products adopt the new standards. You are more than welcome to cling to false hope, but I will not invest in any of the many home automation protocol technologies struggling to survive.
So manufacturers’ existing products will continue to work with HK and the new ones they develop will work with this new protocol that includes HomeKit. Still not sure what I’m supposed to be worried about here.