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Apr 12, 2001
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At CES 2017 earlier this year, Chinese company Focalcrest debuted the Mixtile Hub, a supposedly MFi-certified smart home bridge that promised to bring HomeKit connectivity to various connected home products that would not otherwise be able to interface with Apple's smart home platform.

mixtile2.jpg

Specifically, Focalcrest said the Mixtile Hub would be able to interface with Z-Wave and ZigBee devices and sensors, as well as connect to various smart home devices through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

As it turns out, however, the Mixtile Hub won't support HomeKit after all. At some point between CES and now, Focalcrest removed any mention of HomeKit from its press release--see the original for comparison--and the company now plans to launch the Mixtile Hub with Amazon Alexa support only.

In a recent email to MacRumors forum member Macwick, shared with us, Focalcrest vaguely said it believes Apple "doesn't permit bridge products to compatible with different brand devices," which isn't entirely true.
In the past few months, we kept to contact Apple for approval the HomeKit related designs. But this stage really takes a bit long and till now we still don't get a positive reply from Apple.

From our communication with Apple, we feel that they don't permit bridge products to compatible with different brand devices upon some uncertain reasons, as you know, our Mixtile Hub is a bridge product too.
The Philips Hue bridge does support both HomeKit and ZigBee, but that's just for one product, whereas the Mixtile Hub would have essentially made any Z-Wave or ZigBee product compatible with HomeKit. It wouldn't be surprising if Apple refused to certify the Mixtile Hub due to security concerns.

While it's unsurprising that Apple isn't backing the Mixtile Hub, it's disappointing that Focalcrest so prominently advertised HomeKit support prior to receiving certification for the product. Focalcrest admitted that it's uncertain if its "redefined" Mixtile Hub will still be attractive to homeowners.

Article Link: Mixtile Hub Smart Home Bridge Won't Support HomeKit After All
 

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
572
200



At CES 2017 earlier this year, Chinese company Focalcrest debuted the Mixtile Hub, a supposedly MFi-certified smart home bridge that promised to bring HomeKit connectivity to various connected home products that would not otherwise be able to interface with Apple's smart home platform.

mixtile2.jpg

Specifically, Focalcrest said the Mixtile Hub would be able to interface with Z-Wave and ZigBee devices and sensors, as well as connect to various smart home devices through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

As it turns out, however, the Mixtile Hub won't support HomeKit after all. At some point between CES and now, Focalcrest removed any mention of HomeKit from its press release--see the original for comparison--and the company now plans to launch the Mixtile Hub with Amazon Alexa support only.

In a recent email to MacRumors forum member Macwick, shared with us, Focalcrest said Apple doesn't permit smart home bridge products to be compatible with other standards or brands such as Z-Wave and ZigBee.While it's unsurprising that Apple isn't backing the Mixtile Hub, it's disappointing that Focalcrest so prominently advertised HomeKit support prior to receiving certification for the product. Focalcrest admitted that it's uncertain if its "redefined" Mixtile Hub will still be attractive to homeowners.

Article Link: Mixtile Hub Smart Home Bridge Won't Support HomeKit After All


I and other members called this outcome back in January. Typical CES vaporware and wishful thinking of a small startup (foreign at that) they could pull an end-around all the bigger firms with this. I would've bought one though.

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...zigbee-and-z-wave-smart-home-devices.2026180/
 

arubinst

macrumors 6502
May 26, 2008
325
188
Lausanne - Switzerland
In a recent email to MacRumors forum member Macwick, shared with us, Focalcrest said Apple doesn't permit smart home bridge products to be compatible with other standards or brands such as Z-Wave and ZigBee.

That doesn't seem right. Philips Hue uses ZigBee and it is a HomeKit compatible bridge.

Unless in misunderstood what Macwick said.
 

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
572
200
Once again, Apple's arbitrary rules screw over the customer. I abandoned the Homekit garbage long ago and went to Alexa/Smarthings and never looked back.

I find Homekit to work as well as any, but I do buy only automation products like Hue that also work with others like Alexa or Google.
 
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brett_x

macrumors member
Apr 25, 2005
56
147
Focalcrest said Apple doesn't permit smart home bridge products to be compatible with other standards or brands such as Z-Wave and ZigBee.

Hue supports Zigbee and Homekit, so it doesn't appear to be true.

Macrumors... Don't you have the resources to investigate and back that up or deny it? By not doing so, you've fed the "Apple is so closed it hurts" trolls.
 

jljue

macrumors 6502
Feb 4, 2011
288
67
Brandon, MS
A little disappointing but not unexpected for those who want easy and supported capability for older automation devices; for the rest, we will keep plugging away with HomeBridge until that gets broken...
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,299
20,079
Apple is currently losing the battle for the home. Alexa is quickly overtaking everything.

How can the company that kickstarted the AI personal assistant revolution five and a half years ago be so far behind? They've even had HomeKit for two years. Then a company like Amazon whose most successful product is an eBook reader and has turned out massive flops like the Fire Phone comes in and owns them.

If Apple doesn't have some seriously major upgrades for Siri at WWDC along with some dedicated hardware this autumn, I'm going to be seriously worried for Apple's future. You can only play the smartphone card for so long before the next big thing knocks you flat. I think they're working on something, and I'd prefer to use Apple over competitors because of their stance on privacy and security, but for a company with their resources this is taking far too long. As much as I like my Apple Watch, they've been piddling with these side projects too much and losing sight of where technology is headed.
 

Coli22

macrumors newbie
Mar 31, 2016
8
16
Homekit is a total failure. It reminds me of MobileMe - except, there's no Stevie around anymore. What a shame! Apple in 2017? No more crazy ones! Misfits - gone! Rebels. gone! They don't see things differently anymore. They invent nothing but rules and they respect only status quo! Now you can ignore them with ease, because they wont change anything anymore! They are pushing the human race backward! And they will never again change the world like they did with Jobs!
 

RMo

macrumors 65816
Aug 7, 2007
1,259
322
Iowa, USA
Not surprising, but there must be some details missing from the company's inference; as others have mentioned, the Hue bridge uses ZigBee but is still allowed. Of course, that is different in that it allows only specific classes of devices (light bulbs--and technically motion sensors and two types of switches, though as far as I can tell, only the bulbs are exposed to HomeKit), so perhaps the issue is that you cannot use ZigBee or Z-Wave to link arbitrary device classes to HomeKit, only specific, predetermined device types.

Personally, I'm using SmartThings (which seems like about all this hub will be now), plus HomeBridge for unofficial HomeKit support. HomeKit isn't that useful for me because SmartThings does everything I want, but HomeKit allows Siri support, which is nice for when I'm not in range of my Echo (or when the Echo is off, as I also have it connected to a "smart" outlet). That's really the only reason I care for HomeKit support at this point.
 
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whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,607
716
Cork, Ireland.
This is why I moved away from iOS, it is too closed!

Closed ('walled garden') systems, and home automation seem like a really bad mix. "Now you can control all your home appliances from one device! But only the appliances using our closed system. If you want to automate all your home appliances you'll need multiple automation devices/systems.".
 

ThreeOlives

macrumors newbie
Feb 12, 2014
20
16
Hue supports Zigbee and Homekit, so it doesn't appear to be true.

Macrumors... Don't you have the resources to investigate and back that up or deny it? By not doing so, you've fed the "Apple is so closed it hurts" trolls.

The english is really broken but I am pretty sure that's not what Apple means. Yes Hue uses Zigbee but it's designed to be an end to end solution. I would call the Hue hub more of a proprietary bridge, it's really designed to only link Hue lights to another control such as Alexa, the app or a home automation platform such as Homekit, Wink or Smart things.

What they are selling is just another home automation platform, it's essentially the same thing Apple is selling with Homekit, if you go to this product you are on some random companies platform that no longer really needs Homekit, Homekit is basically just functioning as a disposable remote control which is not what Apple wants.
 
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WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
18,432
2,907
That doesn't seem right. Philips Hue uses ZigBee and it is a HomeKit compatible bridge.

Unless in misunderstood what Macwick said.
I think Focalcrest is just a little unclear in their statement, or perhaps a bit of a language barrier. But the issue is almost certainly that their bridge was trying to take non-HomeKit products that had not been vetted by Apple and bring them into the HomeKit ecosystem. Pretty understandable Apple would object to that considering how seriously they're taking security with HomeKit.
 

Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
2,445
7,444
Silicon Valley, CA
This is why I moved away from iOS, it is too closed!

Enjoy your malware and insecure IoT smartphone devices, then!
[doublepost=1493305975][/doublepost]
Homekit is a total failure. It reminds me of MobileMe - except, there's no Stevie around anymore. What a shame! Apple in 2017? No more crazy ones! Misfits - gone! Rebels. gone! They don't see things differently anymore. They invent nothing but rules and they respect only status quo! Now you can ignore them with ease, because they wont change anything anymore! They are pushing the human race backward! And they will never again change the world like they did with Jobs!

Christ. Really?

MobileMe is now iCloud, and I have seen some histrionic internet nonsense in my day, but "Apple is pushing the human race backward"? Either that is total sarcasm, or such a bizarrely skewed perspective that it's not worth trying to fix. It's a control standard for a light switch, for Pete's sake.
 

mephiska

macrumors newbie
Aug 6, 2008
20
1
Hue supports Zigbee and Homekit, so it doesn't appear to be true.

Hue kind-of supports Zigbee in as much as they use a specific version of the Zigbee protocol that sends their own proprietary commands for their own products. Some lights can work on a Hue bridge (GE's Wink bulbs), while others just won't work at all (Osram's new recessed lights as I found out).

Plus Hue won't control Zigbee switches or outlets. The Hue bridge is really only intended to be used with other Hue products.

I am also a SmartThings/Alexa convert. With the widget on my phone I'm not missing much from the lack of homekit compatibility. If only SmartThings supported scenes, then it'd be perfect.
 

morcutt11

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2015
369
1,189
USA
So it's a Wink clone...
Exactly.
[doublepost=1493306728][/doublepost]This blows. I was waiting for this hub so I could finally have a bridge between all of my z-wave switches and outlets with HomeKit. I don't understand why Apple won't allow HomeKit to interact with other standards through a hub. This means that existing users with technologies like Z-wave have a choice to replace all of their devices or skip HomeKit and use something like Wink and (optionally) an Echo. Well, it is certainly a lot cheaper to go the Wink/Echo route than replace 20 or 30 devices.
 
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