Want to control your lights or crank up your thermostat with a simple Siri voice command while on the go? Then get ready to buy an Apple TV.
As partners are rolling out the first batch of smart home devices that make use of Apple’s HomeKit platform, it’s wort to revisit the role that Apple TV is playing for home automation. In short, Apple is turning its streaming media player into a kind of gateway for its HomeKit smart home automation platform.
Here’s how Lutron, one of the first companies to sell smart home devices with Apple’s blessing, describes the role of Apple TV in the smart home in a support document:
“If you are away from home and you tell Siri to do something, the message is sent via the Internet to an Apple TV device in your home, which then sends the message over your WiFi network to your HomeKit accessory.”
The documentation goes on to specify that remotely controlling your smart home devices will require “a 3rd generation or later Apple TV with software version 7.0 or later.”
It’s worth noting that users can still control devices from Lutron and other manufacturers from outside of their own home through dedicated apps, even if they don’t own an Apple TV. In that sense, Apple TV is not acting as a central hub.
Apple is expected to unveil a new version of its Apple TV streaming box at its WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco next week. The new device could offer access to a proper app store, and possibly also feature on-screen controls and status updates for HomeKit devices. However, reports indicate that plans to also introduce a TV streaming service have been delayed.