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Apple debuts 'Home' app for HomeKit device control

Apple introduced a dedicated "Home" iOS app at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, finally introducing a manual control interface for HomeKit accessories to iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Announced by Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, Home collects control functions for devices like lights, door locks and other connected devices into a standalone app interface. Previously, users were forced to access HomeKit-enabled hardware via Siri commands.

Like other automated home apps, Home can trigger devices individually or as group macros called Scenes. Available in the app's main view, a Scene like "I'm home" might open the garage door, unlock the front door and turn on house lights, for example. Another "Featured Scene" titled "Good night" might be customized to lock all house doors, lower window shades and dim or turn off lights.

Aside from macro Scene control, users have easy access to individual devices from the "Favorite Accessories" menu. Users can access devices by room or create and choose from automation schedules. Included in Home's automated services offering is rough proximity awareness via Apple TV, which detects when a user connects to a shared network.

The streaming device pulls double duty as a secure smart home hub, interfacing with and feeding commands to HomeKit devices.

Home sports Lock Screen integration for viewing alerts and device status without having to unlock an iPhone and open the app. Users with appropriate hardware, such as a front door camera doorbell, can interact directly with hardware through the Lock Screen.

Along with iPhone and iPad, owners of Apple Watch also have access to Home via watchOS 3.