What lies beyond HomeKit in iOS 10

While Apple's home automation framework has improved steadily since it was introduced in 2014, it still has a lot of catching up to do.

With the advent of the "modern" smarter home industry, it seems like everyone is putting out some sort of home automation gear. And while Apple was widely expected to join the fray, the traditional "Apple" approach leaves a lot to be desired.

When introducing new frameworks or technologies, Many times, Apple relies on its partners and developers to create products and apps, and later adapts best conceits into its own, such as the new Home app.

But the major challenge for HomeKit going forward is the annual release cycle of updates and improvements. In this hyper-speed world of technology roll-outs, Apple could be left in the dust by a competitor or new upstart, at least in the smarter home market.

But, back to the main point if this article: what's next for HomeKit? This year, Apple added more device categories, enabled Rules to work via Bluetooth-only devices and upgraded HomeKit functionality on the Apple TV. However, all of this is just basic functionality.

For years, home automation enthusiasts have had access to this level of technology, with mobile access being relatively new. But where's the “fun” stuff?

HomeKit doesn't yet support specific push notifications or customized alerts, controlling iTunes or the Music app, text-to-speech or speaker / sound devices. These things put the “fun” in home automation, and this journalist can’t believe that Apple is still not supporting these types of actions in HomeKit as of the tenth iteration of iOS and nearly the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.

Example: If you’re not at home and your HomeKit door sensor detects your front door being opened, there’s no alert that can be sent to your iPhone. And, HomeKit Rules do not support geolocation-based Conditions, which would be helpful so that you only receive alerts when you were away from home and no one was at home. This is really basic stuff, at least for a home automation system to be useful.

Some users might be happy with what’s included in iOS 10 and HomeKit, but I feel that many other users will get tired of the limitations. Just a little bit more control from Apple would allow HomeKit to truly shine. But right now, it’s just “ok”.

And speaking of “just ok” home automation, what’s the future of it all, anyway?