Hidden in HomeKit documentation published today is the intriguing confirmation that Apple TV will serve as the digital hub for Apple’s new home-automation setup.
It’s a reminder of just how seriously Apple now treats the set-top box that it dismissed as a “hobby” a few years ago.
The latest hint at Apple TV’s increasing prominence is buried in the details about how users can start using HomeKit-compatible third-party devices from the moment they arrive.
“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,” Apple’s HomeKit documentation reads. “Sign in with the same Apple ID on your iOS device and Apple TV, and you’ll be able to use Siri commands to remotely control your accessories.”
The idea that your Apple TV will become the digital hub for your automated home is further evidence that, after years of neglect, Apple is finally ready to pull the trigger on making its TV offering the revolutionary product Steve Jobs dreamed it would be.
Apple’s “digital hub” strategy, for those unfamiliar with it, was originally coined by Jobs to describe the Mac. Here’s what Walter Isaacson wrote about the concept in his 2011 biography of the late Apple CEO.
“The personal computer, instead of edging toward the sidelines, [became] a ‘digital hub’ that coordinated a variety of devices, from music players to video recorders to cameras … The Macintosh [was] reinvigorated by becoming the hub for an astounding array of new gadgets, including the iPod and iPhone and iPad.”
As we’ve moved toward the cloud, having the Mac as the physical hub has become less and less necessary. But the idea of a central piece of technology (the Apple TV) that controls a number of other smart gadgets — while also solidifying its place in the Apple ecosystem — is as valid as ever.
Turning Apple TV into the hub at the center of your smart home is just one more benefit.
Now Apple just needs to hurry up and announce it!