Apple, Amazon, and Google have been battling for who is number 1 in the smart home space for years, and unfortunately it does not look like we are going to have a clear-cut winner for a while. However, the winner in my home is Apple and their HomeKit integration.
I’ll get into telling you how all of my HomeKit enabled products work together as one ecosystem, but let me tell you what products I have first.
I started purchasing products for my smart home in 2016 when Apple announced their Home app at WWDC because that’s all it took for me to be sold. Apple describes the Home app the best by stating:
With the Home app, you can easily and securely control your HomeKit accessories from all your Apple devices. Turn off the lights, see who’s at the front door, adjust your living room temperature, turn up the music, and so much more. And with the new HomeKit Secure Video capability and HomeKit‑enabled routers, it’s all even more secure. The Home app makes all your connected devices work harder — and smarter — for you.Apple describing the Home app on the iOS Home webpage
Philips Hue was the start of my obsession, with their Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. The kit has been refreshed a few times since I first purchased it 4 years ago, but it’s still where I recommend everyone start, and it will probably be where most of your money goes when creating your smart home. For those unfamiliar, the Philips Hue line is a collection of smart light bulbs, light strips, and light fixtures. the Starter Kit comes with 4 smart bulbs and the required hue bridge. To expand my smart home lighting, I’ve added more than a dozen smart bulbs to the starter kit, as well as adding the Hue Bloom, Hue Iris, two Hue Play light bars, and a Hue Play HDMI Sync.
My next addition to the smart home collection was SONOS. They are a whole home audio system that uses your WiFi network rather than speaker wire so it’s an easy system to install. I originally purchased a SONOS One for each room of my house for a seamless audio experience, but once I heard the quality of the sound, I invested in the SONOS Beam, SONOS Arc, and the SONOS Sub to complete the experience. The benefit of the SONOS system is similar to the benefit of any Apple product, meaning that the speakers that I own today are not the speakers that I first purchased because of the software upgrades they have received. Today’s SONOS lineup is AirPlay 2 compatible, HomeKit compatible, and SiriKit compatible. This is a huge win in ease of use for the system because it can now be controlled right from the native music app on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, as well as voice-controlled by Siri on any Siri capable device.
Also, over the past few years we’ve started to see the addition of smart tvs integrating HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support into their software. This was a huge win for Apple because it meant consumers no longer had to purchase an TV in order to AirPlay content from their favorite Apple product to the big screen, so it put that feature into even more homes. My choice for my future-proof tv was the LG OLED. It has continually been awarded best display by Consumer Reports, and it’c clear to see why. Being an OLED panel, each pixel is individually lit and controlled versus a traditional backlit or edge lit display, so it gives you blacker blacks, and more vibrant colors, as well as HDR10 and Dolby Vision certification, nothing comes close in experience.
All of the above products work together seamlessly for a truly immersive entertainment experience. As an example, one of my favorite scenes within the Home app is a custom scene for “Movie time”. Whenever I trigger this scene, whether it be with the app itself, Siri, or a HomePod command (or with the better home integration on tvOS 14, it can be done right on the TV itself), the Philips Hue lights in the house dim to a barely-lit red, turns on the LG OLED, and switches it’s source to the TV.
This is just a small part of my HomeKit obsessions, with many more products to come.