Apple is upgrading HomeKit this fall with new features like Secure Video and expanded automation, but it’s not all good news for Apple’s smart home framework. The Home app where users manage the smart home experience makes one design choice that is likely meant to make it more approachable. In practice, the change degrades the experience for a whole category of HomeKit products.
Difficulty managing the Home app at a glance when more than a few accessories are added has been a common complaint about the app’s design from the start. In iOS 13, Apple appears to be addressing this feedback with a change to how individual products with multiple accessories are presented.
In iOS 12, each accessory is presented as its own tile even if it’s part of a single product. This can result in a single HomeKit product populating the Home app with a half dozen tiles.
Apple’s Home app treats products with multiple accessories different in iOS 13. One product is one tile even if it includes two or more accessories. Fewer tiles means more usable at a glance, right?
Not so fast. Here’s where it becomes a step back for products like this. The awesome Eve Degree sensor is a single HomeKit product that measures both temperature and humidity. Summer can be brutal on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where I live, so I really like knowing exactly how hot and how humid it is at my front door.
That information is glanceable in iOS 12 where each measurement is presented as its own sensor accessory:
This is how iOS 13 presents the same accessory:
You can still expand the tile to show more information — in this case any information — but the tile for this accessory includes no updatable information.
Here’s another example using the indoor Eve Room product. This is iOS 12:
And this is the new approach starting with iOS 13:
Again, any useful information has been grouped into a single tile with no sensor data. Glanceable data is gone, requiring an interaction to actually see what those sensors are presenting:
While the change is disappointing for sensors, it’s downright confusing for other types of HomeKit products that include more than one accessory.
For example, the useful VOCOlinc Flowerbud diffuser and mood lamp is a single product with two very different HomeKit accessories. iOS 12 lets you easily view the status and control each accessory with individual tiles:
Here’s that same product squeezed into a single tile in iOS 13:
I realize the examples are becoming exhausting, but that just illustrates the disappointing experience in iOS 13’s Home app. This change even affects HomeKit power strips like VOCOlinc PM2E which can include plugs, lights, and fans as assigned by the user in the Home app.
And iOS 13:
The worst example is saved for last: HomeKit camera sensors. The Arlo Baby Cam is primarily used as a video camera with sound input and output. A firmware update to the camera later added support for five additional accessories using the product’s built-in sensors.
Five more sensors is an awesome improvement to an already great HomeKit product — at least in iOS 12:
If you want to read the same sensor data in iOS 13, simply tap on the camera tile, view the live video feed, find the button for other accessories in that room, then bam, you’ve managed to do something that was zero steps in iOS 12.
Glanceable information isn’t the only benefit lost. Discoverability is a casualty too.
This design choice isn’t just a glitchy software bug found in a beta version of Apple’s software. It’s an intentional design change that required developing for this update. It hasn’t improved as the rest of the operating system has started to stabilize; it’s only grown worse.
Why did Apple make this change? The idea is logical. One product should have one tile that can be expanded to show every included accessory. It reduces the tile count and clears up which accessories belong to which products in your home.
The current answer being tested in each iOS 13 beta so far doesn’t appear to be the correct solution however. Glanceable information is removed and very different types of accessories are squeezed together.
Apple’s Home app already has a solution to the too-many-tiles problem. Users have control over which tiles appear on the Favorites section of the Home app. You can show as many or as few as you choose.
Accessories are only unpacked when you view a specific room, and even then you only see which accessories are located in that room. iOS 13 even improves this by moving bridges that offer no data or control to a different part of the Home app.
The Home app also has a mechanism for grouping accessories — if you choose — which is useful for turning multiple bulbs into a single lamp. iOS 13 could learn from that approach with a toggle to unpack accessories grouped under a single tile. The default can be bad as long as there’s a logical way out.
GOOGLE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES ANDROID 11 FOR ANDROID TV
A few weeks ago, Google officially released its latest system, Android 11 for smartphones. Today, the company announced that Android 11 will now be available for Android TVs. However, the Android 11 for TV is not a direct copy of Android 11 for smartphones. There are some features that are exclusive to the large screen. According to Google, it will partner with multiple OEMs and Android 11 on TV will be available in a few months. However, those who already have the ADT-3 Developer Kit can get the update today.
This system for Android TVs will retain most of the basic features of the Android 11 for smartphones. This system will come with better memory management and one-time permissions for secure workability. Google also did more work on privacy features to reduce the system’s vulnerability.
In addition, the Android 11 for Android TVs will come with an “Auto Low Latency Mode and low latency media decoding”. This system will also bring a new Tuner Framework with updated Media CAS support. Furthermore, this system will support gamepads, a feature that will be important for Stadia on the TV. Developers of Android TV apps can seamlessly test their apps with Google’s “test harness mode for Android TV”.
According to Google, the Android 11 system allows better control over TV functions. The company said the “…new framework functionality for managing System LEDs and physical microphone mute buttons also facilitate integrations for far-field microphone enabled devices”.
Google Chrome prepares new tab groups feature that creates groups automatically
Months after announcing it, Google finally rolled out tab groups widely in the past couple of weeks. Now, an improvement could be coming to Chrome’s tab group feature — the ability to recreate them automatically.
In the latest Chrome Canary release, a new flag is present that describes a feature Google is working on. That flag, titled “tab groups auto create,” is one that has had us scratching our heads since it popped onto our radar earlier this week.
Google’s description, too, unfortunately doesn’t help matters. the company simply explains that the feature “automatically creates groups for users, if tab groups are enabled” in Chrome. What does that mean? We’re not entirely sure, but there are a few possibilities!
For one, Google might be able to remember tab groups from a previous session and drop them into a group when opened. Alternatively, Google could intelligently create groups based on similar types of tabs. At this point, it’s all up in the air. We can say pretty confidently, however, that this feature is not live in the latest Canary release.
Facebook Is Apparently Adding Instagram Stories to Its Key Application
Facebook has built it no key that it would like to entwine Instagram into its principal blue app as a great deal as possible (to some Instagram users’ chagrin.) Its most recent experiment evidently requires placing Instagram stories right on Facebook.
In accordance to a report in the Verge, some Facebook customers have lately started looking at Instagram stories in their Fb story feeds. A Fb representative apparently verified the news to Matt Navarra, a social media marketplace commentator and advisor, and stated that it was a restricted examination. The representative added that Facebook would be listening to feedback from its group on the prospective new characteristic.
In a screenshot posted by a Twitter consumer and Navarra on Friday, Fb seemingly points out that not just anyone can view an Instagram story on Facebook. In get to do so, consumers have to website link their Instagram accounts to Facebook and have this viewing placing turned on. Fb states that men and women who don’t abide by a user on Instagram will not be ready to see that user’s tales.
Fb also purportedly pressured that even however tales will be in two sites, users’ overall practical experience would not improve. That is mainly because people will nevertheless essentially be sharing their tales with the similar persons on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, Instagram stories on Facebook (which will have a pink and orange circle) will surface with a user’s Instagram take care of. And even though the tales will be seen on Fb, end users will see all tale sights and replies on Instagram.
In new many years, Facebook has labored to convey all of its popular apps, which involve WhatsApp and Instagram, nearer with each other. Very last thirty day period, Facebook released a new exam working experience on Instagram messaging for some users. The new experience up-to-date the look of Instagram immediate messages and promoted the likelihood of chatting with individuals who use Fb.
Who knows, possibly in the foreseeable future we won’t have an application named Instagram or Fb. We’ll just have a person giant purple and blue app, owned by Facebook, that does almost everything.
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