Apple confirms Apple TV’s role as a hub for remote HomeKit functionality

Apple TV (HomeKit mockup)

We’ve known since CES 2015 the Apple TV would play a central role in Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, dating back to October 2014 when HomeKit support first surfaced in an Apple TV Software beta.

Wednesday, a newly published Apple support document has acknowledged that the streaming box acts as a bridge between HomeKit devices and your mobile life.

“If you have an Apple TV (3rd generation or later) with software version 7.0 or later, you can control your HomeKit-enabled accessories when you’re away from home using your iOS device,” reads the document.

In order to use Siri commands to remotely control your HomeKit-certified accessories, you’ll need to sign in with the same Apple ID on your iOS device and Apple TV.

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Upon signing into iCloud, your Apple TV will register as a HomeKit-capable hub. Your home and accessory data will be stored securely using CloudKit and paired keys will be encrypted and synchronized through Keychain.

If you don’t own an Apple TV, dedicated HomeKit-enabled hubs are available for purchase, including SmartLinc’s $150 Insteon Hub that launched yesterday.

In order to use HomeKit, you’ll need to use an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later and purchase one of HomeKit-certified appliances.

As I mentioned yesterday, the fine print for Elgato’s new Eve lineup of HomeKit accessories explicitly mentions that controlling HomeKit-enabled accessories away from home “requires a third-generation Apple TV with Apple TV software 7.0 or later and an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later.”

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The first wave of HomeKit products started dropping yesterday with iHome, SmartLinc, Elgato and Ecobee, to mention just a few.

Apple has a running list of ‘Works with Apple HomeKit’ accessories here.

Source: Apple