Apple has been relatively quiet on HomeKit, the protocol it announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference last year for connecting its devices to third-party smart home gadgets and accessories. But that changed today.
The company provided the following statement to TechCrunch confirming that HomeKit-enabled devices will come to market starting next month, meaning users won’t have to wait much longer to get first-hand experience with Apple’s new take on connected home tech.
HomeKit has been available for just a few months and we already have dozens of partners who have committed to bringing HomeKit accessories to market and we’re looking forward to the first ones coming next month.
Apple was responding to a report from Fortune that stated its HomeKit launch would be delayed until fall, but the company had never previously provided a firm timeframe on any kind of public availability for the feature, which debuted to developers last year, as mentioned above. One report from Re/code had pegged May/June as a possible launch window, but Apple itself remained mum on the subject.
Regardless of the motivation for commenting on the record now, this is indeed the first time we’ve heard any kind of definitive information for Apple about HomeKit availability. A launch next month means we’ll probably hear about HomeKit in more detail at WWDC, which kicks off on June 8, including more about specific hardware that supports it, and maybe its rumored inclusion in the next iteration of the Apple TV, too. Apple TV is thought to be involved in HomeKit’s operation in some way, perhaps acting as a central hub from which to control connected devices.
Many of the big tech players are currently embarking on Internet of Things and connected home initiatives; Apple rival Samsung, for instance, purchased smart home hub platform SmartThings last year to quickly ramp up its own capabilities in that regard.
So far, what we know about HomeKit isn’t all that much: Devices will be able to securely pair with Apple hardware easily, however, and will be controllable via Siri, marking one of the first times Apple has provided more general access to its virtual assistant to third parties.