The best Apple-approved HomeKit smart home accessories you can buy right nowApple's HomeKit framework provides developers with a platform to build hardware and software solutions that make controlling your home easy and secure - and these must-have HomeKit-enabled accessories do just that.
It's no secret that home automation is big business. Gone are the days when homeowners can only manage a security system - now it's easy to control lighting, appliances, window coverings and more with the touch of a button or the sound of your voice thanks to Apple's HomeKit protocol.
Similar to how the universal remote changed the way users manage home theater functions, Apple's HomeKit framework aims at saving consumers time and money by pairing Siri with third-party accessories, all of which communicate through an encrypted Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. In order to use HomeKit, users must have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with iOS 8.1 or later.
Need to control accessories away from home? You'll also need an Apple TV (3rd generation or later) along with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch equipped with iOS 8.1 and later to manage HomeKit accessories remotely.
From a security and privacy perspective, Apple keeps the framework under wraps by only allowing Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad (MFi) hardware developers access. On the software side, authorized app developers can use HomeKit APIs to build applications that communicate with HomeKit hardware.
Unfortunately, licensing fees and a secure chip requirement have delayed several HomeKit-enabled products from reaching the market since the framework's release in 2015. However, 2016 is looking to be a brighter year for HomeKit products, and these top accessories are available for purchase right now.
Insteon Hub Pro Advanced Central Controller
As HomeKit gains a wider following, more and more aggregate applications will hit the market that allow you to manage multiple devices throughout your home. The HomeKit-enabled Insteon system does just that and is available now. The platform offers the ability to build scenes, control appliances, manage light schedules and more. There's also a multiple house feature in case you care for an elderly parent or own additional homes.
The Insteon Hub Pro Advanced Central Controller is currently out of stock at Amazon.com but can be purchased for $149.99 at Smarthome.
Want more control over your energy bill? By plugging electronics into the iDevices Switch and installing the Connected app, you'll be able to monitor consumption, schedule "on" times and generate reports. The iDevices Switch works with lamps, TVs, coffee pots, stereo systems and more. And since it's compatible with HomeKit, simple tasks can be accomplished through Siri.
The iDevices Switch is currently available for $45.95 at Amazon.com.
First Alert Onelink Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
When lives are on the line, knowing when there is a fire or carbon monoxide situation is of the utmost importance. The HomeKit-enabled First Alert Onelink Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm provides 24/7 monitoring with the ability to test alarms and silence false ones on compatible iOS devices. The voice feature alerts you to where the danger is and multiple alarms are triggered when one goes off.
Two HomeKit versions exist, one hardwired and another with a sealed 10-year battery. The First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery is currently available for $109.98 at Amazon.com.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit
Can't decide on a room color? Why not change it daily with the Philips White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit? Featuring 16 million colors and tunable white light, the system's bridge connects to Wi-Fi and can control up to 50 bulbs. Fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, the lights can even be programmed to sync with your favorite music, making it a handy decorating tool around the holidays.
The Philips Hue Smart Lighting Control White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (456194) is currently available for $199.99 at NewEgg.com and BestBuy.com.
Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt
Searching for a pesky house key is never fun with one arm full of groceries and rambunctious kiddos to watch. The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt makes the list of must-have accessories due to its illuminated touchscreen, built-in alarm, and Siri voice control capabilities. Using Bluetooth, the HomeKit-enabled deadbolt allows users to communicate with the lock to create unique codes for various occupants, view activity, and check to see whether a door is locked or unlocked.
The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with Century Trim in Satin Nickel is currently available for $204.00 at Amazon.com.