Apple’s event on September 9th, 2015 had a few surprises that managed to stay off the rumor circuit; no small feat, even for Apple. While an upgraded Apple TV was expected at the event, its features (including dedicated apps, games, and Siri integration) were unconfirmed. Of course, the favorite hypothesis at The Architechnologist was that HomeKit, Apple’s entry into the smart home arena, would finally make its debut.
Spoiler: It didn’t.
It has been our theory (one that is shared by many others) that Apple will again win a party that they came to late by making HomeKit an integral part of the heart of the modern home: the television. Families gather around the television the same way they used to surround the hearth for warmth–an integrated smart home hub, merging the mind of the home into its center, would allow the smart home to be a part of the family life as well.
Despite the obvious potential of a HomeKit-enabled Apple TV and the substantial update made to the device, there was no mention of HomeKit during the event… none. Why Apple has chosen to launch HomeKit, begin the release of HomeKit approved products and then go silent is unknown–but why launch what may arguably be the perfect platform for the distribution of HomeKit is an even greater mystery.
A substantial part of the new Apple TV is its own operating system, called tvOS (and built on the same foundation as iOS), which could lend itself to smart place and Internet of Things applications in addition to the entertainment options that were featured during the event. HomeKit is designed to allow equipment makers to control their devices without dedicated applications, so a simple update to the software might be all that is needed to launch HomeKit and activate the Apple TV as a true home hub.
Could we see a smaller event from Apple in the near future dedicated to activating HomeKit? Perhaps, as similar events are not unheard of. If such an event does happen, we will be very interested in seeing just what Apple has in mind.