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Category: Home Automation

Josh Centers No comments

HomeKit Vulnerability Discovered, Already Patched

Zac Hall of 9to5Mac discovered a vulnerability in HomeKit, Apple’s home automation framework, that could allow unauthorized control of accessories like smart locks and garage door openers. The good news is that Apple has already closed the security hole on the server side, so your devices are no longer vulnerable. Unfortunately, Apple’s server-side fix also prevents you from giving remote access to shared users. A future update to iOS should eliminate the vulnerability and restore full functionality.

Adam Engst 3 comments

watchOS 4.2 Adds Apple Pay Cash and Moistens HomeKit

In keeping watchOS in sync with iOS, Apple has released watchOS 4.2 with support for Apple Pay Cash, HomeKit sprinklers and faucets, and a workout type for downhill snow sports.

Josh Centers No comments

Philips Adds HomeKit Support to Hue Accessories

In iOS 11, Apple allows device manufacturers to retroactively add HomeKit support to existing home automation devices that rely natively on other standards. Philips is taking advantage of that change and has added HomeKit support to the Hue Smart Tap Switch, Hue Smart Dimmer Switch, and Hue Smart Motion Sensor. HomeKit support does require a second-generation Hue Smart Bridge, but all three of those devices need the Hue Smart Bridge to operate anyway. In theory, you should be able to use these Hue switches and sensors to trigger any other HomeKit device.

Josh Centers 3 comments

Amazon Unveils New Fire TV and Echo Smart Speakers

Amazon is countering Apple’s new Apple TV 4K and upcoming HomePod with a 4K-capable Fire TV and an assortment of aggressively priced Echo smart speakers.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: HomeKit Security Provides Peace of Mind

Julio Ojeda-Zapata frets about potential burglaries when he’s away from home, so before a recent trip he tricked out his house with Internet-connected video cameras, motion sensors, and smart outlets. Most, but not all of the gadgets work with Apple’s HomeKit, which points to lingering gaps in the company’s home-automation ecosystem.

Josh Centers No comments

Apple Stores Introduce Interactive HomeKit Demos

It’s difficult to convey the benefits of home automation to someone who has never experienced it. To address this challenge, Apple has begun rolling out an interactive HomeKit experience in 46 of its retail stores around the world. You’ll be able to use an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to control virtual HomeKit accessories displayed on a screen. While not as impressive as the real thing, it should at least give you an idea of how HomeKit works and how you might integrate it into your house. Other Apple stores will feature a non-interactive HomeKit demo.

Josh Centers 3 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: What’s Coming in iOS 11

Big changes are coming to the HomeKit ecosystem in iOS 11, along with some welcome tweaks for users. Josh Centers looks at why we’ll have more HomeKit hardware, how Apple redesigned Control Center in iOS 11, improvements in setting up Accessories and Automations, and more.

Josh Centers 4 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: The Elgato Eve Room

The Elgato Eve Room is a HomeKit-compatible device that monitors air quality, relative humidity, and temperature in a room. Josh Centers shows you how you can use its data to control your appliances.

Adam Engst 25 comments

Apple Will Enter Smart Speaker Market in December with HomePod

At WWDC, Apple unveiled the HomePod, its entry into the smart speaker market. Due to ship in December for $349, the HomePod promises to provide high-quality audio and virtual assistant capabilities via Siri. We’ll just have to wait until then to see how it compares with the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

Josh Centers 1 comment

Belkin Adding HomeKit Support to Wemo

Last year, Belkin, which makes the popular Wemo line of home automation accessories, rejected adding HomeKit support because it would require new hardware. Now Belkin has reversed course, telling 9to5Mac, “Wemo is committed to bringing HomeKit support to our line of smart home solutions and will be providing more details soon.” Belkin didn’t say what caused the change of heart, but it’s possible that Apple will announce loosened HomeKit restrictions at WWDC.

Josh Centers 10 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Two Smart Outlets

Amidst the chaos of a house move, Josh Centers takes a break to tell you about two HomeKit-compatible smart outlets that are easy to take with you wherever you may go.

Josh Centers 3 comments

Using Philips Hue Lights as a Hurricane and Tornado Alert

After a tornado scare, Josh Centers whipped together a warning system using the IFTTT automation service and his Philips Hue bulbs.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Fine Tuning with the Other “Home” App

Apple’s Home app is easy to use, but an older app with the same name gives you more control over your HomeKit home automation.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Automating Your Home

In this installment of A Prairie HomeKit Companion, Josh Centers explains how to put the automation in home automation.

Josh Centers No comments

Apple Versus Amazon in the Smart Home Race

Stephen Nellis of Reuters has penned an article examining the difference in how Apple and Amazon approach home automation. Hardware manufacturers who want to sell HomeKit devices must include special chips and produce their accessories in Apple-approved factories. After that, manufacturers must send their devices to Apple for a lengthy approval process. By comparison, getting a device to work with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant requires just a software review. Getting a “Works with Alexa” label requires hardware testing, but that can be done by a third-party lab and takes no more than 10 days. As a result, Alexa threatens to overwhelm HomeKit with the number of compatible devices, but Apple’s approach leads to easier setup, higher security, and better compatibility. Also, Apple HomeKit devices do not require an Internet connection, which improves both security and response times.