“Five startups are announcing the launch of the very first HomeKit-certified devices today,” Aaron Tilley reports for Forbes.

These five HomeKit-compliant devices include:
• Ecobee’s $250 WiFi-connected thermostat.
• Elgato’s line of sensors that collect data on air quality, humidity, air pressure, temperature as well as energy and water consumption.
• iHOME’s smart plug that allows users to turn on and off appliances wirelessly.
• Lutron’s bridge device that connects the HomeKit standard with its connected lighting system.
• Insteon’s bridge device that connects its massive catalogue of existing home automation devices with HomeKit.

“Each of these device makers had to go through Apple’s MFi (‘Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad’) program to achieve certification,” Tilley reports. “Apple requires device makers to install an authentication chip in their product as well as go through extensive usability testing to make sure the products live up to Apple’s lofty standards. ‘It’s a rigorous certification program,’ said Stuart Lombard, president and CEO of Ecobee, in a phone call. ‘Apple wants to ensure the quality is really high, and that’s a good thing. They want great user experience.'”

“HomeKit-enabled device also get access to Apple’s intelligent assistant Siri, which so far has been largely walled off for iOS developers,” Tilley reports. “At next week’s developers conference, it’s widely expected that Apple will launch a new Apple TV, which hasn’t seen new hardware since 2012 and could play a large role in Apple’s smart home vision. The new Apple TV reportedly contains a beefier processor and Siri integration. The five new devices launched today already work with any third generation Apple TV and later, said Ecobee’s Lombard — the Apple TV provides an always-on presence in the home in case users want to control devices while they’re away.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here we go, into the future!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]

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