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Apple HomeKit vs Samsung Smart Home

Apple HomeKit and Samsung Smart Home are two competing platforms that aim to put control of your smart home devices in your hand – or rather on your iOS and Galaxy phones. 

Neither platform has launched yet, but both of the tech giants are keen on letting you know that they want you to be able to open doors, dim the lights and check the temperature with your phone, tablet or smart watch. Provided your gadget of choice is made by Apple or Samsung… 

Here’s what we know about HomeKit and Smart Home so far and how they compare. 

Keys to your smart home: Will you pick Apple or Samsung in the latest consumer tech war?
Keys to your smart home: Will you pick Apple or Samsung in the latest consumer tech war?

What is Apple HomeKit?

Apple HomeKit, announced at WWDC 2014, aims to put your iPhone at the centre of your connected home, allowing you to issue commands to your smart heaters and bulbs with text commands or with your voice, using Siri. 

Security-conscious folk will also be able to use the fingerprint sensor of your iPhone 5S to confirm commands. 

The main benefit of Apple HomeKit is that it should present to you a single portal for your smart home devices. Rather than having to hop in and out of specific apps for your heaters, air conditioners, lights, doors and other Internet of Things things, you’ll be able to control multiple things at once with single actions. 

HomeKit will also allow you to chain smart home processes together in what Apple is calling  ‘scenes’. If you tell your digital door locks to open, HomeKit will also make sure your lights come at the same time. 

On the surface, this sounds identical to IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes that will cause things like your Philips Hue lights to turn on when your phone tells it you’re on your way home. 

Apple HomeKit will work with iOS devices running iOS 8 and above. Fingerprint scanning will only be available on devices that feature Touch ID like the iPhone 5S but every other phone and tablet should be able to make use of voice commands. 

Should Apple decide to enter the smart watch market and vindicate all those iWatch rumour-mongers, it’s possible that you’ll be able to issue HomeKit commands from your wrist too. 

What is Samsung Smart Home?

Smart Home is Samsung’s forthcoming smart home ecosystem. Like Apple HomeKit, Smart Home promises to put control of your home systems at your fingertips. 

Details on the just-announced Smart Home are thin at the moment but Samsung has revealed that Smart Home will be available on its Galaxy range of Android phones as well as its Gear smart watches. 

You’ll also be able to issue commands with S Voice, Samsung’s voice assistant as well. It’s not yet known if you’ll also be able to use Google Now (a standard feature of most Android devices) as well, of if you’ll be tied down to S Voice. 

In terms of compatibility, it’s not known if current generations of Galaxy and Gear hardware like the Galaxy S5 and the Gear S will work with Smart Home or if it’ll be baked into future versions. 

Apple HomeKit vs Samsung Smart Home: What smart home devices can I control?

Apple hasn’t announced the names of any specific products or services that will work with HomeKit, but at WWDC 2014, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi unveiled a list of HomeKit partners. 

Hardware makers who have signed up for Team HomeKit include: iDevices, iHome, Osram Sylvania, Texas Instruments, Cree, Chamberlain, Marvell, Skybell, August, Honeywell, Haier, Schlage, Philips, Kwikset, Broadcom, Netatmo and Withings.  

Honeywell’s Evohome smart heating system would be a shoe-in for HomeKit, but we’ve heard nothing official from Apple or Honeywell on this front. 

Apple set its home automation stall out early at WWDC 2014
Apple set its home automation stall out early at WWDC 2014

Samsung has yet to announce any big name technology partners for Smart Home. 

The Korean giant has said that Smart Home will support a range of systems, including smart door locks, lights, robot vacuum cleaners, heaters and air con systems

We’d expect that all of the big players in these markets – including August, Philips, Roomba, Nest – would want to get on board with Samsung Smart Home, but nothing official has been announced yet. 

Apple HomeKit vs Samsung Smart Home: Release dates

HomeKit is a feature of iOS 8. Once the next version of Apple’s mobile OS is released, HomeKit will technically be available then.

Apple is expected to unveil the next iPhone – which will come with iOS 8 out of the box – on September 9. Traditionally, updates for older devices start rolling out a couple of weeks after the latest iPhone is announced.  

It’s not been confirmed when the first HomeKit-compatible devices will go on sale or when the first updates for existing hardware will start rolling out. 

Samsung has only just announced Smart Home. No release date has been mentioned yet. 

Apple HomeKit vs Samsung Smart Home: How much will it cost?

HomeKit and Smart Home won’t cost you anything themselves. Compatible services like Tado and Monolyth cost from £249 and £92 respectively.  

Once more products and services are confirmed for HomeKit and Smart Home, we’ll add prices here to give you an idea of the costs involved. 

Apple HomeKit vs Samsung Smart Home: Verdict 

Until HomeKit and Smart Home launch and compatible products become available, it’s impossible for us to compare the two platforms and give a verdict. 

For what its worth, at the time of writing Apple HomeKit seems to be the more developed of the two platforms. It was announced with great fanfare at WWDC with 17 manufacturers publicly declaring support for the new standard. 

Since then, Tado and Monolyth have both announced that their smart home products will work with HomeKit. 

Then again it’s very early days for Samsung Smart Home. After IFA 2014 and Samsung’s Developer Conference in November, we should have a clearer picture of how Smart Home. 


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