Apple is thought to be gearing up to launch HomeKit soon, likely in time for WWDC next month. The software feature for iOS devices would allow control of connected home accessories that fit Apple’s posted requirements and use its developer tools through a central app potentially called “Home,” according to a new report from 9to5Mac. This is the first we’ve heard any kind of detail about how the user interface for HomeKit might work, beyond that people will be able to control HomeKit-enabled hardware using Siri.
In addition to indicating that there will be a user-facing app called ‘Home’ to control HomeKit features, 9to5Mac details some of the abilities said app will find. It sounds a bit like a version of the AirPort app currently available on iOS devices, but with more direct control of accessories connected to the network.
The app will reportedly offer wireless discovery of local HomeKit devices, as well as a way to arrange them according to virtual rooms, which sounds close to the official Apple description of being able to control them via user-defined “groups” as stated in the initial materials on its own website. ‘Home,’ or whatever it ends up being named in the final version, will also act as the jumping off point where you can set up control from the Apple TV, which this report says will indeed act as a hub for all your HomeKit devices.
Like the Apple Watch app, the Home app will reportedly also act as a discovery tool, providing a series of screens revealing compatible hardware and apps to use with the new framework.
HomeKit is one of those features that will probably be a slow burn rather than a splashy initial fireworks show; Apple has already gone on record as saying that the first few HomeKit-enabled devices will come to market next month, after having its hand forced by a report claiming the feature’s official launch would be “delayed” until this fall. It’s still likely we’ll see products and functionality come to market gradually, even if an Apple TV with hub features specific to the framework is indeed unveiled at WWDC in June as expected.