Until recently, one of the biggest hurdles for smart home manufacturers building HomeKit devices was hardware authentication. They'd have to build a chip into their devices or hubs to get it to work. That changed with iOS 11, which nixed hardware authentication and introduced software authentication, but we haven't seen many - if any - companies take advantage.
Well Belkin has done just that, updating its $34.99 Wemo Mini Smart Plug with HomeKit compatibility, as first reported by Cnet. You will have to update your Wemo app, which you can do now, and then once you open it up there'll be a pop-up that tells you about Apple Home compatibility.
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Click on through by tapping "OK" and you'll be prompted to update your Wemo Mini. Once you do that, it'll be added to the Apple Home app, and you'll be able to use it and Siri to command your smart plug.
Word of warning: Belkin tells The Ambient that the firmware update will roll out throughout the rest of the week as it has about 1 million pushes to complete. So it may take some time. When we tried to update out Mini, we ran into some trouble and prompting the update booted us out to the settings menu with nothing happening.
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The Wemo Mini Smart Plug isn't the first device to get updated for HomeKit via a software update. Logitech updated its Circle 2 camera in September 2017, a couple months after the software authentication was announced. Netatmo also updated its Presence and Welcome cameras with HomeKit support via a software update.
We haven't seen many software updates since then, but it's nice to see a larger smart home brand like Wemo getting involved. Hopefully manufacturers can keep this update train rolling in the near future, bringing HomeKit to device parity with the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant.