Will Apple’s Internet of Things vision hurt a beautiful idea? With HomeKit, Apple promises easy home automation

“Ah, the connected world. You wake up in the morning, and give iPhone’s Siri a pleasant command: ‘Good morning.’ In response, lights turn on, music starts playing and the coffee maker begins brewing just as your day begins,” Patrick Thibodeau writes for Computerworld. “Apple’s just announced approach to home automation and the Internet of Things is via its new Homekit, a framework and network protocol for controlling devices in the home. It promises a seamless user interface for organizing and controlling connected devices.”

“Homekit is part of iOS 8, which Apple unveiled at WWDC on Monday,” Thibodeau writes. “To work in this connected-home environment, product manufacturers will need Apple’s MFi certification (Made for iPod, Made for iPhone, Made for iPad). But the connected world will never belong exclusively to Apple; it’s just too big. So how will Android, Windows and other devices operate in this Apple universe? Will they be able to all work together? Or will the grand idea of a seamlessly connected Internet of Things environment slip away?”

“One answer comes from Marvell, which makes a system on a chip (SoC) that may be used in many of the products that make up Apple’s Internet of Things universe. Marvell recently announced a low-power WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth microcontroller SoC. It combines what had been separate components into a fully integrated unit, said Philip Poulidis, vice president and general manager of Marvell’s mobile and Internet of Things business units. It is low power, has the capability for long battery life and is small enough for wearables,” Thibodeau writes. “The Marvell SoC will be used by manufacturers to create connected products, and Marvell has decided to back Apple’s HomeKit by shipping its SoC with Apple’s protocols built-in — including secure pairing. That should help ease MFi certification for product makers, said Poulidis. ‘We felt that Apple really has a knack for building things that are very user friendly,’ said Poulidis. But Marvell’s SoC is agnostic. It supports multiple protocol stacks and different methods for dealing with security, discovery and control across multiple operating systems.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Now matter how many stacks you put these devices will never work smoothly with the Fragmandroid version/hardware hell.

    As always with accessories these will offer the full services and ease of use to iOS and reduced functionality – with lots of caveats such as only supporting popular phone models – to the rest.

  2. Oh wow, the article also quotes Rob Enderle… when you think he had gone away forever, he comes back – like a fungus.

    “Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, noted that the iPhone initially worked best with cars while other phones had reduced capabilities. “But eventually Android worked just as well, because it was in the car makers’ best interest to embrace both platforms.””

    Still living in his own bullsh*t universe I see…

    1. It always amuses me how he is described as analyst at the Enderle Group, not because of trying to pretend that it’s anything more than just him, but because it doesn’t even give him the appearance of top billing, he’s just an analyst, not even chief analyst or something.

  3. Remember Android@Home? Yea, nobody else does either. It was Google’s big play for the living room announced at Google I/O in 2011. Another piece of Mountain View roadkill that promised to connect all devices – for the express purpose of gathering and monetizing that information, of course. You don’t hear much about @Home anymore because like 90% of Google’s offerings, the company simply lost interest. Don’t think manufacturers don’t notice how much of an ADD-riddled child of a company Google is.

    Contrast this to Apple, who has proven to be a capable partner that doesn’t flip their attention at the drop of a hat to pursue the next “moonshot”. People will invest in the HomeKit ecosystem for the same reason they invest in other Apple products: they just work. High-end manufacturers will invest in it because Apple is a high-end partner (contrast the list of auto manufacturers partnering with Apple vs. Google in-dash to illustrate my point) and because they know customers are fiercely loyal to the brand.

    And that’s why Google has a different groundbreaking announcement every year at I/O – to make people forget about last year’s faceplant – while Apple just keeps grabbing profit share.

    1. What’s astounding is how Google maintains the ‘Gee Whiz’ factor among its audience, allowing it to wear a mask as a brilliant innovator and stock worth owning.

      Of course, every inventor has profound failures on a regular basis. But few are allowed to have their stock ride high as a balloon beyond the realm of reality. As Google’s failures mount, the dangers of that balloon deflating or popping altogether mount as well. IOW: Sell your GOOG while you can. I won’t be pretty.

  4. Unfortunately, HomeKit is far from what is really needed to successfully get home automation in a significant amount of residences. The main problem is that all configuration lives on individual iOS devices. So how can the system be functional and integrated in the way Apple presents if you want to hit a button on the wall to activate a scenario without having an iPhone close by ? This is nice for playing with devices though.

  5. Interesting that the comments we’re reading about the possibility that “this beautiful idea may not come true” are being delivered to us via an amazing collection of open standards … the Internet. Anyone recall a particular company headquartered in the Pacific Northwest trying to thwart those open standards with a malware package named IE? The standards community won out in time.

    But open standards are a two-edged sword … it takes resources to develop them. Resources that, by and large, only huge companies can afford to provide. Look at what IBM did with Eclipse … they spent a ton of their resources to drive that open standard, and now reap huge benefits from it. Almost every standard out there started in a similar way: a for-profit company developed it, and then donated it to the community, and continued to fund its adoption. And all of that work isn’t done for purely altruistic motives. It is done to create an ecosystem that can thrive, and where the original sponsor can make reasonable profits by layering their unique value add on top of the standard.

    I believe Apple has a better handle on this than most companies out there, and they’ve definitely got the resources to drive adoption of a standard. These comments from Enderle and Handzlik are FUD borne out of envy, IMO.

    1. Enderle is not out of envy, he always hated everything Apple did and made sure to write or tell everyone who listened to him about those things in the worse possible light. I don’t think he even understands HomeKit, as from his comments he’s clearly still struggling to understand CarPlay 🙂

      Handzlik yep, it’s out of envy, he was planning to sell you his home devices hub box called Oort and Apple just wiped the value of that by offering a standardised interface to home devices built right into iOS.

      The author of the article would really struggle to find any two more biased people to offer comment on this.

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