Home HomeKit (is Apple doing it wrong) ?

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by Tech198, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. Tech198 macrumors G4

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    Australia, Perth
    #1
    I believe Apple is focusing Homekit mainly like they are doing with CarPlay... e.g use something that the user has in their pocket at all times which is their iPhone, and link everything else to it.

    Isn't this actually a bad idea?

    For example, Homekit requires Home-kit compatible products. While you can still control them all u still need a hub which to connect them to. Add to the fact they all must work together including the hub..

    I would have liked to see Apple TV 4 with integrated hub/Homekit enabled. in addition u can still control via iOS if u want. And the Homekit app connects to Apple TV. like it does now over your Wi-fi network.

    You would see a Homekit on screen on your TV set, and it would bring up all connected Home-kit connected appliances....

    I thought this would of been better experience, than forcing user control it all via a small display just as an iOS device... This makes more sense when your out and about anyway.


    I guess u'd only be limited to Apple's stuff they would sell, or approve, but at least you would know it would just work, and no issues.

    What does everyone think ?
     
  2. BradWould macrumors 6502

    BradWould

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    #2
    I was expecting the ATV4 would have a bigger role in HomeKit as well. Maybe in future software update? I don't know how realistic that is but here's hoping.
     
  3. ericgtr12 macrumors 6502a

    ericgtr12

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    Mar 19, 2015
    #3
    Homekit seems a lot like Car Play, really specialized and so tightly controlled and overly complicated that most average products are unable to adopt. Most other home automation products, Amazon Echo, z wave, insteon, etc. seem well ahead of the curve compared to Apple.
     
  4. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #4
    What is this hub you are referring to with HomeKit?
     
  5. ericgtr12 macrumors 6502a

    ericgtr12

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    Mar 19, 2015
    #5
    The Apple TV itself, acting as a hub for Homekit.
     
  6. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #6
    Not required for HomeKit unless you want to control remotely away from home.
     
  7. ericgtr12 macrumors 6502a

    ericgtr12

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    #7
    Right, I didn't see that being implied one way or the other, just thought your question was about the hub.
     
  8. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #8
    Following are my observations how HomeKit works. I may not be correct so please correct me if you know or have a better explanation...

    First of all, HomeKit doesn't need a hub that controls over oversees all of your HomeKit devices in your home.

    HomeKit is a database of your HomeKit compatible devices and is stored in securely in iCloud (requires iCloud Keychain turned on).

    Any IOS device that has same AppleID which you setup HomeKit on will synchronize this database.

    Any controlling you do with IOS device like using Siri or using an app Like Home - the IOS device directly talks to the HomeKit device (or through its bridge - ie. Hue bridge or Insteon Hub).

    Any Scenes you setup are stored in iCloud/HomeKit and can be run by any IOS device using the same AppleID.

    Any Triggers that are setup do not appear to be stored in iCloud but rather on the IOS device itself. I can tell because if I setup a Trigger on my iPhone then it does not sync with my iPad like the scenes do. If I have a trigger to turn lights on at a certain time then my IOS device must be turned on and on the local network. I tested this by setting up Triggers and placing my iPhone in airplane mode, did some tests, and it seems to work this way (did not test remotely like if I was away and see if AppleTV plays the triggers).

    If you have an AppleTV 3rd gen or later, and you have it logged into the same iCloud account, it automatically acts like a gateway and re-sends commands it receives via iCloud from your remote IOS device to the local network HomeKit devices. For example... you are on your iPhone at work WiFi or somewhere else on LTE you can still control your lighting etc. at home. I am not certain of the exact protocol or manner how it works therefore my explanation may not be 100% accurate. I am just saying how I believe it works based on what I observe.

    IOS 9 enables devices to be smarter and communicate with HomeKit (iCloud) directly. I am not sure how this works but seems that they would either learn the settings from the IOS device setting up or have to be logged-in to AppleID on the device (like AppleTV does). I can't see how a legacy HomeKit device can all of a sudden bypass the need for an AppleTV when using remotely without being updated to do this. Maybe it only takes one smart/newer device on your network to take the place of an AppleTV ?


    This is in comparison to how traditional Home Automation works using a hub/controller.

    I have an ISY994i and lots of Insteon devices. The ISY does all the work of setting up the switches, running programs (eg. turn lights on at sunset), and triggers (eg. if detects a leak it emails me). Once it is all setup with Insteon scenes etc. it pretty much runs on its own. I could even unplug the ISY and most would work but I would lose the automation part like scheduling and triggers.

    So it seems like HomeKit has the part where you initially setup and link devices together but it fails a bit right now for Triggers and automating things ONLY for the reason that the triggers run on your iPhone which is not as reliable as a dedicated device. One could purchase an iPad or iPod Touch that sits at home and is dedicated to this.

    What Apple needs to do is enable/create some sort of central command thing which stays on the home network (AppleTV maybe) and has the role of automating - like triggers and other related tasks, advanced scripts etc.

    FYI, I am using HomeBridge on a Raspberry Pi to enable my ISY994i work with HomeKit and I have an EcoBee 3 HomeKit thermostat.
     
  9. ericgtr12 macrumors 6502a

    ericgtr12

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    Mar 19, 2015
    #9
    Thanks for taking the time to write this up, it helps to address a lot of questions.
     
  10. Tech198 thread starter macrumors G4

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    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #10
    exactly... integrate the hub into Apple TV, instead of it being a separate box u'd be attaching to your wi-fi anyway to control appliances.

    The understanding is, if Apple TV already has Wifi, why couldn't u just use "it" instead of a seperate box.
     
  11. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #11
    There is no hub to begin with so I keep wondering what this hub is you are referring to.
     
  12. jclo Editor

    jclo

    Staff Member

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Some of the HomeKit products like the Philips Hue use a hub, but there is no separate HomeKit hub you need to buy. A good portion of the available HomeKit products are already WiFi or Bluetooth only with no hub required. Those that aren't, like the Philips Hue, are products that have a reason to use a separate hub and it's not realistic to expect that to be integrated into the Apple TV. Hue, for example, uses Zigbee and it's also designed to work without a HomeKit system.
     
  13. chuyn macrumors 6502

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #13
    I think what could help a lot of people new to HomeKit, or even the average consumer... is if there were a HomeKit app. Somewhere that has a consistent UI for everyone to use and see all of their devices. The way it is now, some apps show more than others and it's really confusing.
     
  14. ericgtr12 macrumors 6502a

    ericgtr12

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    Mar 19, 2015
    #14
    This is why I like WEMO, no hub required and they all integrate nicely into many apps. Unfortunately, Homekit isn't one of them, same most of my other home automation products, Apple appears to be behind the ball with this.
     
  15. JRobinsonJr macrumors regular

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    Aug 20, 2015
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    #15
    Thanks for the excellent writeup!

    While you've nailed the HomeKit scenario, there are a few elephant-sized holes in HomeKit that make me really wonder if the folks at Apple have any knowledge of the 'real world'. :)

    1. While HK doesn't require a hub in the traditional sense, it does require an AppleTV to permit remote access. Fair enough, but IMO that means the AppleTV should be **THE** logical hub for all things HomeKit. Scenes, Triggers, etc., should all be driven by some core process.

    2. Seems that Apple has decided that every user lives alone. Sure! No need to support multiple accounts. After all, DAD is always in charge of the lighting anyway. (extreme sarcasm). God forbid there are multiple people living in the same house that might like to use the service!

    3. Functions have different back-end design. As noted, virtually everything is stored in iCloud... except triggers. Was Apple using multiple disconnected development teams? Was there no oversight?
     
  16. asergioam macrumors newbie

    asergioam

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    Jul 19, 2015
    #16
    And that is probably why it has no homekit integration, because you don't have to ask permission to icloud to access it. They probably would need an hub to serve has a bridge between the devices and apple security autorizations. That's probably why apple stopped selling their products has well, they probably refuse to integrate it with homekit.
     
  17. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    Jan 1, 2008
    #17
    Just because Apple does not follow your personal design strategy does not make them wrong. Also:

    HomeKit does not require an Apple TV for remote access since iOS 9. The support is still there for vendors who have not taken advantage of the new capabilities.

    HomeKit supports multiple authorized people to control devices. They do not assume you live alone.

    There might be a good reason to keep triggers on devices. Just because you do not see it does not make Apple incompetent. For instance, all of my triggers are device-dependent. Putting them in the cloud would be pointless

    A.
     
  18. JRobinsonJr macrumors regular

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    #18
    I will certainly agree that **my** perspective is not the only one. However, being in the software business myself I know you have to design for multiple scenarios... not just your preferred, and Apple does not appear to do that. HomeKit devices are for the HOME... and that means multiple users, yet because the majority of actions / triggers / etc. are device dependent there is no practicable way to share them across a family. Same scenario with the Apple TV. it's a community device but designed to only support a single user... or at least only one at a time. That strikes me as ignoring an obvious use case.
     
  19. asergioam macrumors newbie

    asergioam

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    Jul 19, 2015
    #19
    To me, the biggest problem of being device dependent is that you need your device working correctly, imagine you run out of battery, or it isn't connecting to your wifi correctly (my iphone sometimes does that), your you are rebooting your device, if they were in the cloud the triggers would still trigger. And of course, they would function to everyone. And just because you can't see a point on putti g them in the cloud doesn't mean it is useless to everyone. And it doesn't make apple incompetent, just maybe closeminded about releasing all homekit potential!
    Sometimes after getting home and being connected to my wifi, the triggers don't work before i open a homekit app neither does siri. I think there are still a lot to be improved and I'm confident it will be but it will take time.
    There should be an apple homekit hub to allow other developers to connect to it and the hub would manage everything (why not apple tv has an hub). Instead, I' starting to imagine myself getting a lot of hubs connected to my router and probably another router connected to it so I can connect more hubs. I'm probably not the only one seing this has a problem in the future if apple doesn't do anything about it.
    Plus, their spending energy, might not be much, but it's not 0 and occupying space and energy sockets, and so on...
    Honestly, to me, this is the biggest issue with homekit right now. They really need to get a better solution. I don't mind spending the extra bucks (euros in my case) for the hubs the companies have to create to integrate their devices with homekit, but I really liked a solution for that came asap.

    About the rest, i believe that the biggest problem that occurs to me is having to open the homekit app when i get home or waiting some time (on the notifications screen) for homekit to recognize my homekit devices (and sometimes even after being home for a while without using the iphone to contril anything) but I believe that an apple tv 3 or above would solve that problem since teorethically I would be allways connected to homekit. Can anyone with an apple tv3 or above give some feedback on that? Would really apreciate that since it's becoming annoying.
     
  20. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    #20
    And I said no such thing. I said that the triggers *I* use are device dependent and there would be no point in putting them in the cloud. eg: 'turn on the lights when I get home' is tied to my phone.

    What I was trying to convey was that Apple rarely does things for no reason, and that there may well be a technical challenge which prevents them from putting triggers in the cloud today. Leaping to 'oh they're incompetent' is not useful to anyone.

    A.
     
  21. asergioam macrumors newbie

    asergioam

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    Jul 19, 2015
    #21
    Agree with you there. And I believe they might very well launch a hub to integrate everything including the cloud triggers (or hub triggers).
    You talked about the incompetence of apple before but i must have missed that post, because i don't remember reading that ;)

    The day they eill put triggers in the cloud they will also probably allow the if conditions. For now they probably haven't implemented that because there might not be feedback from devices and they will probably have to build a hub to check the state of everything every 1 second or so. But if there is feedback from the devices sent by it, then I don't see the dificulty of having implemented that already!
     

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