Apple Pushes Back HomeKit Launch to August or September

HomeKit-iconApple has pushed back the target release date of its home automation platform, HomeKit. According to a new report from Fortune that cites sources involved with the program, the May-June target launch date has shifted to late August or September.

HomeKit, announced at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference, is Apple's platform that links multiple home automation devices together with a single set of protocols to allow them to be controlled through the Apple ecosystem. Apple has demoed HomeKit just once, back in June, and at the time, the company did not give a prospective release date.

Many manufacturers began preparing HomeKit-compatible products following the initial debut of the platform, and several of those were shown off at CES. iDevices, for example, introduced a HomeKit-enabled smart plug, while Schlage demoed its "Schlage Sense" smart lock designed to work with HomeKit.

At CES, many of the companies gave prospective spring release dates for their products, leading us to believe that HomeKit was perhaps going to debut during April or May, but Fortune's sources say HomeKit is not quite ready for an official launch. Apple may, however, show off the platform again in the near future, perhaps at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference alongside an updated Apple TV.

Sources close to the situation say Apple is planning a smaller announcement around HomeKit in the near term, but not the official launch. Apparently, making it easy to sign in and get your devices (door locks, light blubs, et cetera) online is much harder to do than Apple anticipated. One source says the code base associated with that part of the process "blew up" and required way too much memory for smaller, battery-powered devices, so Apple is trying to shrink the code back down to size.

HomeKit promises to make a major advance towards a introducing a fully connected home, using the Apple TV as an automation hub and relying on Siri for simple voice commands to control hardware in the home. With HomeKit-enabled products, Apple's voice assistant Siri can be asked to perform tasks like "Close the garage," "Turn off the lights," or "Lower the temperature."

When HomeKit is ready to launch, manufacturers will have a wide selection of products available that will work with the system. Apple finalized its HomeKit specification in October and is working with several notable partners include Philips and Honeywell, among others.

Update 1:11 PM PT: In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has refuted rumors of delays, stating that the first HomeKit accessories will launch next month. That suggests HomeKit will indeed see its official debut in the near future, perhaps at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

"HomeKit [hardware certification] has been available for just a few months and we already have dozens of partners who have committed to bringing HomeKit accessories to market and we're looking forward to the first ones coming next month," said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller.

Top Rated Comments

name99 Avatar
117 months ago
Lame. Get your act together apple, you have 200B large in the bank

The optimistic way to view this (we shall see if it is the correct way...) is:

Apple are aware that they have some pretty damn serious problems in their network stacks. Whether it's dynamic naming (mDNS), raw WiFi (iOS devices randomly no longer sync with a mac, Macbooks randomly fail when moved from home network to work network and back), SMB (Finder randomly hangs --- and caches stale data) or Bluetooth (Apple keyboard/trackpad randomly disconnect).

This is reaching a crisis point. They have built their empire on "look ma, no wires" and "it just works", but every day you see someone (and people who are serious fans, not haters) exploding with rage at the lack of "just working" of the Apple ecosystem --- reboot every device you own twice a day is NOT an acceptable solution in 2015.

This is going to become beyond problematic into serious "I will sue you and your 200 billion dollars into the ground" territory if HomeKit fails to work properly --- if burglars can enter because a network fault that can be proved to be Apple's fault, or a smoke detector that didn't call the authorities, or whatever. And god knows, these problems WILL occur, and WILL be easy enough to prove given how riddled with bugs is the current networking infrastructure.

So, as I said, the hopeful way to view this is its Apple drawing a line in the sand, saying nothing will be released until it is ready, and it's not ready until the networking for the entire Apple ecosystem, from base station to discoveryd to Finder to WiFi sync can actually run unattended for months on end without weird random failures, undetected errors, and a constant need to reboot.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
currocj Avatar
117 months ago
Lame. Get your act together apple, you have 200B large in the bank
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bmunge Avatar
117 months ago
Lame. Get your act together apple, you have 200B large in the bank
HomeKit has been "available" to developers for less than a year and unlike other updates to the SDK, it requires new hardware to truly be effective. Apple's cash balance doesn't mean much when HomeKit requires 3rd party companies to define and develop entirely new hardware/software products to utilize it. Of course it's going to take some time.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoEw Avatar
117 months ago
Yeah I think we can forget the whole notion of the Apple TV as a home hub.

I mean if you think about it, the Time Capsule is the perfect platform for an all in one: Apple TV - Home Hub - Router - Media Server - NAS - Time Machine.

They just don't think that way. Different devices, different connectors, different dongles = more revenue.

Your average Joe is not capable of buying and setting up a router especially if they are already paying Comcast 5 bucks a month for theirs.

Average Joe can connect a box to a television with a Hdmi port.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lord Hamsa Avatar
117 months ago
Eh. I'd rather see them get it right than get it out a few months sooner.

With the delay, of course, now they really really need to get it right.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
name99 Avatar
117 months ago
For the last 5 years (at least) I've been hopping from one network to another, on one Apple device or another (Core 2 Duo MBP, i7 MBP, original iPhone, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, iPad 2), usually copying my old account from the old device to the new. I don't know what you're talking about. Sure, I've had the occasional hiccup in that time, but nothing like what you describe.

The mid 2011 15" MBP I'm using now has been running for just over 5 days (because I haven't bothered to shut it down) with no problems. I often leave it on longer because I don't like to wait the 20 seconds it takes to reboot and reload my apps. It's been on coffee shop networks, my work network, and my home network. I did need to reboot my cable router today, but you can't blame Apple for that! Even that's a rare event.

Apple fans did not do their company any favors when, throughout the 90s, they kept insisting that Apple did not need fancy technology like virtual memory, pre-emptive multitasking, and multi-core support. Likewise they do the company no favors by insisting that, because their systems (generally very simple limited systems) work fine, everyone else's systems also work fine.

I listed a number of specific problems:
- automatic naming and discovery is completely broken
- WiFi sync is frequently broken
- Finder frequently hangs when engaged in file sharing, and file sharing caches material inappropriately (ie there is either no cache invalidation protocol, or the protocol is broken)
- BT peripherals (eg Apple keyboard and trackpad) randomly disconnect and then (sometimes) reconnect.
- WiFi frequently "breaks" on macbooks that constantly move between different networks

I am not making these up. HOWEVER you may not see them if you do not engage in this behavior.
You will not see the naming problems if you do not have an Airport Base Station (I think. The problems seem ultimately to result from the Base Station's attempt to proxy for sleeping Apple devices).
You may not see the WiFi sync stuff if you don't have multiple iOS devices. (Or perhaps it's again dependent on having an Airport Base Station)
You will not see Finder hanging on file sharing transfers if you don't have multiple macs at home, or don't engage much in transferring material between them.
etc etc

I cannot speak to the last problem directly (ie I don't know exactly what "WiFi breaks" means insofar as I can't say exactly what breaks) because I don't engage in this particular pattern. But I DO know that it is real because I see it happen with my girlfriend's MacBook Air all the time. Probably every three days or so she'll get home and her internet connection will be slow to non-existent, so she'll just reboot.

As just one example of the fact that these are real issues, and that serious engineers have investigated them and found Apple wanting, I give you:
http://furbo.org/2015/05/05/discoveryd-cluster****/

(BTW I was a senior engineer at Apple for 10 years through the 90s to early 2000s, so I'd like to think I'm neither reflexively against the company, or incapable of figuring out small problems that are NOT the fault of broken Apple software.)
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...
maxresdefault

Apple Announces 'Let Loose' Event on May 7 Amid Rumors of New iPads

Tuesday April 23, 2024 7:11 am PDT by
Apple has announced it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, May 7 at 7 a.m. Pacific Time (10 a.m. Eastern Time), with a live stream to be available on Apple.com and on YouTube as usual. The event invitation has a tagline of "Let Loose" and shows an artistic render of an Apple Pencil, suggesting that iPads will be a focus of the event. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
Apple Vision Pro Dual Loop Band Orange Feature 2

Apple Cuts Vision Pro Shipments as Demand Falls 'Sharply Beyond Expectations'

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple has dropped the number of Vision Pro units that it plans to ship in 2024, going from an expected 700 to 800k units to just 400k to 450k units, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Orders have been scaled back before the Vision Pro has launched in markets outside of the United States, which Kuo says is a sign that demand in the U.S. has "fallen sharply beyond expectations." As a...
Provenance Emulator

PlayStation and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store [Updated]

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, SEGA Genesis,...
apple vision pro orange

Apple Vision Pro Customer Interest Dying Down at Some Retail Stores

Monday April 22, 2024 2:12 am PDT by
Apple Vision Pro, Apple's $3,500 spatial computing device, appears to be following a pattern familiar to the AR/VR headset industry – initial enthusiasm giving way to a significant dip in sustained interest and usage. Since its debut in the U.S. in February 2024, excitement for the Apple Vision Pro has noticeably cooled, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On...