Apple's smart home platform is learning how to do a number of new tricks. At WWDC, Apple announced that HomeKit will soon be able to control a number of new types of smart home products, including security systems, motion sensors, carbon dioxide monitors, and window shades. Right now, HomeKit only covers the basics, including locks and lights. Apple is also making it easier to control HomeKit devices from outside the home.
HomeKit currently requires an Apple TV to do that, but it sounds like that won't be necessary soon — devices may just need to hook into iCloud. It sounds like these features will all roll out with iOS 9.
HomeKit is Apple's smart home platform. Any product that's built for it is able to be controlled by the iPhone through Siri and third-party apps. Rather than building a specific HomeKit app, HomeKit basically works as a backbone that ties all of these products together and allows individual apps to control many of them at once. When Apple updates watchOS this fall, HomeKit devices will even be able to be controlled through Siri on the Apple Watch.
Apple's smart home ambitions are off to a basic — and not all that ambitious — start. More than anything, HomeKit is an accessories program: it helps you buy smart home products that are guaranteed to work with the iPhone. There's some nice integration with phone, but this isn't an scheme to take over the whole market. Not yet, at least. For now, there are only two HomeKit-compatible devices out there — a light dimmer and a hub to another smart home system. Three more products are supposed to arrive in July.