Apple unveils smart home experiences in its retail stores worldwide


Unless you’ve had a chance to try some Apple HomeKit products in someone’s home or apartment, it can be hard to understand how it all works. In order to help with that, Apple has unveiled interactive HomeKit experiences in 46 of its retail stores worldwide.

Now, when you go into Apple’s new retail stores, you’ll be able to use the Home app from either an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad to control devices like the Philips Hue light bulb, the Hunter ceiling fan and many others. If you tap to lower the shades in the living room, for example, you’ll see the shades lower in the house shown on the screen.

This is one of the primary reasons Apple created the Apple Retails Stores – to show off their products and technology. I can’t wait to go to my local store to try this out. It’s not exactly like the “real” HomeKit experience but it looks like a good approximation.

  • Mo

    I dig a lot of what home automation promises, but I’ve always had a hard time taking the idea of motorized windowshades seriously.

    • rick gregory

      They’re silly on their own (a friend has them) but I can see them being nice if they are tied into a temp sensor and adjust based on temp and light. But even then they’re very #firstworldproblem. Frankly, most home automation stuff is frivolous. Turning on and off lights? Colored bulbs? really?

      • Mo

        In a nutshell.

        I can see the value in automation for HVAC with proximity awareness. Home security, too. I can see it useful for the eventual maintenance of, say, home-power generation.

        But saving the “effort” of flipping a light switch or pulling a cord? How much of a hardship is that?

        • rick gregory

          Precisely. HVAC, locks (and security in general) have an ROI that’s pretty easy to see. HVAC can reduce real costs. So could something like controlling water heaters automatically, etc. Door locks can be very useful for people who have family that comes home at various times, etc.

          But the reason home automation is always the next big thing but never makes it there is that other than those use cases it’s a morass of conflicting standards and things that need to be vetted, it’s expensive and the benefits sound twee. Ohh, save flipping on a light! Wow!! #not.

          The other hurdle is that you can install point solutions for certain things. For example, I can replace the outdoor light switch with one that detects light or one that knows about time and turns on in the evening and off in the morning. Similarly, if I want coffee made for me in the morning, there are coffee makers with timers. I don’t need a smart home for those things.