Apple HomeKit: More Home Automation Waste – PCMag India
Home automation has been on the back burner for decades, and is something I complain about at least once a year. It was in the news again after Apple’s WWDC this week, when observers looking to squeeze some news out of the long keynote seized on news about HomeKit.
This led me to the HomeKit homepage, which finally answered all my “what is it good for?” questions. Absolutely nothing!
Let’s amuse ourselves with Apple’s assertions. First, we are told to be on the lookout for the HomeKit seal of approval logo (above) for any sort of device we want to use within a HomeKit microcosm.
This ensures interoperability and security. Apple is using all sorts of proprietary protocols for these devices to protect users against house hacks that I’ve described in the past, where devices are controlled by smirking jokers on the net.
The HomeKit devices you can get are scant: a wall outlet ($75), a light dimmer ($180), a thermostat ($150-$500), and a few other less obvious devices. This minor selection is reflected in the hardly imaginative list of supposedly cool functions listed on the HomeKit webpage. Here is the primary list of cited uses:
After you pair your accessory and iOS device, you can control the accessory with Siri commands. Here are some examples:
- “Turn on the lights” or “Turn off the lights.”
- “Dim the lights” or “Set the brightness to 50 percent.”
- “Set the temperature to 68 degrees.”
- “Turn on the coffee maker.”
I cannot image anyone doing any of this. The coffee pot commander is bullcrap because usually the coffee maker needs some preparation by hand.
Apple has even more lunacy in mind with an expanded list of dubious uses.
If you set up homes, rooms, zones, or scenes, you can use commands like this:
- “Turn on the upstairs lights.”
- “Turn off Chloe’s light.”
- “Turn down the kitchen lights.”
- “Dim the lights in the dining room to 50 percent.”
- “Make the living room lights the brightest.”
- “Set the Tahoe house to 72 degrees.”
- “Set the thermostat downstairs to 70.”
- “Turn on the printer in the office.”
- “Dinner party.”
The giveaway to understanding the target audience for this silliness is “set the Tahoe house to 72 degrees.” Really? Also, what sort of modern printer needs to be turned on? They usually stay on standby all the time and get “turned on” when a job is sent.
This is a list of banal commands that seemed designed for the decadent nouveau riche that cannot afford a butler. Exactly what is “party?” Is there a HomeKit-enabled disco ball I somehow missed in my research?
In short, this is just dumb and a waste of money. If those of you with a second home in Tahoe want to trust the Internet to properly set your thermostat to 72 degrees, good luck with that. I assume you are pre-heating it for your arrival. What a life.
I see all this as spending a lot of hours to save minutes. This gripe does not include the expense of replacing perfectly good manual dimmers or whatever else you swap out. There will be some overpriced networked refrigerators and home appliances with the HomeKit logo, naturally.
I just do not see the public-at-large getting too jazzed up about this idea. The tech community will be giddy, of course. Until something equally dumb comes along.
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