With the launch of Apple’s latest operating system iOS 10 on September 13, the unified smart home control app, Home, has also started its beta test on iPhone.
Home app lets users lock doors, dim lights, adjust temperatures or access cameras by swiping gestures or speaking to Siri. The app serves as an aggregated portal which allows users to control any HomeKit-enabled smart home devices via smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches.
To control smart home devices from users’ smartphones isn’t something new, however, to have an easy-to-use UI app that controls various home applications might bring changes to the industry.
According to a recent report by real estate company Coldwell Banker, smart home technology built-in home has become an expected feature in luxury real estate buying, no longer being seen as just an added value. While more people are taking smart home technology as granted, some are also suffering from the hurdle of tons of apps to manage different home devices.
This is the opportunity where Apple’s Home app comes and changes the game.
For example, users can adjust dozens of smart home devices with one swipe by setting up customized scenes for various daily contexts. Scenes such as “Good morning” can open all the curtains in the living rooms, turn on the coffee maker and toaster, and play your morning playlist songs from the speakers.
As Mansion Global reviewed, the Home app offers intuitive interface, easy entry and simple device pairing. By speaking to Siri, iPhone users can quickly access their smart home control panel. These amiable features simplifies the user journey of these high-tech devices and opens up a potential to bring the technology to a wider audiences.
However, the TIME spotted a flow at Home app beta – your window might open automatically with any notifications.
According to the report, Apple has blocked some HomeKit-compatible devices from sending notifications to iPhone, including Elgato Eve window and door sensors.
Apple applies an end-to-end encryption on HomeKit to manage these notifications and to protect user’s privacy. Apple requires all HomeKit-enabled devices to send alerts first through the web via Apple’s iCloud service (to encrypt the data), then show notifications on user’s iPhone (to decrypt the data so the user can read it). This security system has made Apple’s HomeKit as the top safe platform, but also lets Apple to choose which home gadgets to send notifications.
Users can still check the status of the smart home products manually from the Home app, to see if the window is open. They just probably won’t get every notifications about the changes of these devices. The Home app is still in beta, so there’s still a possibility that Apple changes its policy about notifications in the future.