HomeKit holds the potential to defragment the home automation/home security apps in the iOS ecosystem.
Today, disparate apps control lights, locks, garage doors, alarms, thermostats and more.There is an opportunity for developing an app to coordinate disparate devices, for one app to rule them all. But a hardware piece is missing in the Apple Home Automation ecosystem!
Imagine all the use cases where the homeowner is not at home, and the iPhone/iPad/MacBook, is away? Alarm systems, thermostats, remote entry authorization, come to mind. To coordinate these systems, there needs to be a device, preferably from Apple, that will always stay at home. That could be a new iHome product or it could be a next-gen Apple TV.
Either way, there will need to be added communications capabilities to support some of the many wireless communication protocol (BLE, Zigbee, Z-wave…) on home automation devices.
Why Apple TV? It run iOS, so much of the HomeKIt “behind the scenes” code could be deployed seamlessly either on the iPhone/iPad, or on the Apple TV. At $99, Apple TV is below the cost pain threshold, and provide value both in entertainment and home automation. The incremental cost of adding new wireless communication support, would be negligible, so I don’t see a need to raise prices for the next-gen Apple TV.
Will we see Apple TV/HomeKit or a new iHome device this fall?
P.S. One concern I have is the limited range of some of wireless sensors that may not be able to connect to a single Apple TV in larger homes. A new Airport Express could be the range extender to solve this. Thanks to James Papafagos for triggering this thought.