Pretty soon, Apple's HomeKit is going to be able not only tell you who's knocking at your door, but show you, too. At WWDC 2020, Apple announced a few new features to its smart home platform that will enhance your smart home devices, including facial recognition.
First, facial recognition: If you have a home security camera with HomeKit secure video (Apple's cloud-storage security), you can connect it with your Photos app. If you've tagged people by name, then HomeKit can identify them if they show up in front of your camera, and show it on your iPhone or iPad, and announce them by name through a HomePod smart speaker.
- WWDC 2020 recap: The biggest announcements you missed
- All the big iOS 14 features on the way
- Plus: Apple just unveiled the biggest Mac change in over a decade
Additionally, if you have an Apple TV running TVOS 14, you will receive a notification on your TV, with a small thumbnail image, which you can then expand to view full-screen.
Another new feature coming to HomeKit-connected security cameras is customizable motion zones, so that recordings are only triggered when someone or something moves in a designated area.
Cameras that support HomeKit-secure video include the Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Pro 3, Arlo Baby, the eufyCam 2, and the Logitech Circle 2. (A complete list can be found here.) You also need a 200GB iCloud storage plan for a single one camera and a 2TB storage plan for up to five cameras.
Now, these features aren't anything new; most all home security cameras have customizable motion zones, though facial recognition is a bit more rare. Given that Apple is better about privacy than other companies, I suspect more people might be inclined to use its facial recognition.
Other improvements coming to HomeKit include adaptive lighting: If you have smart light bulbs that can change color temperature (i.e. from warm white to cool white), HomeKit can automatically do this for you over the course of the day, so that lights start out brighter in the morning, and gradually shift to a warmer light in the evening.
When you add a new smart home device, HomeKit will also suggest automations for that device. Say, for, example, you installed a smart garage door opener; HomeKit will suggest you add it to a Leaving Home automation, which ensures the door gets closed.
A public beta of these features will available in July, and fully available to consumers this fall.