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Opinion: Rumored iOS 10 HomeKit app is welcomed, but alternatives have a healthy head start
Since HomeKit was introduced with iOS 8, one major missing piece from Apple's home automation effort has been a built-in app that provides a user interface to the underlying framework. Interacting with Siri is the only Apple-supplied HomeKit UI; users rely on third-party apps instead for all visual HomeKit management.
The downside to this approach is that there isn't officially one HomeKit app to rule them all, and companies that make great smart home sensors and accessories don't necessarily make great software. Compare that to Apple's HealthKit framework which connects various App Store apps to a single dashboard in the built-in Health app. The approach isn't perfect, but a similar effort for HomeKit would be welcomed.
The good news is Apple's been developing a built-in HomeKit app for a while now, and a rumor surfaced over the weekend that such an app could finally be ready for iOS 10. As a close HomeKit follower, I'm very curious to see what iOS 10 may have in store for Apple's home automation effort, but my first thought is that there are a few gems among the current crop of HomeKit apps that Apple may not compete with well even from its position as the platform owner…