Now, a new report has surfaced that’s focused on iOS 9 and how it will handle HomeKit-enabled hardware. It’s been previously suggested that HomeKit’s main hub will be the Apple TV, but for the households that don’t own the set-top box, controlling the smart-enabled equipment is still a top-tier priority. Now, according to a new report from 9to5Mac, citing unnamed sources, Apple plans on handling HomeKit accessories via virtual rooms, all within an iOS-based “Home” app.
Siri will play a major role within HomeKit and the new rumored “Home” app, allowing users to remotely control the smart-enabled devices within their home, including lights, the thermostat and even the garage door, all with their voice. According to the sources, Apple has been working on this Home app for quite some time, and the idea is to debut the new functionality at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which takes place at the beginning of June.
Here’s a rundown of the features found within the app, according to the report:
- Wirelessly discovering and setting up compatible HomeKit devices
- Creating a virtual representation of rooms in the home to easily organize and connect HomeKit devices
- Utilizing the Apple TV as a hub connecting all of the HomeKit devices
- Offering a series of screens to help users find new HomeKit devices and apps
The Home app will function as a way to securely manage a home that has a wide range of smart devices and data in their home, just as the Health app works with HealthKit to secure the data tied to health and fitness. The report also indicates that many accessory makers waiting to use HealthKit are simply waiting for Apple to launch the platform, saying that “our launch timing is greatly dependent on Apple’s launch.”
Interestingly enough, the report does suggest that Apple might not show off the Home app at WWDC after all, and that its current state of limited functionality could be an indicator that it’s not ready to show off, or that it won’t be ready even by June. Moreover, Apple could keep the app in-house, and simply let HomeKit-enabled accessory owners use Siri on their iPhone, and the features tied to apps connected to the smart devices, instead of a central hub like the Home app.
Right now, it’s believed that iOS 9 will be a focus on optimizations and refinements, as well as the aforementioned refresh in font. Siri will also reportedly be getting a makeover for iOS 9, to better match it with the Siri experience on the Apple Watch.