Your HomeKit Guide: How to Make an iOS App for Homekit

September 30, 2016 | Rob LaPointe

Apple’s HomeKit development platform is probably the current pinnacle of Automated or Smart” homes. This means that it is at the forefront of the Tech Industry. Because, as dedicated readers know, the Internet of Things and a web of connected devices are the future of the business, and the world overall.

So what is HomeKit, and how do you make an app that takes full advantage of all the pretty awesome features this platform has to offer. The rest of this post will take a look at all the features Apple HomeKit has to offer and then we’ll discuss what a successful iOS app for HomeKit looks like.

Want to know more about how to make an app for home kit devices but prefer a more direct conversation? Contact us here to speak to our sales and marketing team.

Homekit Guide: Features

Apple Homekit is a framework or platform intended to encompass all home automation apps. From Thermostat control to automatic blinds, HomeKit is meant to be a comprehensive, one-stop location for all your Smart Home apps and devices. With the advent of the new Home App for HomeKit iOS 10, users can control their enabled home devices from anywhere with an internet connection.

We’ve all seen the commercials: the pretty people for one commercial opens up the Smart Thermostat app while the pretty people in the other open up another home automation app to close the garage door.

HomeKit encapsulates Apple’s response: a centralized place for all of one’s Smart Home Devices. From Smart light bulbs by Philips to Eve Room Sensors, users gain the ability to control their SmartHome from a variety of iOS Platforms: iPhones, iPad, Macs; heck. we just learned at WWDC16 that the new HomeKit even enables HomeKit for Apple tvOS apps!

Those who downloaded HomeKit will have also noticed that the newest version has better voice-control features and new Smart accessories added to the platform’s capabilities. Here’s a shortlist of devices (if smart) that are controllable from Apple’s HomeKit:

• Thermostats;

• Locks;

• Lightbulbs;

• Garage doors;

• Monoxide sensors;

• Sprinklers/Irrigation Systems;

• Cameras;

• Alarms and other Security Systems;

• Window shades;

• Even generic devices through HomeKit-enabled plugs can have limited functionality with this awesome platform.

There are other devices, such as Elgato (discussed below), that allow users even further control of their homes, beyond what was capable prior to Smart Devices. Let’s take a look at what makes a killer app for the HomeKit framework.

Apple HomeKit Apps

1. Home

This app for iOS 10, Home. Home is basically a user’s dashboard for all HomeKit enabled devices, allowing you to control all Smart aspects of your Automated home. The updated version was released a few months ago and features a new, stellar design. Additionally, users can now take advantage of 3D Touch features (i.e. Peek and Pop gestures) and better organizational capabilities. Most importantly Home, created by iOS entrepreneur Matthias Hochgatterer, Home allows you to control pretty much all HomeKit-enabled devices from most iOS devices. The bad news is that it costs $15 bucks – but considering all that the Home for iOS can do? Not a bad deal.

2. Elgato’s Eve

Elgato is probably the single most discussed Smart Home hardware and associated app-enabled for HomeKit. It’s free and comes automatically with the purchase of any of the Elgato Eve room sensors (Also downloadable on the App Store). Like Home for iOS, it allows for connection to most Homekit Devices (including some Smart locks), but unlike Home, it doesn’t function on an Apple Watch. Of course, Elgato’s Eve app is free, so there’s always that to consider!

3. Hesperus

Hesperus makes excellent use of the HomeKit API to create app controls (again) for most HomeKit enabled devices while enabling serious customization abilities. Hesperus is free but offers more features through in-app purchases. There are some issues with this app (like no extension to the Apple Watch, and the UX is a little clunky, making it hard to manage many connected devices), but for the price, it may be the best HomeKit App on the market.

Your HomeKit Guide: Summary

While free or cheap apps Elgato and Hesperus, are great, Users seem to prefer an app that allows full control of all HomeKit enabled devices, even if they cost. The most two desired features appear to be full control and complete extendibility across all iOS devices.

Additionally, a clean UX and excellent organization of all HomeKit apps, coupled with a high degree of user customization seem to be winning traits to a successful venture. Finally, an excellent app for HomeKit allows users to divide their homes into sectors or zones.

This allows for better automation and improved User control. Astute readers will notice that we didn’t cover this too much. So, if you want to know more about zones and sectors for better automation, as well as how to design a killer UX app overall, contact SDI now!

Your Apple HomeKit Developers

Ready to start making money from your own apps for HomeKit? Software Developers Inc provides industry-best services, following foundational strategies that have been tried and tested true. Give SDI a call at 408.805.0495 / 408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

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