All of the smart home updates Apple announced at WWDC 2018

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HomeKit, Apple's smart home platform, made a very brief showing at WWDC 2018. Even so, the updates could make your Siri-powered smart home devices easier to control. Here are the things that caught our attention.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts is a new app coming with iOS 12 that lets you create custom phrases to trigger a specific action using Siri. Tell Siri you lost your keys and Shortcuts should automatically communicate with your Tile locator to help you find your missing stuff. This is supposed to work on iOS devices, Apple Watch via Watch OS 5 and the HomePod smart speaker (something we look forward to testing out).

The WWDC demo also included smart home Shortcuts like "Turn on fan" or "Set thermostat to 70 degrees" -- both HomeKit automations from the Home app.

WWDC 2018

I'm not yet clear how this differs from the existing Siri voice integrations with smart home devices, except that you use the Shortcuts app to create the custom phrases (rather than the existing Home app).

You can already ask Siri to adjust your thermostat, turn on your lights, lock your front door, and so on. Even so, having everything centralized into the Shortcuts app could make it easier to manage you want to control via voice commands (not just smart home stuff).

Home app

Mojave is the next macOS. With the update, Apple's adding support for the Home app on Macs. The Home app is Apple's iOS-only smart home app -- the place where you add, monitor and control you HomeKit-enabled smart home devices.

HomeKit access was previously limited to the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod Touch. Now, with Mojave, HomeKit users should be able to manage their smart home devices from their Mac.

The Home app was introduced in September 2016, over two years after HomeKit was first introduced. Extending access to Macs is a positive step, but we were hoping to see a Home app for Android customers -- or some indication that Apple was thinking about opening up its platform.

Apple TV

Apple also announced plans to integrate the Apple TV with home security and automation companies, Control4, Crestron and Savant.

Folks should specifically be able to use Siri voice commands -- through their Control4, Crestron or Savant remotes -- to control the Apple TV and their Control4, Crestron or Savant smart home devices.

The Apple TV currently works with select smart home apps, such as Canary and Nest for remote monitoring of security camera live feeds. It doesn't, however, offer much else in terms of smart home integrations. One slight exception is that you can play audio on a HomePod and an Apple TV at the same time as part of the iOS 11.4 mulitiroom audio update.

We'll be sure to test out all of these updates as soon as they go live. In the meantime, read the rest of our coverage of WWDC 2018.

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