Apple Says HomeKit-Enabled Devices Will Start Shipping in June

The company denies the accuracy of an online report that claims that the HomeKit products would be delayed until late summer.

Apple HomeKit, IoT, home automation, iPhone

Despite a published report claiming that products using Apple's HomeKit home automation platform will be delayed until later this summer due to software problems, an Apple spokesman insists that HomeKit-enabled products are on schedule for a June release.

"HomeKit has been available for just a few months and we already have dozens of partners who have committed to bringing HomeKit accessories to market and we're looking forward to the first ones coming next month," the spokesman told eWEEK in an emailed reply to an inquiry.

Apple's statement conflicts with a May 14 story by Fortune, which claims that unnamed sources told Fortune that Apple "has been struggling to stabilize certain aspects of the software," including making the sign-in and registration processes for HomeKit devices easier for users. The new timeframe for HomeKit products is being moved to late August or September due to the issues, the story initially reported.

Apple had never previously mentioned an actual launch date for the products, but some partners talked about a spring release earlier this year at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the story continued.

Apple did contact Fortune after the story was initially reported, and the report was later updated to reflect the company's claimed June expectations for HomeKit-enabled products.

The HomeKit platform was announced by Apple in June 2014 at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) as a technology that will be able to help consumers control thermostats, lights, door locks and other systems in their homes using their mobile devices or remote computers, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

HomeKit is expected to work with products from brands such as Philips, Honeywell, Kwikset and Neatamo. HomeKit integrates with Apple's Siri digital personal assistant so that users will be able to give a command, such as, "Get ready for bed," and HomeKit will perform a series of prespecified actions, such as making sure the garage door is down, setting the security system, lowering the thermostat and dimming the lights.

Smart devices within the home are a key part of the burgeoning Internet of things (IoT) space, which Cisco Systems officials said in late 2014 will include more than 50 billion connected devices by the end of 2020. IDC analysts expect the market to generate $7.1 trillion in revenues by the end of the decade. A growing number of tech vendors are looking to get into the space, including Google, which paid $3.2 billion in January 2014 for Nest Labs, which makes connected thermostats and smoke alarms.

A growing number of industry groups, including the AllSeen Alliance, Open Interconnect Consortium and the Thread Group, are developing open frameworks to enable the vast number of connected devices to more easily discover and connect with each other.

In September 2014, Cape Cod-based Savant Systems, which makes connected home and control hardware and software for businesses and luxury homes, announced that it had raised another $90 million to use in the increasingly competitive Internet of things space. Savant's products are closely tied to Apple's technology and its OS X operating system. Savant has developed a broad range of home automation and commercial control apps for iOS-based devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, enabling users to control systems within their home from a single device. In addition, its Host Controller is essentially an Apple Mac mini, according to the company's Website.