“Huge for developers. Massive for everyone else.” reads the tagline on Apple’s iOS 8 Preview webpage. With all the focus on how much iOS 8 will benefit the developer, it is easy to lose sight of the benefits for the end-user. It is important to remember that a better environment for developers will lead to more innovative and creative apps for users to enjoy. Home automation is a market that could see a lot of improvements in usability because of iOS 8, and more particularly, HomeKit.
Home automation enables a user to control different parts of their home with a remote or a mobile phone. The market is growing at a rapid rate.1 HomeKit isn’t a new entry into the market but it will unite home automation accessories in the eyes of the users and allow the creators to focus on their product and not how it will tie together with other products.
HomeKit will provide a way in which accessories can be integrated into a whole without vendors having to coordinate with each other. This allows vendors to focus on making the best product they can. HomeKit will give users a wider selection of apps to control their home automation accessories because they will no longer be restricted to the vendors application. This will undoubtedly lead to the implementation or more creative and innovative ideas.
Home Kit will provide apps with a centralized space for users to add and manage the home automation accessories (for example, a user could control both their Nest Learning Thermostat and their Philips Hue lights from a single app instead of having to use multiple apps). Accessories can be grouped by room (living room, kitchen, etc.) or zones (upstairs, downstairs, etc.). A user could then perform an action such as turning off the lights downstairs. A user will also be able to issue these commands using Siri.
With iOS 8, I believe Apple is betting by providing the developers with a more powerful and simplified development experience that the end result will make great leaps for iOS users. I think it will lead to endless innovation and great user experiences throughout the lifecycle of iOS 8 and into the future. HomeKit is just the tip of the iceberg.
1. The market is currently worth roughly USD 3.6 billion and expected to grow at a rate of 24.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2013-2019.