While many, including me, are expecting new Apple TV hardware to debut at next week's WorldWide Developer Conference, it won't just be for entertainment. Apple TV is part of Apple's HomeKit platform for your connected home.
That's based on the official support document for how to set up and use HomeKit-enabled accessories with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, which was just updated on Tuesday. 9to5 Mac spotted the changes which now include this relevant information:
If you have an Apple TV (3rd generation or later) with software version 7.0 or later, you can control your HomeKit-enabled accessories when you're away from home using your iOS device.
Sign in with the same Apple ID on your iOS device and Apple TV, and you'll be able to use Siri commands to remotely control your accessories.
Perhaps the best part of the statement is that even if there's a new Apple TV model debuting next week, those with older hardware won't need to purchase it for HomeKit support. The 3rd generation Apple TV launched in March, 2012 and will work with HomeKit devices.
Why have a hub such as Apple TV in the smarthome?
As Apple notes, this would allow for remote access to your HomeKit-compatibile switches, appliances, lights and thermostats; the first of which just launched on Tuesday.
Having a hub could also make it easier for HomeKit devices to work together. When a door sensor triggers, indicating that you've come home at night for example, the hub could see this information and turn on your lights.
Based on my own smarthome experiences -- I installed an Insteon system back in 2010 -- this is the type of scenario where a connected home really adds value; the home intelligently starts to take action based on events.
Apple's support document doesn't state that this is how the Apple TV will fit in to a HomeKit environment and it may not even do so at next week's developer event. I think there's a good chance it will, however; if not next week, then in the future as more capabilities are added to HomeKit.