Mixtile Hub Smart Home Bridge Won't Support HomeKit After All

At CES 2017 earlier this year, Chinese company Focalcrest debuted the Mixtile Hub, a supposedly MFi-certified smart home bridge that promised to bring HomeKit connectivity to various connected home products that would not otherwise be able to interface with Apple's smart home platform.

mixtile2
Specifically, Focalcrest said the Mixtile Hub would be able to interface with Z-Wave and ZigBee devices and sensors, as well as connect to various smart home devices through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

As it turns out, however, the Mixtile Hub won't support HomeKit after all. At some point between CES and now, Focalcrest removed any mention of HomeKit from its press release—see the original for comparison—and the company now plans to launch the Mixtile Hub with Amazon Alexa support only.

In a recent email to MacRumors forum member Macwick, shared with us, Focalcrest vaguely said it believes Apple "doesn't permit bridge products to compatible with different brand devices," which isn't entirely true.

In the past few months, we kept to contact Apple for approval the HomeKit related designs. But this stage really takes a bit long and till now we still don't get a positive reply from Apple.

From our communication with Apple, we feel that they don't permit bridge products to compatible with different brand devices upon some uncertain reasons, as you know, our Mixtile Hub is a bridge product too.

The Philips Hue bridge does support both HomeKit and ZigBee, but that's just for one product, whereas the Mixtile Hub would have essentially made any Z-Wave or ZigBee product compatible with HomeKit. It wouldn't be surprising if Apple refused to certify the Mixtile Hub due to security concerns.

While it's unsurprising that Apple isn't backing the Mixtile Hub, it's disappointing that Focalcrest so prominently advertised HomeKit support prior to receiving certification for the product. Focalcrest admitted that it's uncertain if its "redefined" Mixtile Hub will still be attractive to homeowners.

Top Rated Comments

NachoGrande Avatar
49 months ago
Amazon will lead the way.. All of my home automation is using Alexa. Fantastic.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brett_x Avatar
49 months ago

Focalcrest said Apple doesn't permit smart home bridge products to be compatible with other standards or brands such as Z-Wave and ZigBee.

Hue supports Zigbee and Homekit, so it doesn't appear to be true.

Macrumors... Don't you have the resources to investigate and back that up or deny it? By not doing so, you've fed the "Apple is so closed it hurts" trolls.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8692574 Avatar
49 months ago
This is why I moved away from iOS, it is too closed!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arubinst Avatar
49 months ago

In a recent email to MacRumors forum member Macwick, shared with us, Focalcrest said Apple doesn't permit smart home bridge products to be compatible with other standards or brands such as Z-Wave and ZigBee.

That doesn't seem right. Philips Hue uses ZigBee and it is a HomeKit compatible bridge.

Unless in misunderstood what Macwick said.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsrcool1234 Avatar
49 months ago
Once again, Apple's arbitrary rules screw over the customer. I abandoned the Homekit garbage long ago and went to Alexa/Smarthings and never looked back.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
49 months ago
Apple is currently losing the battle for the home. Alexa is quickly overtaking everything.

How can the company that kickstarted the AI personal assistant revolution five and a half years ago be so far behind? They've even had HomeKit for two years. Then a company like Amazon whose most successful product is an eBook reader and has turned out massive flops like the Fire Phone comes in and owns them.

If Apple doesn't have some seriously major upgrades for Siri at WWDC along with some dedicated hardware this autumn, I'm going to be seriously worried for Apple's future. You can only play the smartphone card for so long before the next big thing knocks you flat. I think they're working on something, and I'd prefer to use Apple over competitors because of their stance on privacy and security, but for a company with their resources this is taking far too long. As much as I like my Apple Watch, they've been piddling with these side projects too much and losing sight of where technology is headed.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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