iOS8: Apple Debuts HomeKit at WWDC

During Apple's Worldwide Developer conference, Craig Federighi Senior Vice President of Software Engineering introduced HomeKit. It's not a new piece of hardware. Rather, it's a framework for makers of home automation devices to integrate with iOS.

Apple already has the ultimate home automation hardware devices: iPhones and iPads. The problem is that each of the companies that makes, for example, garage door openers, thermostats, locks, and lights has developed along separate paths.

With Homekit, Apple is providing a common way for these companies to work with an iOS device, even under the control of Siri. In the demo Mr. Federighi described how one could say to Siri, "Time for bed," and HomeKit would lock the doors, set the thermostat and dim the lights. HomeKit allows for the grouping of devices into what are called "scenes."

Craig Federighi introduces HomeKit.  Credit: Apple

Partners in the endeavor include Chamberlain, Honeywell, Kwikset, Schlage, and Skybell.

Because there are so many companies making various devices, it makes sense to offer them an integrated platform. As Tim Cook mentioned in the keynote, over 500 million iPhones have been sold.

HomeKit partners.  Credit: Apple

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mr. Federighi emphasized the security protocols. That will make sure that with home locks, only the authorized person with, for example, an iPhone, can unlock and lock the doorlocks made by partners like Kwikset and Schlage.

With this kind of integration, Apple leverages the power of iOS, the mobility of an iPhone, the tremendous technology of app development and the existing product base by hardware partners into a coherent home automation system.