HomeKit Weekly: How iOS 15 can take HomeKit to the next level

Spring will be here soon, which means it’s officially time to start thinking about the summer of iOS 15 and macOS 12 betas after WWDC. From my vantage point, HomeKit is at a real crossroads for Apple. It’s a platform that I have invested thousands of dollars in. Still, it’s time to take it to the next level with expanded product categories, increased automation with Machine Learning, and increased stability – particularly with HomeKit Secure Video. Here are some things I want to see in HomeKit with iOS 15.

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HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

So as we look ahead to what’s coming from Apple, here’s how I’d like to see HomeKit in iOS 15 enhanced to become an even better platform.

Expanded product categories

HomeKit has been slowly expanding its categories over the years, but there are a number of glaring ones that are missing. The first is vacuum cleaners. I’ve been using Roborock and Neato vacuums for some time, and I do have the Neat integrated into HomeKit using my HOOBS bridge, but I’d like to see Apple negate the need for a bridge for robo vacuum cleaners.

The second category is coffee makers. I am not a “fancy” coffee person, and I am just as content with McDonald’s coffee as I am something from an Aeropress, but I’d love to streamline the process every morning. I’d envision a HomeKit compatible coffee maker that a motion sensor can trigger after 5 a.m., so when the sensor detects motion, it will start making the coffee. If we wanted to get really crazy in the future, it could somehow get tied into your Apple Watch, so when it detects you are coming out of sleep, it could go ahead and start brewing the coffee.

The third new category I’d like to see a move into appliances like dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers. Control and monitoring these categories from HomeKit would take home automation to a new level. You could see it so your washing machine is pre-loaded with clothes, but would only run between certain hours as not to use all the hot water in the home.

Machine Learning automations

HomeKit automations are a useful way to automate the use of smart home devices around your home. Still, I’d love to see Machine Learning applied to all of the data that HomeKit generates to make recommendations on new automations, new products, and increased usability. If HomeKit sees me opening the back door and using Siri to turn on the lights, it should start doing that for me. If HomeKit sees me running the vacuum at a certain time, it should suggest that I create a schedule to do it automatically. If HomeKit sees that I am using a lot of heating or cooling energy at certain times when there is very little motion in the home, it should suggest new changes to our heating schedule. It’s about monitoring the data in the Home app and then making my home even smarter from a high level.

Increased Reliability

HomeKit is a very reliable platform until it’s not. There are times when automations don’t run, or when motion isn’t recorded in HomeKit Secure Video, or when Siri fails to respond to a command to turn on a light. Another frustration is when devices get moved into a “default room” after they have already been assigned into another room. All of these frustrations add up to situations where the benefits of a smart home can be outweighed by the frustration of wondering why it’s not working right. Ideally, with HomeKit in iOS 15, I’d like to see a way that I can go into the Home app and submit feedback that something didn’t work right. I would then have the option to upload my recent Home app logs so Apple engineers could see why something happened or didn’t happen.

Reliability can be particularly crucial with HomeKit Secure Video when you rely on HomeKit to record video. HomeKit Secure Video works great most of the time in my home, but there are times when it goes “offline” for no apparent reason. For video, working great the majority of the time isn’t enough. It has to work great all of the time.

A redesigned HomeKit App for iOS 15

Homekit app

The Apple Home app’s current design has served us well, but as most people have gone from a handful of smart home projects to possibly dozens of them, the current design is showing its age. I’d love Apple to use some of the location technology in the HomePod mini to recognize where I am in my home and offer a customized experience based on the room I am in.

Apple HomePod speaker

Wrap up on HomeKit and iOS 15

These ideas are just a few of the things I’d love to see Apple offer with HomeKit in iOS 15. What’s on your wishlist? I’d love to see your comments and ideas below.

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