Apple's Developers conference was held last week and journalists were expecting an answer, or challenge, to Amazons and Googles dominance of the smart home world. Many were left scratching their heads after what some called a 'snub' by Apple of the Smart Home - Ouch!
Digital Trends asked if Apple were just late to the Smart Home Party or just not turning up, Bill Roberson asking why new Smart Home Tech was MIA from the conference.
Homekit did manage to make a very brief showing, mainly in the form of a new app called Shortcuts for Siri and Homekit finally dropping on Apple MacOS when Mojave hits the (digital) shelves.
Shortcuts is Apples new app on iOS 12, Shortcuts will use Siri to perform actions based on custom phrases. For example "turn on music upstairs" would turn on the music upstairs, "unlock all doors" could unlock all the doors in your house (in both examples the controlled hardware would have to be Homekit enabled. This will work on all iOs devices, Homepod and the Apple Watch.
Apples demonstration included very basic home automation such as "Turn on fan" and "set thermostat to 70 degrees", things that you have been able to do with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home from literally Day One and indeed can do currently with Siri. There was some confusion how this ties into the Siri / Apple Homekit ecosystem, you can already do these things within it, perhaps this just allows you to tailor the words/phrases used to command those routines.
Most importantly and in my eyes the (only) jewel in the crown for Apples Smart Home ecosystem is the ability to finally use Home on MacOs - Command your home from your desktop. This should have been there from Day One and is the one thing that in my mind elevates the Apple Smart Home platform in any way above the Google and Amazon competition.
Up until now Home app has only been available on the iOs devices, so you could use your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch to set up and control your Smart Home. It makes infinitely more sense to be able to sit down at a proper computer (with a keyboard and mouse) and set this all up, even if you decide to only use the touchscreen devices to control it all afterwards.
This is where Apple could really excel, the Amazon Alexa app is too broad and complicated and the same goes for the Google App, they both aren't particularly suited to managing a Smart Home, especially via desktop.