Apple’s HomeKit smart home framework is expected to receive three major new features in iOS 14 and tvOS 14, 9to5Mac has learned. Big improvements to HomeKit lighting, cameras, and Apple TV audio are in development for release later this fall.
Night Shift for lights
Smart lighting is one of the initial categories in Apple’s smart home framework. HomeKit has long had the ability to control light brightness, color and light temperature, and scheduling through automations and scenes.
New in iOS 14 for HomeKit will be the ability to automatically adjust light color temperature throughout the day.
Cooler light temperatures are preferred during daytime hours to match lighting from outdoor sunlight, but warmer color temperatures are preferred during nighttime hours.
HomeKit currently lets you adjust color temperature manually or schedule color temperature shifts based on triggers like time of day or sunset and sunrise, and iOS 14 will take that even further.
Apple is developing a feature that we can only describe as Night Shift for HomeKit lights: the update is expected to include the ability to gradually change lighting temperature throughout the day so changes are more gradual and natural and not jarring.
Some smart lights including LIFX bulbs already support this feature, but they currently require manufacture apps to work and control isn’t exposed in HomeKit.
Wishful thinking: perhaps Apple could be boosting HomeKit light features as a push for selling its own smart light bulbs.
iOS 13 introduced support for HomeKit Secure Video, building on existing smart camera support with built-in security features like object recognition for motion from people, animals, and vehicles.
Apple is expanding HomeKit camera features in iOS 14 with a new face classification feature that will include a people identification feature. HomeKit Secure Video will likely be upgraded to not only detect people in general, but also offer notifications around detecting specific people in your family.
HomePod Apple TV speakers
Finally, 9to5Mac expects tvOS 14 to include a new permanent audio output option for Apple TV streaming boxes. For example, a user could permanently select HomePod stereo pairs as the default audio output without manually choosing the AirPlay 2 target each time.
This feature would go great with a smaller and cheaper version of the HomePod, and existing HomePod Apple TV users will benefit from the more permanent configuration. HomePod support has gradually improved with Apple TV, but it’s still possible for the Apple TV to lose its connection to HomePod when the smart speaker is used for other tasks.