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You Can Now Try HomeKit at Dozens of Apple Stores Around the World

Apple has recently unveiled interactive HomeKit experiences in 46 of its retail stores worldwide, allowing customers to test out its smart home platform free of charge, according to TechCrunch. Interactive HomeKit demo area at an Apple Store via TechCrunch Each interactive setup consists of two vertical displays positioned behind an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch with the Home app, which customers can use to control accessories in the virtual room, such as lights and ceiling fans.Now, when you go into Apple’s new retail stores, you’ll be able to use the Home app from either an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad to control devices like the Phillips Hue light bulb, the Hunter ceiling fan and many others. If you tap to the lower the shades in the living room, for example, you’ll see the shades lower in the house shown on the screen.In the United States, customers can try HomeKit at Apple's flagship Union Square store in San Francisco, its World Trade Center and Williamsburg stores in New York City, and 28 other stores not named throughout the country. The experience is also available until at least December in 15 stores outside of the United States, including select locations in the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. At every other Apple retail store, the company will be offering non-interactive HomeKit experiences, according to the report. HomeKit enables Apple users to control lights, switches, thermostats, fans, and other products with its Home app and Siri voice commands. HomeKit-enabled accessories can be controlled

Apple Shares 'Home' App Ad on Refreshed 'Home' Webpage

Apple tonight debuted an ad for its Home app on the Home app webpage on its site, showing off what users can with the HomeKit ecosystem. The ad is not yet on Apple's YouTube page, and is only available on Apple's website. The ad depicts a woman who uses the Home app to get through the day. When she wakes up, she tells Siri good morning, prompting Siri to tell the woman that her home is ready for the day, turning on the lights and opening the window shades. She then opens the Home app and clicks on the "Breakfast Time" scene, which turns on her coffee maker via an iHome SmartPlug and adjusts the temperature via a Honeywell smart thermostat. Once she's ready for the day, she leaves home and clicks the "Lock Up" scene in the Home app, which turns everything in her house off and locks the door. Hours later, she returns home and clicks the "I'm Home" scene, which turns everything back on and unlocks the door. She heads to her Apple TV and uses the Siri Remote to declare that it's "movie time," which prompts the Home app to dim the lights and close the window shades. Finally, she clicks the "Lights Out" scene, which turns everything off other than a small lamp next to her bed so that she can read a book on her iPad. Eventually, she clicks the "Good Night" scene to turn off the lamp and go to sleep. In addition to the new ad, Apple has refreshed its Home webpage with new verbiage. The new copy appears to be less flowery and more direct and focused on app functionality. For instance, the accessories section of the webpage is now titled "One app for all your home

iOS 9 Could Feature 'Home' App For Controlling HomeKit Accessories

Apple is planning a new "Home" app that would enable users to wirelessly discover, securely manage and control HomeKit-based accessories using an iOS device, according to 9to5Mac. The report also reiterates that the Apple TV would serve as a hub for all HomeKit connected devices. The report claims that Home could be introduced alongside iOS 9 at Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month, although the app may not be finalized in time and could remain limited to internal usage by employees only. HomeKit was announced at WWDC last year as a software framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in the home, but the home automation platform has experienced delays since then and has yet to officially launch. Fortune reported last week that HomeKit was pushed back until August or September, but Apple has since confirmed that accessory announcements will begin in June. The rumored Home app would be the front-end platform for HomeKit, akin to the Health app and HealthKit on iOS 8, and reportedly has "fairly basic" functionality centered upon virtual rooms, the Apple TV and other features:Wirelessly discovering and setting up compatible HomeKit devices Creating a virtual representation of rooms in the home to easily organize and connect HomeKit devices Utilizing the Apple TV as a hub connecting all of the HomeKit devices Offering a series of screens to help users find new HomeKit devices and appsIf the Home app is not released, the report claims that Apple may elect for customers to control their HomeKit connected