HomeKit, HomeKit, Where Are You?

Apple’s event on September 9th, 2015 had a few surprises that managed to stay off the rumor circuit; no small feat, even for Apple. While an upgraded Apple TV was expected at the event, its features (including dedicated apps, games, and Siri integration) were unconfirmed. Of course, the favorite hypothesis at The Architechnologist was that HomeKit, Apple’s entry into the smart home arena, would finally make its debut.
Spoiler: It didn’t.

Apple's Eddie Cue showing off the newest Apple TV during their Sept 9 2015 special event.
Apple’s Eddie Cue showing off the newest Apple TV during their Sept 9 2015 special event.

It has been our theory (one that is shared by many others) that Apple will again win a party that they came to late by making HomeKit an integral part of the heart of the modern home: the television. Families gather around the television the same way they used to surround the hearth for warmth–an integrated smart home hub, merging the mind of the home into its center, would allow the smart home to be a part of the family life as well.

from Cecelia Tichi’s Electronic Hearth: Creating An American Television Culture:

The TV hearth makes a good case study, showing the extent to which the TV environment is laden with values and traditions that carry forward from a preceding period. Equally important, to notice the meanings embedded in the hearth from colonial America to the television age is to see that certain interests are served by pressing an ideological program centered on patriotism and domestic security. The hearth may seem politically neutral, a primitive heating system long superseded by closed stoves and furnaces and, in the age of central heat, sustained in architectural decorative arts. But, in fact, the American open fireplace is freighted with carefully inculcated meanings adhering through the processes of history and strategically deployed by corporate and media interests in the TV receiver.

Author’s Note: One of my favorite architecture meets technology quotes.

HomeKit MIADespite the obvious potential of a HomeKit-enabled Apple TV and the substantial update made to the device, there was no mention of HomeKit during the event… none. Why Apple has chosen to launch HomeKit, begin the release of HomeKit approved products and then go silent is unknown–but why launch what may arguably be the perfect platform for the distribution of HomeKit is an even greater mystery.

A substantial part of the new Apple TV is its own operating system, called tvOS (and built on the same foundation as iOS), which could lend itself to smart place and Internet of Things applications in addition to the entertainment options that were featured during the event. HomeKit is designed to allow equipment makers to control their devices without dedicated applications, so a simple update to the software might be all that is needed to launch HomeKit and activate the Apple TV as a true home hub.

Could we see a smaller event from Apple in the near future dedicated to activating HomeKit? Perhaps, as similar events are not unheard of. If such an event does happen, we will be very interested in seeing just what Apple has in mind.

One thought on “HomeKit, HomeKit, Where Are You?

  1. I was waiting for the HomeKit announcement as well. Just seems funny that not a word was said. Of course CarPlay got no mention either and there is a pretty significant rollout of that function in the 2016 models, although again without much in the way of obvious PR. Was read to plunk down some cash for an AppleTV upgrade, but not certain that Siri and a new remote do it for me,

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