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Apple's HomeKit not quite ready, may launch later than expected

After a nearly a year since its debut, HomeKit hasn't delivered much beyond the promise of a connected home platform even though products were expected by now.


If you're counting down the minutes when that shiny new Apple Watch works with a range of HomeKit devices, you might want reset your stopwatch. Sources tell Fortune that HomeKit isn't quite ready to bring smarts to your house yet, even though some compatible products were expected to launch by now.

While Apple hasn't officially set an actual launch date for its connected platform, it did debut HomeKit at last year's WorldWide Developer Event. The next such developer conference takes place in a few short weeks and we're sure to get more information on the platform at that time.

Fortune's sources sound legit though: They're the people behind the products that will work with HomeKit. And they're saying that instead of a HomeKit coming out party this month or next, the effort is now looking at an August or September time frame.

Why the delay, whether it's perceived or real? Says Fortune:

Apparently, making it easy to sign in and get your devices (door locks, light blubs, et cetera) online is much harder to do than Apple anticipated. One source says the code base associated with that part of the process "blew up" and required way too much memory for smaller, battery-powered devices, so Apple is trying to shrink the code back down to size.

Having set up a DIY home automation system in 2010 -- I chose to use Insteon as my platform at the time -- I can sympathize.

I've dealt with dozens of devices since then and found inconsistent behavior, flaky set-up processes and a lots of tweaking (and additional re-tweaking) to get things working. From that perspective, it's almost been more effort than its worth.

Last year's HomeKit announcement gave me hope, in light of my mediocre home automation experiences. But that hope has waned, as nearly a year has gone by with little more than the promise of a simpler platform.

We've had various product vendors and chip makers tout their HomeKit support since then. Earlier this week, Broadcom announced its new WICED platform will work with HomeKit, for example.

Until Apple gets all of the pieces working together for HomeKit, however, it isn't a solution to automate your home. It's still a promise: One that will let you use that Apple Watch or iPhone to control or get information from your smarthome, when the time is right.