Exploring Apple's New Home App

The beta version of Apple’s Home app may be the ultimate smart home control hub that HomeKit users have long anticipated. Many of the previous issues with HomeKit are being resolved  with this app as it offers a simple and user-friendly interface for controlling any smart home device. The app starts off with some introductory pages to help users understand how to actually use the app to control their devices. If a user doesn’t have any devices installed yet, there are options for adding devices as well as setting up scenes and automations.

The home tab of the app is the central hub for controlling the user’s favorite accessories and scenes. The Home app does a good job of letting users rearrange items and customize them for their needs. There is also a lot more control given over certain devices, such as being able to change the brightness and color of smart lights. In addition, the rooms tab provides the ability to see the devices and scenes for individual rooms. These are just some of the powerful features of the app. Its overall simplicity and ability for customization allows for easy setup and installation of any HomeKit device, offering more control over smart devices. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet is one of the many HomeKit devices that can be setup and controlled with ease from this app.

The automation tab can be utilized if the user has a fourth generation Apple TV or current iPad. These additional Apple devices allow for homeowners to access powerful controls such as geofencing, schedules, and triggers. This essentially gives HomeKit users much more control and functionality for their favorite smart home devices. The app is not perfect at the moment, most likely because it is still in its beta version, but we can expect the HomeKit experience to be substantially improved with the Home app.

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/news/exploring-apples-home-for-homekit/

The Home App for Apple HomeKit (Part 2)

Apple recently unveiled the Beta 1 version of its newest operating system, iOS 10, at WWDC 2016. In order to discover more about this exciting release, Adam Justice of ConnectSense upgraded all of his devices to iOS 10, Beta 1.  There are innovative new features that can not only be accessed on the iPhone, but on the Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and even using CarPlay.

Once iOS 10 is up and running on the iPhone, there is a pretty useful function that can be accessed on the home screen. The user has the ability to 3D touch the icon for the Home app and run a scene from there, without having to open the app itself. There is also an option to add a new scene from this menu, and once this option is selected, the app will launch and the user will automatically be directed to the scene creation screen.

The Apple Watch also unlocks some very powerful functions with watchOS 3, Beta 1. The Home app can be accessed by clicking on the dock button on the Apple Watch. Once the Home app is launched, there is a simple list of the accessories. The user has the ability to scroll through all of their HomeKit accessories using the digital crown. For any outlets or simple devices, there is an on/off button that can be used to control each device. For anything that is dimmable, the digital crown can be used to set the level of brightness. At the top of the menu, there is a list of all of the user’s scenes that can be controlled with the touch of a button. If the user has multiple home’s set up, they can use force touch to change to an alternative location.

Another device in Apple’s arsenal is the iPad Pro, which can be used in order to further explore the new features of iOS 10, Beta 1. The first important thing to examine can actually be found in the iPad’s settings. Once in settings, head down to the settings for the Home app. There will be an option titled, “Use this iPad as a Home Hub.” If the user has an iPad that is always at home, they can check this setting and use that iPad as a home hub to access any of their HomeKit devices while away from home. This is a really powerful setting if there is an iPad that can always be left at home.

The Home app on the iPad is fairly similar to the one we see on the iPhone, except there is a lot more screen real-estate so the user can easily see their favorite scenes and devices. In the top left corner of the screen, there is a summary of all of the devices that are on within the user’s home environment. The next thing to explore is the “Rooms” tab, which can be accessed with the middle button on the bottom of the screen. Instead of going through the rooms menu at the top, the user can quickly switch between their rooms by swiping the screen to the left or right.

The last section of the Home app is the “Automation” tab, which is the bottom right button. In the first ConnectSense walkthrough, we didn’t have access to the automation section, but there are ways three ways to access the functions of this tab. The first way to do this is by enabling an iPad to act as a home hub, which was discussed above. The next way to do this is to have an Apple TV running tvOS 10, Beta 1. However, the simplest way is by downloading another HomeKit app, such as the ConnectSense app, that has support for things like triggers, automations, or rules, and then adding a new automation within that new app. This will enable the user to be able to see the automation tab in the Home app. Once this is complete, the user has some really powerful options. New automations can be set up by clicking the “create new automation” button in the middle of the screen.

There are four options for automation that are based off of when the user’s location changes (geofencing), the time of day, when an accessory is controlled, or when a sensor detects something. These are all great tools to get started on home automation. Setting up automation based on time of day is very useful. One of the really awesome new features in this section that was not available in iOS 9 is the ability to trigger something based off of the sunrise and sunset. So if the user has outside lights or any other devices that need to be controlled based off of the sun, this is a great option because the time of the sunrise and sunset will change based off of what time of year it is. The user can also select a specific time of day and set it to repeat on various days of the week. The accessory based options also give the user quite a bit of control. This is a really great way to set up automations so that doing one device will trigger other devices. An example would be if the someone turned on a light in the morning, it could then trigger a “good morning” scene that would turn on other devices in the home. Another great thing is that these automations sync across devices. This is a big upgrade because any rules or automations set up on an iOS 9 device were unable to be transferred to another device.

The last major function of the Home app on the iPad can be found on the “Home” tab. The user can further examine a device by holding down on its icon. A menu will then pop up with information on the device. Within the device details, there is actually a link to the manufacturers app. So if the user is using a ConnectSense Smart Outlet, they can access the ConnectSense app from this menu. Even though the Home app is very powerful, there will typically be certain manufacturer features, firmware updates, and things like that, which can only be accessed through the manufacturer’s app.

The Apple TV can help expand the functionality of HomeKit with the use of tvOS 10, Beta. With the use of this Beta, we can now utilize Siri commands with the Apple TV remote. The user has the ability to say something along the lines of “set my thermostat to 72 degrees,” or “set my home for ‘I’m leaving.’” This will help give home owners much more control over their network of HomeKit devices.

One of the coolest new features for iOS 10 is the fact that HomeKit works with CarPlay, which it did not for iOS 9. The user has the ability to use Siri voice commands within their car in order to control their various HomeKit devices in their home. An example would be if someone was about to leave their home and was in their car, they could say “set my home for ‘I’m leaving,’” which would trigger a scene for the home from the car. This gives the user much more control over their home environment.

(Part 2 of 2) Adam Justice is back from WWDC and has upgraded all of his Apple Devices to iOS 10, Beta 1. In this episode, Adam Justice of ConnectSense continues from his first video of the Home app (https://youtu.be/A-m1afEEoHo?list=PLsluzrxrM99peR-ucD7lrzrF_mgQfgjqe) to show you more of its new features not only on the iPhone, but on the Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and even using CarPlay.

iOS 10 Features: 22 Influencers on the Most Captivating Features

Apple recently unveiled the innovate iOS 10 during this year’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). This article discusses the buzz around Apple’s newest operating system. Despite the fact that iOS 10 is in beta, it is clear that there are plenty of exciting features built in. A variety of the mobile app industries thought-leaders and experts were interviewed about what there is to look forward to within this new operating system.

ConnectSense’s Adam Justice, recognized as an influencer in the industry, commented on the power that iOS 10 gives its users. Primarily focusing on the new features of Apple HomeKit and the new Home app, Justice was enthusiastic about the ease of control these upgrades will provide. Justice states, “the Home app makes it easier to control and manage connected devices all at once using scenes.” The fact that the Apple TV and iPad will act as gateways will make it possible to access devices from any location. The overall functionality of HomeKit will be greatly improved.

Read more: http://blog.uninstall.io/interesting-ios-10-features

What You Missed About Apple HomeKit During WWDC 2016

Apple HomeKit is continuing to become a more powerful smart home automation tool. Apple announced today at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that they have developed a “Home” app for Apple HomeKit-enabled smart home products. The Home app will be used to aggregate home automation devices, such as the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, getting them to work together in an easy and secure fashion. The HomeKit update that comes with iOS10 will include more categories of smart devices to help user’s organize their devices more efficiently. The Home app is perfectly integrated into iOS10, making it accessible from the home screen and the control panel. The Apple Home app is supported on the iPad and Apple Watch as well.

The app itself is a central point of organization for a connected home that allows the user to create a personalized screen. The various smart devices the user owns can be separated into scenes. For example, a “goodnight” scene would turn off all of the lights upstairs and set the thermostat to 70 degrees. These scenes and any accessories can be controlled with the touch of a button within the app itself or by using the control panel. The scenes also interact with Siri voice controls, making it extremely simple to control devices. The app also has geo-fences that allow scenes or devices to be activated based off of location. An example of this would be the garage door opening when the user pulls into the driveway.

The Home app also creates very sleek and detailed notifications that can appear on the lock screen. An example of a notification would be if someone was at the user’s home. A notification would alert the user if someone is at the door. Then they can use 3D touch to access a live feed of the person standing at the door and display it on the lock screen.

This app will also give the user secure, remote-access through their AppleTV. The AppleTV is always on and connected to the network in a user’s home. This makes it a secure point for remote access and automation when away from home. The communication between the app and HomeKit devices can contain very sensitive information, which is why Apple uses end-to-end encryption to protect the privacy of all users.

ConnectSense was featured on the Apple HomeKit slide, demonstrated that ConnectSense is a key partner, creating great devices for HomeKit. The Siri voice control options with the Smart Outlet will allow for easy integration with the Home app. This new app will allow the Smart Outlet and other devices to be controlled in one place, allowing for much greater control over a home environment.