When it comes to the smart home, there are three big players: Google, Amazon and Apple. If you're wondering what Apple offers, it's called HomeKit, a platform meant to cut through the confusion that a smart home can bring. By using the Home app on your iOS, macOS, watchOS or even tvOS devices and iCloud, you can manage all your devices in one place.
Rather than needing an individual app or login for each smart device, if it's HomeKit enabled, you can simply scan the code and be set. You can set it up, control and even make routines within the Home app. It's an impressive feat and works in the same vein as Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant for device management.
A difference here is how much a point Apple makes on privacy. The information about smart devices stays on your iOS device. And if you're away from home, the request can be relayed through a HomePod or Apple TV, which act as hubs.
And while we don't have news on HomeKit itself or any new features to report with the backbone, we have several new device integrations. And this is always good news, as it ultimately expands HomeKit's capabilities.
For starters, smart light company LIFX will roll out a new Candle bulb and ZTV light strip, scheduled to launch in October With the bulb or strip, you'll have access to over 16 million colors, an impressive feat that will let you express yourself with color. The best news here is that neither of these requires any type of smart hub. They can connect with just the core products themselves. LIFX's Candle Bulb will cost $44.99, while the ZTV Light Strip will cost $69.99.
Similar to LIFX, Nanoleaf is in the smart lighting world, but with unique triangular or square LED panels. These can sync with each other for exciting visuals, and even respond to sound. Specifically, with the Nanoleaf Canvas ($199; homedepot.com), the square panels, you'll be able to use Touch Actions with HomeKit. Essentially this turns a designated panel into a button that can control your smart home. This will hook in with HomeKit routines and give you easy access to setting a mood.
Hey Siri, vacuum the living room
We've previously raved about Neato's robot vacuums, but now the entire line, including the D3, D4, D5, D6 and D7, will support Siri shortcuts. This will allow you to control your vacuum and start a cleaning session with either the tap of a finger or your voice. And that voice support extends to HomePod and Apple TV, along with iOS, macOS and watchOS devices. You can even make a shortcut for specific rooms.
We'll continue to update this guide as more integrations are announced and as the HomeKit ecosystem expands. You can likely expect more announcements with iOS 13 and the rollout of HomeKit Secure Video, which was announced at WWDC 2019.
This technology will allow HomeKit connected security cameras to store footage in iCloud Drive at no additional charge. And the Logitech Circle 2 ($179.99; amazon.com) will be one of the first cameras to support HomeKit Secure Video later this year.
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