Siri Control of HomeKit Devices While On the Go Requires Apple TV as Hub

HomeKit-iconOne of the major focuses at CES this year was home automation, with a number of vendors announcing their plans for devices integrating with Apple's new HomeKit ecosystem. One of the key features of these HomeKit devices has been the ability to control them from iOS devices via Siri, allowing users to turn lights on or off, close garage doors, and more with just their voices.

As noted by The Verge, however, users hoping to accomplish such tasks while away from home will need to have an Apple TV on their home network to serve as the hub for these devices.

So, while commands like "Siri, turn off the lights in the living room" will always work while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, they won’t from the airport unless you have an Apple TV. But that’s it — you can still switch off the lights with an app, no Apple TV required. This behavior has been confirmed by a source close to HomeKit’s development as well as two launch partners who wish to remain anonymous. Only third-generation or later Apple TVs running software 7.0 or later will support HomeKit.

Apple has quietly included HomeKit in the Apple TV's software, but The Verge notes Apple will not be marketing the set-top box specifically as a home automation hub.

Many of the home automation vendors have been fairly vague about launch plans for their devices, and sources indicate that uncertainty is due in large part to the need to wait for Apple to finish polishing its HomeKit tools to ensure proper functionality. With HomeKit-enabled chips only recently beginning to ship to vendors and Apple's vendor licensing program still getting underway, most of these companies still have a few hurdles to cross before they can make their products available for sale.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

heimo Avatar
123 months ago
"Siri, switch off the Apple TV"

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
malexandria Avatar
123 months ago
Lovely

Require the use of a device you label a "Hobby" that hasn't had an update in what 3 years now? A device that does a pretty lousy job handling HD Video? At this point I don't even want Apple to update the AppleTV because if past is prologue they'll make it worse. I wouldn't be surprised if the dBags remove the ethernet port making it WiFi only.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cogitodexter Avatar
123 months ago
Require the use of a device you label a "Hobby" that hasn't had an update in what 3 years now? A device that does a pretty lousy job handling HD Video? At this point I don't even want Apple to update the AppleTV because if past is prologue they'll make it worse. I wouldn't be surprised if the dBags remove the ethernet port making it WiFi only.

I'll bite.

The device doesn't really need an update. It's a low cost networked streaming device that provides 1080p output on HDMI.

It's low power and perfect to be an 'always on' hub for other household devices. It's perfectly logical for it to take on the Home Automation role since it already has the ability to have a visual interface on a device almost everyone has - i.e the TV. It also doesn't need instructions - it's pretty much plug in and go.

What else does it need to do?
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SmoMo Avatar
123 months ago
"Siri, switch off the Apple TV"
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Neepman Avatar
123 months ago
Geez. Lighten up peoples. The thing is a hundred bucks and one of the few actual "values" in the whole apple universe.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaveTheRave Avatar
123 months ago

What else does it need to do?
Support Amazon Prime / Instant Video. Apple, stop crippling ATV.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)