iOS 8, Apple HomeKit Launch Spur New Hardware Development

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Wednesday’s release of Apple’s iOS 8 mobile operating system and the new HomeKit programming protocol marked the beginning of a new era in which Apple devices—typically confined to their own ecosystem—will begin connecting with third-party devices more than ever. For many, the purchase of an iPhone 6 or an upgrade to iOS 8 could spur shopping for compatible devices which help take full advantage of iOS 8 and HomeKit’s new features.

“HomeKit connects your home devices safely and seamlessly so you can better manage accessories like lights, thermostats, door locks and garage doors,” Apple said in a statement on its website, adding that with Siri integration, users will soon be able to issue a single command “and have the lights turn on in specific rooms, the thermostat adjust the temperature and the garage door open.”

At the Sept. 9 iPhone 6 and Apple Watch unveiling, Apple announced partnerships with more than a dozen companies already working to develop HomeKit-compatible devices. One of the first HomeKit devices that will be available to consumers, according to Cult of Mac, is August Smart Lock, an electronic deadbolt lock that allows keyless home entry for iOS users. Apple also announced partnerships with companies such as iHome, Phillips, Haier and of course Honeywell, which manufactures a smart thermostat meant to compete with the Nest Learning Thermostat, which was recently acquired by Google.

While the list is sure to continue growing, here are some of the HomeKit partners Apple has already announced and the products those companies are hoping consumers will find just as impossible to live without as their smartphones:

August—August says its smart lock’s encrypted locking technology is “safer than keys that can get lost and codes that can be copied.” The company is already taking orders for the $250 device and says it expects to fill orders in late October.

Haier—The Tianzun smart air conditioner, unveiled at CES earlier this year, “connects automatically to any iOS device, without any complex registration process, enabling users to control the air conditioner settings remotely,” according to the company.

iDevices—The iGrill Mini is a Bluetooth-enabled device that lets chefs monitor the temperature of their meat via an iOS device.

iHome—Apple-ready devices like radios and alarm clocks are nothing new for iHome, which is expected to produce a suite of new devices made to work with HomeKit.

Honeywell—Honeywell’s Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is a direct competitor to Google’s Nest, which is conspicuously absent from the list of HomeKit compatible devices.

Phillips—The Hue line of network-connected light bulbs already have an iOS app that lets users control lighting levels, hues and schedules remotely and it’s expected this functionality will be included in HomeKit.

Chamberlaine—The $130 MyQ Smartphone Garage Door Opener does what you might expect: It allows users to open or close their garages remotely.

SkyBell—With a motion sensor and built-in video camera, the SkyBell WiFi Doorbell lets users see and speak to who’s at the door. Paired with a remote lock like the August, users could even let guests in without leaving the couch. Pair with a pizza-ordering app and suddenly the world of “The Jetsons” doesn’t seem so far off.

Which devices would you like to see paired with the iPhone HomeKit architecture? Let us know in the comments below.


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HomeKit icon photo via Apple.