How Apple’s HomeKit broke my digital heart

“When Apple first announced HomeKit in 2014 I hoped it would be the unifying platform that let me truly control all my smart home devices as if they all came from the same company,” Jeff Gamet writes for The Mac Observer. “That turned out to be true, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because HomeKit has become a raging s*#t storm, and I finally have to accept that.”

“I love that HomeKit lets me control my smart home devices regardless if I’m home, or practically anywhere else in the world,” Gamet writes. “I also love that it reliably manages my ecobee smart thermostat schedule when ecobee‘s own app failed.”

“My big problem with HomeKit isn’t overall reliability. Apple has most of those issues under control, although I sometimes have problems where only part of a scene executes,” Gamet writes. “My problem is that the HomeKit platform is so fragile that when something goes wrong there isn’t a graceful way to recover. In fact, there isn’t any way to recover.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: HomeKit works great on paper.

The smart home for average consumers remains a faraway dream.

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s HomeKit security screwup spotlights the risk of smart homes – December 8, 2017
Zero-day iOS HomeKit flaw allowed remote access to IoT devices including door locks, garage door openers; fix rolling out – December 8, 2017
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015

23 Comments

  1. … does a really smart home owner need all of these frivolous gizmos? Simplicity is most always better, so why saddle yourself and your family with more unnecessary complexity?

    1. I suppose that could be a ‘hidden’ aim to make only Apple designed home products work with HomeKit to reduce complexity. Apple really doesn’t play well with others, rather they put the ‘-Kits’ out and hope others will play well with them.

    2. I think you miss the point. It isn’t really about being able to control your devices with voice or even remotely. It’s about removing the need to control them at all. A truly smart home will turn on the lights when you enter the room and off again when you leave. It will adjust the thermostat depending on if you are away for the day or on vacation. Just to name a couple of simple examples that can be accomplished fairly easily with the current technology.

  2. Years back when I started noticing things going awry with Apple like the Mac Pro under Tim Cook’s I said Apple had talent but was beginning to lose it’s focus.

    I was told to STFU as Mac Pros and Macs in general (Mini, MBP, Mac book air etc also had issues) were NICHE and over ( inspite Of course that mac’s make the most hardware profits after iPhone… )

    I said “Wait until they break the device that YOU depend on”. (I was Mac Pro user and frustrated).

    Now we’ve got Home Kit issues.
    And a host of other things like the original iPad Pro launching without the key Pencil, Apple TV.

    And SIRI which drives iOS…

    So is SIRI and iOS and iPhones NICHE ?
    ( “Wait until they break things YOU Depend on” )

    So years later I’m still saying Tim Cook needs to focus on PRODUCTS. And get a grip of his Coffee Table book, yell at iTunes stars at Basketball games, one and half year to design Campus door handles managers…

    Steve Jobs idea of Apple was that Apple would change the world by creating life changing products.

    If products start to fail or have bad reputations (like that cylinder Mac Pro not updated since 2013) then Cook would have an ERODING PLATFORM or soapbox for all the social things (good as they may be) he wants to do. If Cook talks about the wonders of the cylinder Mac Pro or SIRI and then espouses how he wants to change education and make smarter people , like would you listen to him… ?

    ——-
    longtime Apple user, aapl investor.

  3. I’m no Luddite, but it does seem to me that

    home automation = home complication

    My worst experience with an analog wall switch was one that went bzzzt,

    1. Like most things, this will gradually get better. I put a WiFi controlled switch on the garage light. I was going to wire it with two switches ( one in the house, one outside). It was pretty expensive to run all that wire and get two switch boxes with dual operation, not to mention the work of running the wires and all. Plugging in a WiFi controller for a lamp is easier and cheaper than hardwiring a remote switch. Plus you can easily move this if you feel like it.

      We might get a Home Kit door lock. It would be nice to be in bed and be able to confirm the door is locked without having to go down and check it.

      1. My fear for things like door locks is that similar to people experiencing feeling in ‘phantom’ limbs, just because you get a signal that the door is ‘locked’, it may not necessarily mean the door is physically locked.

  4. While I’m intrigued by the possibilities of networked appliances, if my smart bathroom scale were ever to tell my smart kitchen refrigerator to lock me out, sparks would fly.

    Real sparks.

    1. That would be amusing. I’m imagining a fridge with a door that has fingerprint sensors on the door handle to allow it to selectively ‘lock-out’ users. Maybe even give a mild shock, kinda like those smart guns in Judge Dredd.

  5. Seems like a clickbait-ish story (aren’t they all?). It will likely be about how they did something stupid, screwed thing up, and then expected to magically get back to a safe and secure starting point easily.

    For me, HomeKit has been fine. Others may have had bad experiences… guess I’m just glad I’m not them.

  6. HomeKit, like most other home automation platforms out there, is a platform that is compatible only with its own kind.

    I refuse to accept that my future purchasing decisions may be affected by what I have today, especially if I can’t use the best devices.

    That’s why I’m using and actively supporting Home Assistant. It’s finicky to set up, but is compatible with nearly everything and is improving at break-neck speed. It looks like it may even be controllable from HomeKit soon.

  7. Mr Gamet’s entire concerns are addressed in his final thoughts: “Flipping a light switch is still far more reliable, even if it means setting down the groceries or walking into a dark room”.

    And let me add this when it comes to technology, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

    1. Flipping a light switch is easy, but in my house, installing a light switch where there isn’t already one is quite a challenge. The floors are solid, the walls are stone with lime mortar and the ceilings are beamed, with little chance of access from above because of the high-end oak flooring. My stone walls couldn’t be patched up with filler without looking ridiculous.

      If I want to install an extra lamp, HomeKit provides me with a way to do so without needing to arrange for a wired switch. So long as there is power available near where I want the lamp to be, I can use HomeKit to control it without having to ruin the decor fitting a switch and cable.

      For similar reasons, WiFi, AirPlay and AirPrint allow me to use devices in other rooms without needing to find a way to route cables.

  8. Never had problems with homekit, had problems when the different individual manufacturers had issues, but never with homekit.

    Have several manufacturers devices, homekit talks to all and the scenes work. was wonderful at xmas with outdoor lighting too.

    I’d like to know what actual issues people have run into that are directly related to a failing in homekit?

    I’ve heard stories of the door locks loosing connectivity because they were too far away from appletv for bluetooth but that isn’t a failing of homekit.

    I’d also like to know where some peoples comments come from that Apple is doing this so that you have to use their products, when Apple doesn’t make any of these smart home products, only the framework, standards, and the appletv for use as a hub??

  9. Been messing with Homekit since launch, trying out stuff before I build the home I will retire to- 2,400 miles from where I currently live. As I will be building soon but will not retire for a decade, I want ability to monitor and manage things from afar.

    There are good options for home automation and none require HomeKit. Apple is a dilettante with HomeKit, like so many other things.

  10. Works well with the Hue lighting system. It allows me to create scenes with various light dim levels, at home or remotely. As someone previously commented, it’s more reliable than the Phillips’ Hue app.

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