9: What's happened to HomeKit cameras?
Almost no new HomeKit cameras were released in 2021. What does that say about what's coming in 2022?
In June 2019 Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video at their Worldwide Developer Conference. This is a standardized, privacy-first way to store camera recordings from supporting cameras and doorbells in iCloud. You can easily view the recordings in Apple’s Home app. The killer feature for many users is that the video analysis to find people, vehicles, or other objects in the video is done locally by your HomeKit hub, instead of on a cloud service.
The launch of HomeKit Secure Video triggered a wealth of camera updates from manufacturers like Eufy, Logitech, Aqara, and others. In 2019 and 2020, Arlo also added HomeKit support, without Secure Video, for its flagship Arlo Pro 3, Pro 4, and Ultra lines as long as you used an Arlo bridge. All this left us HomeKit users at the end of 2020 with the most selection we’d ever had for cameras.
But in 2021, it’s been a very different story. Eufy, a launch partner for Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video, released 10 new cameras in 2021 and none of them even show a live view of the video in Apple HomeKit, let alone support Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video. Eufy still sells existing models with HomeKit support, but Apple HomeKit users have no reason to upgrade to these cameras because they won’t work with their system.
And after adding HomeKit support to cameras in 2019 and 2020, Arlo released two new cameras in 2021 (Essential Indoor, and Arlo Go 2), neither with HomeKit support. On top of this, other security camera companies like Wyze, Ring, and Nest continue to create innovative cameras that don't have any official support for Apple HomeKit. Aqara is the only company I can think of to launch and new, HomeKit compatible camera in 2021. The G3 is a great new camera, but many of the new features, Apple HomeKit simply doesn’t support.
So what’s going on with Apple HomeKit and video cameras?
I think that most of the cameras I mentioned didn’t make sense to support HomeKit Secure Video. It would be nice to see Eufy add that support to their new cameras, but they already sell a number of cameras that take care of the HomeKit market already. For most camera manufacturers, why go through the effort to show live video feeds in HomeKit when Matter is just around the corner. As long as these cameras, all except maybe the Arlo Go 2, support Matter, then they will work in HomeKit then. Don’t buy cameras now based on the promise of this, but if you aren’t happy with the HomeKit cameras from 2019 and 2020, I bet there will be new options through Matter in 2022.
A Stream Deck is a great way to put all kinds of automation at the touch of a button, right in front of you. Thanks to Shortcuts in macOS Monterey, Apple has made it even better to use this kind of tool to control your smart home with HomeKit. I'll show you how I've set up shortcuts to act like an app, and easily trigger them from a Stream Deck, WITH some cool custom icons from Apple.
Around the web
More on Mac + Streamdeck automation
As I linked to from my video, if you are looking to dive deeper into Mac automation with a Streamdeck, John Voorhees at MacStories has a great article with more details: https://www.macstories.net/stories/getting-started-with-shortcuts-for-mac-and-the-stream-deck/
Craft is Apple’s Mac App of the Year
This week Apple announced their annual App Store awards. Their Mac App of the Year is Craft. I’ve been on a note-taking journey in 2021, trying a variety of different apps and I find myself landing on Craft as my final choice to use going forward. It has a lot of flexibility with exporting formats, Markdown, linking, tables, multimedia, and more. As a developer, I also find it interesting and great that the Mac App of the Year is built with Catalyst, Apple’s way to port iPad apps to the Mac. Obsidian is also great for larger research projects, but the longer I use it, the more I feel like its features don't match my specific needs.
More on the Aqara G3
If you are interested in learning all the details about the new Aqara G3, Shane Whatley made a fantastic video