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Apple Launches Smart-Home Project at WWDC

Rafe Needleman
·Editorial Director, Yahoo Tech
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SAN FRANCISCO — Open the front door of your home; Apple would like to move in. The company announced Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference that it’s launched the HomeKit program to work with smart-home products. 

Apple did not announce its own locks or motion sensors at WWDC. Rather, the company is announcing its support for smart-home products from other vendors.

On stage at WWDC, Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said you will be able to set up “scenes” to control home devices, and that security will be high enough to ensure that “only your device can unlock your house.”

While there are already several smart-home gadgets that work with Apple products, the HomeKit project is designed to make development of new devices and tools easier for developers and manufacturers, and to make the smart-home experience more cohesive and integrated.

More will certainly be coming soon, but examples of existing smart-home products that could fit into this initiative include these:

• Security cameras like the well-established Dropcam (column) and up-and-comers like Piper (review).

• Home automation hubs like SmartThings (review) and Revolv (review).

• Home alarm and safety systems, such as those sold by Simplisafe and the new Canary.

• Connected lights like Philips’ Hue (video).

• Smart door locks from both established companies like Kwikset (the Kevo), and startups like Lockitron.

• Connected appliances. All the major manufacturers (GE, Whirlpool, Samsung, and so on) are building smart home appliances like refrigerators.

• Thermostats. But probably not the Nest. Although it’s beautiful and designed by a former Apple executive, Nest was just acquired by Google, which is also trying to stake a claim in the smart-home market.

Read more of our Apple and WWDC coverage.

Rafe Needleman can be reached at rafeneedleman@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @rafe​.