This Apple patent could lead to a much smarter smart home

apple homekit bug siri idevices switch
You could soon have a much smarter smart home, if you’re an Apple user.

Apple’s HomeKit was a great first step into the smart home market for the company, but if these new patents are anything to go by, Apple is set to play a much bigger part in the smart home landscape.

The patent is for “aggregating user routines in an automated environment,” and details a way for the smart home to be controlled based on user habits, especially in a family setting, largely detected through the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Through the system, iPhones and Apple Watches will find patterns in user behavior and then trigger smart home devices according to that behavior. So, if it knows that when you get home from work you normally switch on the lights, TV, and heater, it could have these things ready to go for when you get home.

Like other systems on the market, the patent describes a local device called the “coordinator” — in other words, a smart home hub.


Of course, to get to a point where it can accurately predict your intent, the coordinator will first have to gather data on your routines. For this the system will use location data such as GPS, but it will also collect data about the state of different smart home devices throughout the day. Not only that, but sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscopes, and other motion sensors could be used to determine how a user moves and when — things like when a user is sleeping or when they’re moving around the house. The coordinator will also use data from multiple users — for example if a family rather than one person is living inside the home.

Using data from multiple users, the system can then compare and contrast different user preferences and routines, making decisions by monitoring users in real time.

This won’t be Apple’s first venture into the smart home, but it will shift the focus away from the iPhone, which currently acts as the control hub through HomeKit. While this new system does seem to be drastically different from anything offered in HomeKit, however, we should still expect to see HomeKit at the center of Apple’s smart home vision for at least the next year or so — Apple is even rumored to be working on a standalone “Home” app.

Smart Home

IKEA’s new blinds for the smart home arrive April 1 in the U.S.

The Swedish furniture giant IKEA is adding a new product called FYRTUR, which turns out to be a new set of blackout blinds for the smart home that can be controlled by remote or programmed through the company's app.
Smart Home

The best smart locks turn your phone into a key

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

Need a robot vacuum? Amazon is slashing prices on iRobot Roomba alternatives

A robot vacuum is a great smart home device that helps keep your home tidy and avoid some housework. Amazon is discounting the Eufy Robovac 11S and Eufy Robovac 11+. A self-cleaning home is the future and now you can be a part of it. 
Smart Home

This Silicon Valley studio rents for $1,500 per month — to 2 cats

A man in San Jose, California, rents a studio apartment for $1,500 per month for a very important reason: So his daughter's two cats have a place to call their own. It may be the swankiest cat pad on the West Coast.

Amazon drops prices on Roomba robot vacuums by up to $150

Amazon is offering discounts on iRobot Roombas and other robot vacuums to help you get a leg-up on those chores. We've rounded up the best deals available now and put them all in one place.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Smart Home

Speed up cooking with one of the best pressure cookers on the market

Not all pressure cookers are created equally. You have to choose between stovetop cookers, multicookers, canners, and even microwave cookers. Our pressure cooking buyer's guide includes our picks for the best in each category.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Smart Home

This just in: Alexa can now deliver the news like a professional newscaster

The Amazon Alexa team has given Alexa a newscaster voice that improves the way she delivers the news and reads Wikipedia articles, making the smart assistant easier to understand.
Product Review

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the simplest entry into a smarter doorway

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 may lack the style and sophistication of premium door-dingers, but few can match its simplicity and versatility. The device, available in both wired and wireless configurations, is easy to set up and adds instant…
Smart Home

Ring security camera catches man licking the doorbell for hours

A family in Salinas, California had their Ring camera capture something pretty unexpected: a man licking the doorbell outside of their home for more than three hours. The incident took place around 5:00 a.m.
Smart Home

GHSP makes a (back)splash with its touchscreen concept kitchen

One of the coolest concept kitchens from CES 2019 came from GHSP. It created a backsplash entirely made of touchscreens. That means the control panel for your kitchen is accessible no matter where you are.
Product Review

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary review

Tired of carrying around keys? Make keyless entry so easy that all you have to do is have your phone nearby to open the door. It’s a little pricey, but sleek lines and simple features make the Kwikset Kevo Contemporary a great choice for…