Yesterday at its annual developer’s conference Apple took the wraps off the next generation of HomeKit, its Internet of Things platform for devices such as smart locks, thermostats and internet appliances. Key among the new features highlighted during the unveiling was that the Apple TV can act as a HomeKit hub, allowing homeowners to remotely and securely access connected devices while away. Now, it seems the iPad can also act as a HomeKit hub.
During the announcement of the new features, Apple SVP Craig Federighi stated that the Apple TV since it’s “Always on, always plugged in and always on the network in your home” can serve as this hub. Along with allowing devices to be used from afar, this hub enables the homeowner to set up a geofence that will automatically run a series of events when a person’s iPhone crosses a pre-set line.
Say you’re driving home and as soon as you get to the end of your street, a feature, as defined by a geofence rule, will turn on the lights, open the garage door and kick on the radio.
But what if you don’t have an Apple TV. Apparently an iPad can also serve as a HomeKit hub.
This bit of news comes from the Home app found in the iOS 10 beta. It’s unclear why Apple didn’t mention this during the HomeKit announcement, but it’s good to know that the ability is there. As noted in the Home app, this feature is designed for iPads that rarely, if ever, leave the house.
Apple tells TechCrunch that this option will give customers in countries where Apple TV is not sold the same option to remotely control their home, though it will be available to all users this fall.
The Home app is a big step forward for HomeKit devices. When it launches with iOS 10 later this year, it will provide a single interface for all the device’s in a person’s home that are HomeKit compatible — and there are a lot of HomeKit devices now and should be even more available when this feature is available in the fall.