Apple

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Apple

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Selected products from this vendor are presented on this page, with my assessments where I have personal experiences to share. The links are primarily directed to the vendor’s own pages, in English; for local pages/prices you will have to conduct your own search.

About the vendor and its products

Apple is an important supplier to the smart home in two way. First, Apple owns the HomeKit platform, as many will know as one of three key platforms for voice control of smart devices (see more under control & automation). Second, Apple supplies devices that represent both the central hub in a smart home (based on HomeKit) and the user interface for programming and control of a smart home. Key products in this category are:

  • Apple TV, which can work as a base station for HomeKit and otherwise be integrated in a smart home system as an output device for home entertainment

  • HomePod, which is Apple’s smart speaker and which can act as base station for HomeKit as well as taking voice commands to control smart devices

  • iPhone/iPad, which through the Home app are key devices to set up and program HomeKit-based devices and also allows using Siri for voice control

  • Apple Watch, which also has the Home app and Siri which allow controling smart devices using the watch

  • Mac, which from macOS Mojave also includes Home app, and thus hs the same capabilities as an iPhone/iPad for programming and controlling devices

Our experiences

On our part, we have all these products in daily use, see more specific experiences in the table below. Both hardware and software is in constant development and there are always improvements to be made, men in our home this setup works very well. Being so tightly integrated into the Apple ecosystem provides many types of seamless collaboration among the devices. And without claiming everything to be perfect, Apple’s emphasis on security and privacy is comforting. On the other hand, lock-in into the Apple world means being cut off from other platforms. We have circumvented this by gaining access to other ecosystems through an Amazon Echo, Google Home hub, and an Athom Homey.

Notice that on phones, the table might only display in landscape mode

Component Room Experiences

Apple TV x 2

Living room and basement living room

In the smart home, the Apple TV acts as one of several hubs for HomeKit (together with HomePod and iPad). It differs which of these is the active hub at any given time and we have learned that the Apple TV is the most stable of them.

HomePod x 2

Living room

The HomePods are also hubs for HomeKit, but are also smart speakers with Siri integrated into them. There are sometimes situations where automations either take a long time to trigger (e.g., we walk into a room with a motion sensor, but the lights don’t come on until after a few seconds) or don’t work at all. After some troubleshooting, I have found that this is most likely related to the HomePods gradually “slowing down”, and the problem is usually fixed by restarting them (they are therefore connected through smart plugs to allow restarting remotely and without having to physically pull out the power plug). Besides this, it is very useful being able to just issue Siri commands “into thin air”.

iPhone x 2

Not stationary

In the smart home, the phones are central to setting up new devices, programming automations, and daily control of devices. This generally works very well, but sometimes it can take some time before the status of various components is updated. For setups that require inputting some amounts of text/parameters, an iPad or Mac is more efficient.

iPad x 2

Living room/not stationary

The iPads in practice serve the same purpose as the iPhones, but with two benefits; a larger screen gives better overview and it is more efficient inputting text. In addition, one of our iPads does double duty as digital photo frame and smart home control panel mounted on a sideboard in the living room.

Apple Watch

Not stationary

Also a smart watch has a function in the smart home; it can be used to control devices via Siri, the Home app, or dedicated apps. In practice, we really only use Siri. Beyond this, it is an excellent solution for monitoring activity, workouts, and other health data.

Mac x 3

Office/not stationary After the Home app was introduced to the Mac, it represents another device that can be used to work on setups of components and programming. I occasionally resort to this, but by now, the user interface is a little more cumbersome than on an iPad.
HomePod Mini Conservatory This HomePod Mini strikes a very nice balance between small size and great sound, plus it supports the smart home protocol thread.
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