WSJ reviews Apple’s HomeKit: Marred by unreliable Siri

“It’s Day One for HomeKit, Apple’s ambitious plan to automate our homes. But it’s been a rough first day,” Geoffrey A. Fowler writes for The Wall Street Journal. “HomeKit is supposed to help iPhones run lights, thermostats and all sorts of other appliances that can now connect to the Internet. It turns voice-assistant Siri into a genie who makes things happen around the house. You just say, “Turn on the lights,” and presto, they’re on.”

“Unfortunately, Siri just isn’t very reliable,” Fowler writes. “I’m running the first HomeKit hardware in my house, with hubs by Insteon and Lutron Caséta, but when Siri gets involved, I sometimes want to throw the iPhone out the window. She should know all my HomeKit-connected devices by name, but when I say, ‘Turn on the air filter,’ Siri presents a list of stores where I might buy one.”

“Apple is trying to do something very hard—and very important—with HomeKit,” Fowler writes. “Setting up a smart home today is hellish, and could use a good dose of Apple simplicity. Maybe Apple still can pull that off, but this first public showing is uncharacteristically crude. Yes, Apple has done the work of creating a common language for home devices—already, competing products light up together because of HomeKit. But for now, Siri is still in the dark. Did Apple bite off more than it can chew? My bet is that simplifying the smart home is so complicated, it’s still years away… As any iPhone owner can testify, Siri is occasionally hard of hearing. She’s gotten a lot better, but she still sometimes confuses words (scene/seen, up/off, lamp/lap)…”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Fowler’s review is conducted with iOS 8, not iOS 9.

In iOS 9, set for public release this fall (and on our iPhones right now in beta), Siri can search a wider range of topics for a wider range of answers, understands what you say more accurately, and delivers your results faster. iOS 9 also features new HomeKit profiles for motorized windows and shades, motion sensors and home security systems.

Therefore, because we have common sense, we’d wait for iOS 9’s public release before making any pronouncements regarding Apple’s HomeKit.

58 Comments

  1. Apple needs to put Tim Cook out to pasture and put someone with vision and who can focus on the tasks at hand.

    Not only is Cook not a visionary, but his insistence on being a social “justice” warrior is a distraction to him, to Apple, and to the many many millions of people who are put off by his sick world view.

    1. @bereanbob

      I agree, but these scared, effeminate Apple fanboys will never let him go. You’ll have to pull Cook’s wrinkled sack out of their mouths first!

      LMFAO

          1. Whenever I see a male liberal wuss (a) not disgusted at the unnatural, unsanitary, biologically damaging, emotionally damaging, and condemnable act of homosexuality (not to mention the effeminate nature of homos and unfeminine nature of lesbos), and (b) take umbrage at those of us who are normal and not apologetic for it, and (C) project their affinity for deviancy onto real men, I always figure that there’s a pretty good chance they’ve got a bit of phaggotry in ’em.

            1. You have probably not been to school for long. Let me tell you:
              1. Homosexuality exists in many animals, not just humans
              2. Producing offspring is not the only thing a contributing member of society does. If all people were homosexual, then it would be the end of it, but as long as the majority is not, we are fine.
              3. Then, what do you say to childless hetrosexual couples? Would you say that they were not doing their civic duty and perhaps rather see them shot?

          1. An interesting response considering your immediately previous post.

            And, the issue of homosexuality rarely comes up here – except when you and orandy comment.

            It seems to be the foremost thing on your minds ALL the time – you come back to the subject again and again, even when the topic at hand has nothing to do with it.

            Why are you surprised at the reactions you get?

            “We the people” means everyone, whether you or I or anyone else agree with their lifestyle or not.

            1. I guess these guys had to keep the flat earth theory alive so they could be ridiculed, these two simply uphold beliefs that are outdated, and so give amusement to others who have listened to common sense (not dogma from the past) and accepted that which is self evident, that all men are created equal, only some keep their old beliefs alive so we can laugh at them… only wish the ignoratti weren’t allowed guns (oh wait, this is about gays not blacks,,, sorry)

      1. serious question: Who do you guys have in mind to take Cook’s job?

        Remember, stock price has more than doubled on his watch, so we’d want someone with that kind of track record.

        So who do you have in mind?

        1. Dmitri, Seriously, they care more about hiding their homosexual proclivities behind a veil of homophobia than being rational or even greedy. no need to try to make sense to them, just keep going, nothing to see here but an antique paradigm on it’s last gasp, they will eventually see the error of their ways and finally get their dumpers pumped or just die

      2. I mean, to me, this is a really interesting point. Because that’s exactly what I think that left-wingers would say that you are trying to do by defaming Tim Cook for his public displays of support for his own causes and beliefs which you describe as a ‘sick world view’…
        By which I mean, you’re saying Tim can’t run the company because he supports causes you don’t believe in (and describe as ‘sick’) and no other part of what you’re saying is problemstic, although you’re always going to get down voted for dissing Apple by describing Tim as a failure even lthough no-one would disagree that he is not the visionary that Jobs was nor that his public displays of politics are entirely necessary – although Jobs often supported causes he felt for from personal experiences in cancer and I’m sure Tim sees his support on more of that level than of a political activist (I doubt he’d tell anyone how to vote for example).
        No I think in general that what upsets people here though is not even the fact that you view Tim’s beliefs as sick. It’s that you are unwilling to accept that due to 5% of the population of the world being born with a homosexual sexual orientation (roughly and something like 3% more I think who identify as pan/bi/a-sexual etc. your labelling of his ‘world views’ as ‘sick’ might come across as defamatory to all of those other minorities, whom by association (as one of the few CEO role models publicly of a non-heterosexual orientation) you might be perceived to also be upset with the world views of (even though you might well have many friends who are not hetero but live broadly celibate lives sharing your viewpoint it still comes across as potentially against them as a group because of Tim’s minority status as a gay CEO). So that if rather than ‘letting [the left-wingers] lord themselves over you’ you were to simply step more considerately and say things like “although I am happy that homosexually oriented people are represented in Tim Cook, I am still upset by the way he publicly supports what could be perceived as anti-Christian groups in a way that polarises him from a lot of the well meaning Ametican public” you might be better liked than if you carelessly insulted him. It’s just a communications difficulty really 🙂

        1. Sorry this was meant as a reply to the comment by bereanbob below:
          “The only way to live in peace and harmony with left-wingers…
          Let them lord themselves over you…
          To that, I say: Go to hell, and drop dead!”

    2. GOD BLESS bereanbob and orandy for keeping the white, heterosexual superiority at the forefront of these troubling times. What is the world coming to, when we would all have to live together in peace and harmony?
      And GOD BLESS MDN, for allowing the free speech of any individual that agrees with their way of thinking, and banning those who don’t!
      GOD BLESS YOU GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

      1. I understand the sexual orientation rebuke, but why did you bring race into it with the “white” reference? When we want to point out negative behavior in others, is it now required to attribute it automatically to “white” people in general?

      2. The only way to live in peace and harmony with left-wingers is to let them have their way on EVERYTHING. Let them tell you what to think. Let them be the arbiter of right and wrong. Let them lord themselves over you to the extent it pleases them.

        To that, I say: Go to hell, and drop dead!

      1. That’s because left-wingers have no scruples, and at least one of them is playing a silly game here of voting hundreds of times. It’s irrelevant when they do it on a blog forum, since caring about the votes one way or the other is infantile – and yes, left-wingers are certainly THAT. But it’s not so irrelevant when they do it twice presidential elections in order to install the human detritus known as Barack Hussein Obama.

  2. Welcome to Tim Cook’s Apple!

    Tim Cook’s Half-Assed Apple History:

    * 1st gen iPad Mini with no Retina (half-assed)
    * iMac ill-fated launch (half-assed)
    * iPhone 4S, a minor speedbump and the permanently beta SIRI, wothless upgrade (half-assed)
    * Doing away with the 30-pin connector, killing off an entire industry, while taxing us heavily in the process (half-assed)
    * Launches the iPhone 5 with only a slighly bigger screen, with no larger screen option (half-assed)
    * announcing on Twitter every five minutes that’s he’s gay, who cares (chicken sh$t and half-assed)
    * Not taking responsibility for maps fiasco and firing the scapegoat (half-assed)
    * Launching that worthless Macbook with a single port (half-assed)
    * Creating the stupidest product in manufacturing history, the Apple Watch (lame and half-assed)
    * Trying to launch Apple Music without properly paying artists, when he’s raking in tens of millions per year (half-assed)

    I could go on in perpetuity, but you get the idea.

    😜

    1. Nonsense.

      1) iPad mini was under development while Steve Jobs was with the company, and a great product
      2) iMac I’ll-fated launch? The iMac came out in 1997
      3) iPhone 4s was developed while Steve was with the company, and a great product
      4) 30 pin port needed to go… just like serial, parallel, SCSI, floppy drives…. News Flash, technology always changes
      5) The iPhone 5 was a fantastic product
      6) Has nothing to do with Apple
      7) Maps was developed while Jobs was with the company; Tim did take responsibility for the “fiasco” (hyperbole) and Forestall is no longer with the company
      8) The MacBook is a great product.
      9) Apple Music was paying more to the artist in return for the 3-month free… incidentally, that has been changed so no longer relevant.

      I could also go on in perpetuity but myopic, pedantic, “tech” people like yourself will never understand the technology landscape and always lead conversations with fallacies, misleading vividness, hyperbole, and all the rest of your nonsense. Good luck, you’re gonna need it.

      1. Steve Jobs was on his way out after the first iPad launch in 2010. He was sick and slowly dying. His death is going on 4 years. Maps, the Apple Watch, the 12″ MacBook Pro, iMac Retina… all four had botched product launches.

        We also have skinny thin fonts that people have trouble seeing in iOS starting with iOS 7. Changing interfaces that were being infused from one incremental iOS update to another because Apple couldn’t decide what interface in some Apps to settle on. This confuses users and is the result of a lack of proper decision making at Apple.

        Siri still sucks.

        There’s no Apple TV where Steve said he cracked the code 5 years ago.

        OS X Yosemite was a piece of shit when it came to performance and Wifi reliability.

        Apple’s retail had been down as Cook hired the wrong guy.

        Apple buys a piece of crap headphone maker and continues to sell its products thereby confusing its brand with another brand and one that people think make overpriced junk.

        I could go on. The problem is that of those newish products Cook has launched pretty much all of them have been botched launches in very significant ways.

        Cook was given a kingdom built by Jobs and has been riding the coattails of him since he took over. iPhone is 50% plus of Apple’s revenue. Jobs created that, not Cook. As Jobs said in an interview, Apple’s always working on 3-4 generations of iPhone. It would have taken a monkey to screw up the iPhone business at Apple.

        What we’re seeing is Cook struggling when launching new products and a failure of him to get deals done (Apple TV).

        Cook doesn’t seem to have a vision. The Apple Watch may be to Tim Cook what the Newton was to John Sculley. As Jobs said in Walt’s bio, there was a big BUT: “He’s not a product guy”. Jobs was obviously a bit concerned.

        If the Apple Watch fails even fanboys should re-evaluate their support of Tim Cook.

    1. The “buying public” is not a monolith, but comprised of individuals. I am one of those individuals. Not only that, but a concerned stock holder as well. There have been too many screw-ups since Jobs passed. If you don’t understand that, that is not my problem. If hearing an opinion that is not in perfect alignment with your own causes you to melt like a snowflake, that, too, is not my problem.

      I hope you’re a little less stupid now.

      You’re welcome.

      1. nope, only more stupid for wasting my time on reading your effluence, but you have shown yourself to be MUCH more stupid, thank you very much. Anyone who thinks that they have something they think could help someone, and then wraps it in an invective so vile as you do, offers only the worst kind of information. god has a special place for people like you, it is called hell, and as the world becomes more tolerant, even supportive of diversity, it will look more and more like hell to you, and you are trapped in this world for your eternity. from here it looks like heaven finally, except a momentary flame from people like you

      1. You really do not understand the fiduciary responsibilities of a CEO do you. I’m not SUPPOSED to know the politics of a CEO of a publicly traded company.

        Egads, but the density of the liberal brain is a thing to behold!

    1. Despite popular belief, Tim Cook and Apple are separate entities. Tim Cook’s political opinions are his and he is free to express them. 🇺🇸 But it would appear that they are in alignment with a large majority of Apple employees. So… things are looking pretty good.

      1. Actually, Tim Cook’s opinions ARE NOT in alignment with the large majority. That is a common liberal tactic, to portray themselves as the “enlightened majority.” What’s interesting is that the more we do things the liberal way, THE WORSE THINGS GET!

        Tim Cook is the CEO of a publicly traded company. He needs to focus on his job, stop being distracted, and stop alienating people. You say that Tim Cook and Apple are two separate entities. Well excuse me, but if he were not the CEO of Apple, would he have a bully pulpit with which to bless all of us with his gnarled world view?

        Why do such basic things have to be explained to liberals?

      1. When it gets bad, I just go to other sites and ignore MDN. Sometimes it is a few days but sometimes it is a few weeks.

        MDN, the trolls are costing you money and are not driving your site. Think it through.

      2. It appears that MDN has NO interest in making these discussion forums a more civil, polite, and political viewpoint-neutral space. They post articles with only the most tenuous connection with Apple/Mac/Technology because they know it will generate traffic on their website. They accuse and criticize others of “hit-whoring” while they wholeheartedly engage in it themselves. They apply “what would Steve do” as a Gold Standard, but never ask themselves, “how would Steve Jobs feel about this internet space” they have created which is very often rife with off-topic, racist, homophobic, and just plain mean-spirited posts.

        I register my dislike for how MacDailyNews is run by visiting it less and less and by avoiding clicks that would reward MDN’s owners. It’s really a shame as MDN began many years ago as a website that aggregated Apple/Mac news wonderfully, provided informed, witty commentary, and a civil place that encouraged focussed, on-topic discussion of Everything Apple. Unfortunately, MDN has allowed this web space to devolve into an often unpleasant morass. For a thoughtful, compelling alternative to MDN, I would recommend visiting the well-moderated MacRumors forums.

        1. Two times I can remember, MDN drove a street sweeper through here, and bang the malefactors were gone. I believe such persons tend to loiter here because moderation of the comments is slim to none, and there is a twisted joy in bare knuckle brawling. When it gets to a point though, bang.

    1. I’m a strong supporter of free speech so unless there is a crossing of the line (like making threats) I support the diversity of ideas, there are still a lot of homophobes out there, and if they want to express their distaste so be it.

      That being said, I think there are things that we can do as a community to minimize all this, such as don’t feed the trolls, and staying focused on the topic. I certainly don’t mind doing a dance with a troll and recently I’ve had a lovely such exchange with bereanbob. The ability to say anything nice about anyone is simply not in his inventory, his comments about the chinese are limited to pointing out 50 million dead under Mao and that they eat dog. Fine, time to move on.

      The second point I’d like to make is staying focused on topic. Here we have a thread and nothing really focused on the article. I suspect that when the majority of the community does keep focused on the topic at hand the troll and distractors will have a very minor impact. To this I better add that voice command is still in it’s infancy insofar as mainstream. I’ve read an article recently that Siri has been causing a wave of 911 calls (Headline is: Regina police getting many Siri-generated 911 calls). This is something that is going to have to be dealt with, maybe by clearing up the confusion between nine eleven and nine one one but it’s an issue nonetheless.

      Either way there are still a couple out there who will call for Tim Cook to be removed from Apple, there always will be. Censorship or silencing them to me is not the answer, a strong community response is, and sometimes ignoring that call for Tim Cook’s removal may be the best approach.

      MDN provides what I consider to be a very open attitude when it comes to posting, and I’m talking as someone who has had posts removed. My response to that attitude is to try to be a supportive member of the MDN community as much as I can. Sure I’ll sway but for the most part I’ll try to stick to the topic at hand, or at least include it in my comment. The other thing I do is read and enjoy. There are some great people who post here, and I love what they have to say.

      Anyway, some more food for thought.

      1. I’m puzzled about the “fire Tim Cook” debate…Why does anybody seriously think that a Board of Directors is going to fire a CEO when the stock price skyrocketed on his watch? This is business, not Sunday School.

        As for who would replace him, I say Angela Ahrendts. As a successful former CEO she has the chops to do it. But that might excite a new, worse brand of invective. Come to think of it, anyone at all who replaced Tim Cook would probably excite invective.

        OK I’ll go with Steve Ballmer. With him as Apple CEO, at least the invective would be somewhat humorous. As the ship slowly sank.

        1. Good post, and I’m also miffed at why someone would wish to get rid of Tim Cook. That being said orandy made a number of points, refuted by ajendus. I had reservations when he took over but I was willing to wait a year or two to see how he did, and he did very well. Had some interesting exchanges with Jim Morrison over that time about it.

          The only point in the debate that makes any sense to me is that Tim Cook is gay. It’s not relevant to me, but I’m sure it gets a lot of knotted panties from straight homophobes. The watch is Tim Cook’s baby and there is debate about the device, but once again I’m willing to wait to see how well it sells. Meanwhile the stock price is nothing I’m complaining about. Sure it could be higher but hey it’s wall street.

          The point of the watch points to one thing though, and that’s the instant please me demands of some people in today’s modern society. They want it and they want it now or yesterday. I’m good with slow and steady.

          A replacement to Tim Cook, I’m not even going to go there, I hope he gets a decade or two to steer Apple cause so far he’s doing a great job.

          Have a good one.

  3. “I sometimes want to throw the iPhone out the window”

    I’ll take it! I know lots of people that would love something that works as well as an iPhone. BTW – you can always tap on the phone if you don’t want to wait for IOS 9.

    “it’s still years away”
    Years?!?!?
    I know you have to make your story sound important, but come on, years?
    The only thing that will take years will be Fowler trying to understand the iPhone.

  4. So, after all the political/social debate, let me ask something: Why do reporters think it is smart or even fair to write reviews based on developer preview software?

    1. So HomeKit is out but not functional with Siri yet because iOS9 has yet to be released. As long as you can use HomeKit now it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.. You just have to do it manually.. The test with Siri will come when iOS9 is out. The question right now then should be does HomeKit work well manually with a well equipped house? What problems occur when you have say 18 different lighting fixtures using HomeKit in your house, etc..

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