Apple welcomes new batch of HomeKit-compatible devices

By

Apple HomeKit
HomeKit is getting closer to helping you live in the future.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s list of HomeKit-compatible devices is finally starting to look impressive.

The company’s smarthome framework has been off to a bit of a slow start since Apple first unveiled it at its Worldwide Developers Conference last year, but this fall might be when it actually hits its stride. The list of available compatible devices is growing, according to an update on Apple’s website.

We haven’t seen any changes to the list of accessories that work with HomeKit since June 3, and today’s additions may not be monumental, but they have a ton of potential.

ConnectSense Smart Outlet

ConnectSense Smart Outlet
The ConnectSense Smart Outlet looks really cool.
Photo: ConnectSense

HomeKit already has some smartplugs around, and we haven’t been super impressed with the early offerings. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet, which sells for $79.95, hopes to add some practicality to the parlor trick of turning your lamps on and off from your iPhone or Apple Watch.

It does that, sure, but ConnectSense says it will also monitor electrical usage for the appliances you plug into it. The Smart Outlet also has a USB charging port so that you can use both built-in plugs and charge your iPhone or iPad at the same time. And that’s a pretty cool addition.

iDevices Switch Connected Plug

iDevices SmartPlug
This plug is more basic, but it has some nice features.
Photo: iDevices

The iDevices Switch is a more basic smartplug, closer to the iHome Control than the fancier ConnectSense. Although that’s not to say it doesn’t have a few cool tricks.

It does the basic HomeKit things: You can use pre-set “scenes” for different occasions and break your home up into zones and control them independently. But the Switch has a side-plug, which doesn’t affect how it works at all but looks cool, and that purple bar on the front works as a customizable night light. This one is available for preorder for $59, so it’s slightly more expensive than the iHome plug but more affordable than the full-featured ConnectSense.

But enough about plugs.

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

Schlage-Sense-Smart-Deadbolt HomeKit
This might be where it gets exciting.
Photo: Schlage

Smart locks are a slightly more exciting area than plugs because they have more room for innovation and impressive features. And the Schlage Sense looks like it’s going to live up to that promise. And it had better for $229.

The idea behind smartlocks is to let you easily control who can and can’t enter your home without having to make keys for everybody. The Schlage can hold up to 30 codes that you can hand out to whomever, and it has a built-in alarm system. And because it’s so visible and has to fit in more than, say, a plug, it comes in two different trims and colors so you can customize your future-tech with your existing decor.

All of these devices work via Bluetooth and your existing Wi-Fi network, but they all specify that in order to use them away from home, you’ll need at least a 3rd-generation Apple TV. So you won’t have to cough up the bucks for the brand-new version, at least. But this may explain why Apple has been quiet about HomeKit for so long: It needed the bos to serve as a hub.

Maybe now that the new Apple TVs are upon us, we’ll start to hear more about home automation. And hopefully not just plugs.