Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Future of the Home App

With a Siri speaker coming at WWDC, it's time to take a look of what the future could hold for the Home app. The Home app does a lot of things right, for those who use it. But there's a lot that could still be improved.

First off, I believe that more devices should be added to this app. As the main hub for home control, I think adding devices like an Apple TV would be very beneficial. I can turn on my lights as I use a digital remote. The two can interact and can set my "Theater Mode" scene when I use my Apple TV. This could be expanded with an API too. For example, a digital picture frame could have its picture changed from the app. Turn on a gaming console or a TV.

Homes are generally shared by families. So when I tell Siri to set my "Good Night" scene, I don't expect it to turn off my parent's lights too. If I leave my house, I don't want my "Leave Home" scene to enable unless no one is in the house. Each person the house is shared with should have their own scenes. In addition, there needs to be a way to make sure the scenes aren't affecting other people in the house.

When I get home, I want my fan to turn on, but only if the temperature is high enough. Conditional scenes would be amazing. Using factors like weather to determine what should be turned on or off would be amazing. Scenes and automation should incorporate different parameters and triggers.

Speaking of scenes, we need more icons. There are only 12 and five of them are just variations of the same house. More icons means more inspiration. Maybe a work, reading, or gaming icon? Seems easy enough.

Finally, indoor mapping. A couple years ago, Apple quietly released an Indoor Survey app, which has since been removed. It was made to map out the inside of a building. Personally, I think it would be amazing to see if scenes and lights could be activated with this technology, without camera-based sensors or iBeacon.

Anyways, that's my "Wish List" for Home and HomeKit at WWDC this year. We will most likely be seeing some improvements to the app, and I will welcome them with open arms. I use HomeKit everyday and can only hope it gets better.

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