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
78 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
78 months ago
Lame. Get your act together apple, you have 200B large in the bank
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bmunge Avatar
78 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
78 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
78 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
78 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)

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