Along with releasing iOS 8.1 beta 2 to developers earlier today, Apple has also unveiled new Apple TV beta software. And AppleInsider first noticed that the software is the first that officially supports remote access for HomeKit-connected accessories.
As you probably remember, the HomeKit API was first announced back at WWDC and can tie together a number of compatible smart home products like locks, lights, cameras, doors, and more. It will also offer Siri integration.
AppleInsider was able to detail a little more about how the HomeKit functionality works on the Apple TV:
With HomeKit’s public return to the Apple TV, one iOS developer on the internal Apple development forums has detailed how the system works. Logging into iCloud on an Apple TV will register the set-top box as a potential remote access peer for the HomeKit application programming interface.
Once the user accepts using their Apple TV as a remote access peer, information from their connected home will automatically be synced with the TV accessory. This is made possible because HomeKit uses CloudKit to store home and accessory info in the cloud, while Keychain is used to store paired keys, the developer said.
By serving as a remote access peer, the Apple TV should be able to control connected accessories when users are away from home.
The site also believes that HomeKit support for the set-top box is a strong sign that Apple will position the product as a smart home hub.
Future Apple TV models could improve on the HomeKit functionality, but it will reportedly be some time in 2015 before Apple is ready to release updated hardware.
For other news today, see: Facebook is reportedly close to releasing an app that allows anonymous interaction, Demand for the iPhone 6 Plus is ‘much stronger than expected’ as Apple shifts production, and Apple Pay is the ‘player to beat’ in the mobile wallet space.