HomeKit Weekly: Apple's Imperative to Rectify HomeKit Secure Video Limitations

HomeKit Secure Video was launched by Apple in 2019 as part of the iOS 13 update, designed to enhance HomeKit with secure video capabilities for better privacy and security in home surveillance. Despite a few updates, little has changed since its launch, highlighting the need for Apple to improve its commitment to secure smart home camera storage for compatibility with cameras like the Eve Outdoor Cam and Logitech Circle View.

HomeKit Weekly focuses on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and Apple’s smart home framework. A significant limitation of Apple’s smart home camera storage and processing solution is the absence of 24/7 recording. This gap has led some users to opt for alternatives like the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight, using devices like the Starling Home Hub to integrate these cameras with HomeKit for automations and use with Apple TV.

The lack of 24/7 recording, especially for continuously powered cameras, is seen as a missed opportunity by Apple, particularly as motion detection can be unreliable. As Apple increases the price of its services, including the Apple One bundle, introducing 24/7 recording could be a welcomed enhancement for customers.

Apple’s strategy has been to let third-party manufacturers lead in camera production, avoiding creating a first-party camera. However, the pace of new camera options supporting HomeKit Secure Video has significantly slowed, with innovation primarily occurring within native manufacturer apps, diverging from the original promise of HomeKit and HKSV.

Apple is encouraged to unlock additional features within the HKSV specification and consider developing their own concept cameras. This approach would allow Apple to offer high-end cameras while leaving mid and lower-range options to other manufacturers. Enhancing privacy controls, automation capabilities, motion detection reliability, and noise detection options are suggested improvements for all HomeKit Secure Video cameras within the Home app.

The standard 1080p resolution for cameras is becoming outdated, with most vendors moving to at least 2k resolution. HomeKit Secure Video’s limitation to 1080p, possibly due to iCloud+ storage concerns, is seen as an area ripe for improvement, especially with the advent of faster Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 6E.

In conclusion, while HomeKit Secure Video is a key feature of Apple and HomeKit’s ecosystem, it requires significant enhancements to meet user expectations and stay competitive. The current state suggests a lack of attention to engineering and product management, raising questions about its future if no improvements are made.