Coincidence or not, Apple’s new all-in-one HOME App for iOS devices hits the market on the same day that CEDIA opens. When asked if that was intentional, Apple responded, “What is CEDIA?” (Just kidding, we don’t know if that happened.)
Here’s how Apple describes the HOME App: “With our new Home app, you can securely control all your HomeKit accessories from your favorite iOS device. Have your iPhone turn off the lights. See who’s at the front door from your iPad. And even control things remotely with the help of Apple TV. The Home app makes all your connected devices work harder — and smarter — for you.”
So, one thing is for sure, Apple sees the Apple TV as the central hub of the home controller. HOME will debut with over 160 company’s products able to be controlled — everything from lights, to locks, to HVAC, to shades (including Lutron), security systems, outlets, cameras and, of course, Sonos and your TV.
Based primarily on the use of Siri, you speak commands via your phone, iPad, Apple Watch or directly to your Apple TV to get things to happen. So, tell Siri — on your drive home from work, via your iPhone, to set a “I’m Home” scene and the Apple TV does all the rest. It turns on and off lights, unlocks the doors, raises the garage door, turns on the TV to your pre-set or favorite channel, sets the HVAC system to your favorite number, etc.
All this, of course, is done via Wi-Fi.
In actuality, your iPhone (or Android for that matter) has been able to do this for years. But, Apple thinks (or is betting) that by centralizing it in to one app with a customizable/template-based user interface, you will use the Apple TV and the iPhone as your smart home controller. This replaces the need to use, for example, the Next App to control your Nest HVAC system, replaces the Samsung App to control your TV and removes the need for a Lutron App to control the lights and blinds. It’s all centrally controlled from the HOME App.
It appears to be purely coincidental that Apple launches the app not the same day CEDIA opens its annual HomeAV show, but it also appears they are targeting some the same market.