Anyone brave (and rich) enough to make the plunge into the world of home automation will be confused, or even bemused, by the lack of a dedicated HomeKit iOS app from Apple. Though iOS stores all your home automation information (allowing Siri and third-party apps to hook into data for your lamps, plugs, and thermostats), there's no built-in solution for managing and programing these appliances.
Hesperus is a new application that aims to solve this problem. You can pick it up free of charge on the App Store (it includes optional IAPs), and it's compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch. The application works with HomeKit and allows users to “setup, manage, and control all your HomeKit accessories.” It also features some built-in automation functionality that allows users to quickly create and fire-off rules from their iPhone handset.
There are three aspects to the app, according to its developer: control, manage, and automation. The first indeed allows users to control all of their HomeKit accessories from inside a single interface. Hesperus features a tile button launch screen, and here users can check on all of their connected appliances. Touching an appliance then lets users alter its power state, light color (if it's a bulb), or temperature (if it's a thermostat).
It's also possible to create rooms and zones for your appliances, grouping them together in order to fire all of your linked appliances off together at once:
It’s always good to keep things organized. Hesperus allows you to organize your accessories easily with rooms and zones and you can assign a minimalistic icon to each space to help you identify the space. Hesperus also features an accessory manager to help you rename and place each accessory to the place where it belongs to so that Siri can work best with HomeKit.
Finally, users can create scenes which may be scheduled for true home automation. Created scenes can then be executed using either Siri, or with an on-screen swipe. Of course, you can indeed set scenes to activate at a particular time, too.
So far, I've got a couple of HomeKit products running in my house: a bunch of Hue bulbs (a mix of color and white), and a couple of smart plugs. I've also got two Belkin WeMo plugs, which aren't compatible with HomeKit (and likely never will be, according to the developer). For the HomeKit appliances, I'd previously been using Home: a nice $14.99 iOS app that works brilliantly with the Apple Watch, and which allows users to control everything much in the same way Hesperus promises to do. I'm looking forward to giving Hesperus a try and seeing if it's a better solution.
Nevertheless, I do think Apple needs to bring its own HomeKit iOS app to the market, and I'd like to see this happen at or around WWDC. Of course, we'll keep you posted with further information as we receive it.
You can download Hesperus on the App Store free of charge using the link below.