In case you somehow missed it, Apple announced this week that their annual developers conference, WWDC, is taking place in San Jose, California during the week of June 3rd. This is obviously an exciting time of year for not just developers, but for Apple fans in general as the company announces the next version of their operating systems, frameworks, and potentially hardware. Now, for those that have been following the HomeKit scene, we are all too familiar with the lack of stage time that our favorite home automation platform gets, but we do usually get a few tidbits from the developer sessions that take place during the week. Last year, HomeKit had only one developer session, on the last day of WWDC. but it did bring about mentions of Remote support and a new process that is designed to speed up product development and deployment. Even with our “managed” expectations of how prominent HomeKit will be at this years conference, we thought it would be fun to come up with some wishlist items, both realistic and well, not so realistic, so let’s dive in.
tvOS & TV
Home App: Of course for tvOS, we would like to see Apple bring the Home app to our video box of choice. While there may not be too many applications were I could see myself using my TV for HomeKit control, it would be helpful to see things such as a camera feed, or even just a quick glance at sensor states on the favorites tab.
Notifications: Building upon the idea of bringing the Home App to the TV is the enabling support for important HomeKit notifications. While not everyone may be keen to having notifications interrupting their movie time, camera notifications that include a thumbnail for when someone is at the door, or when a motion sensor is tripped could prove to be useful.
Deeper TV integration: This one is pretty obvious, but we would love to see the TV become more useful within the Home App. Right now the device tile for the TV is pretty much useless, but if Apple could bring it up to par with the recently announced HomeKit tv support from 3rd party manufacturers, it could really open the doors to some fun automations.
macOS & The Mac
Feature parity: First things first for the Mac, we would like to see Apple update the Home App so that it can accomplish all the of the same tasks as its iOS brother, such as the ability to add devices.
Mac as a device: While we couldn’t come up with many scenarios where a Mac would fit in with other devices around the home, it wouldn’t be that far fetched of an idea as the airport express and the aforementioned TV is already displayed.
Today view widget: We would love to see macOS’s handy today view get the ability to control favorite HomeKit devices and scenes. A quick click of the slide over notification menu would allow the ability to adjust certain devices and see things such as the temperatures around the home would certainly be nice to have. Camera support for the widget would be icing on the cake.
Expanded Automations: Pretty basic stuff here, such as the ability to create automations like turning on a fan when the temperature in a room rises above a certain temperature within the Home App would go a long way towards truly making it the one and only App that people would need.
More to Scenes: We would like to see Apple dip into other avenues of scenes, like allowing Music songs to play as part of a party scene or having the TV iTunes Store fire up as part of a movie night scene.
Home backups: While technically iCloud does this as there are no steps to take when setting up a new device with your existing home, there are times that having a backup could be useful, such as when disaster totally strikes and the database for your home somehow gets corrupted.
State logging: While we do not think that home logs will ever become a part of the actual iOS Home App, we do think that Apple should allow the ability for 3rd party Apps to pick up the slack. Currently, there is only one App that we are aware of, Controller for HomeKit, that provides logs, but it does require the App to be open and the data that is logged cannot be customized, it is just a steady stream.
Device Restrictions: For those of us with children, we know just how excited kids get with changing the color of a light in the room, or turning off devices with just our voice. However, the Home App is currently an all or nothing affair, with those invited to the Home App getting access to all of the devices, leading to scenarios where things could be inadvertently (or intentionally) toggled. Adding the ability to restrict access to specific devices or rooms within the Home App, would solve this problem.
Camera Storage & More: One of the biggest hurdles with HomeKit and cameras is the reliance on using a 3rd Party vendor’s cloud to store recorded video, which can come with a cost. The ability for the Home App to record a camera feed or even just pictures straight to iCloud would be amazing. We already pay for additional storage anyway, why not put it to good use. To accomplish this, automations that trigger a recording state for the camera would have to also be added to the Home App, and throw in actionable rich notification support (think the “Turn on Light” option when a camera motion sensor is tripped) too, which could ease privacy fears by only allowing recording when selected by a user.
User Favorites & Backgrounds: Not really sure why this has taken so long, but adding the ability to have separate device and scene favorites per user is a no-brainer. Hopefully, this would also extend to wallpapers in the Home App, but we will take what we can get at this point.
Home Hub Assignment: Speaking of taking too long, the ability to set the specific Home Hub in the Home App would be very handy. We have seen far too many instances where an TV located way on the other side of the home randomly becomes the main hub.
Watch Home Complications: Even though the awesome 3rd Party App, HomeRun, already fills in, we would like to see native support for HomeKit scenes that could be triggered with a Home complication on the watch.
Watch Home App Improvements: Let’s face it, the Home App on the Watch is in need of some help. For those of us with lots of devices, it can take a while for device states to update after opening the App, even with the latest and greatest Series 4 hardware. Adding additional tabs for Rooms, or one dedicated for camera feeds would be useful, but we would take a responsive and functional Home App first over any major additions.
CarPlay: The ability to trigger a security based automation, such as opening a garage door from a CarPlay connected head unit is high on many users lists. We could also see just having favorite scenes being selectable from the display also being useful, with a scene that turns off everything in the home instantly coming to mind.
HomePod automations: Perhaps the biggest on our wishlist is the ability for the HomePod to tie into automations. We long for the day when the HomePod could act as an audio theft deterrent, where the device could play an “alarm” tone that is available on Music when a window is opened at night, or when no one is home. We could also see the ability for the HomePod to act as a simple “chime” when a door opens during the day being useful.
HomePod Mini: File this one under more than likely not going to happen this year, let alone at WWDC which already has the Mac Pro reveal looming over it, but it has to be said, a HomePod “mini”, would have us throwing our wallets at Apple as soon as they are announced. While we love our HomePods, we simply do not need “premium” sound in every room, and we would be happy with a smaller, decent sounding device at an affordable price (well affordable in Apple standards) of $99 or below.
So there’s our wishlist for WWDC, and while there were not too many crazy wishes, we certainly think that most of them would be things that are already on Apple’s mind, and could have a shot of actually being announced. How did we do? Let us know what we missed or what you would like to see on Twitter (@HomeKit_Hero), we would definitely like to know your thoughts.