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New update sets Apple TV up as smart home hub

Apple quest to dominate the smart home market got a step closer today after an Apple TV update made the platform compatible with HomeKit.

According to an anonymous source close to the company, the update enables Apple TV to be the central hub for the user's connected home devices.

Read more: Samsung accelerates Internet of Things plans with Smart Home SDK and safety services (opens in new tab)

Apple TV uses both Bluetooth low energy and Wi-Fi technology, both of which will be used to communicate with connected devices in the iOS environment. Apple TV is also always on in the home, making it ideal as a hub device.

Although it is unlikely that Apple TV will be the only way to communicate with other devices in the home, with 20 million already sold, it makes sense for it to form the basis of the company's smart home project.

The anonymous source claimed that the Apple TV software update is the same update that iOS 8 developers received last week, the release notes for which stated that "HomeKit support is built into the Apple TV firmware now."

The source, speaking to Forbes (opens in new tab), also said that anyone with a third generation Apple TV with the latest 7.0 software update is likely to have a HomeKit-enabled hub.

It is believed that Apple is keeping quiet over the update as there is currently not much support for HomeKit from other devices.

Read more: HomeKit and Apple TV: The perfect combo to manage your home while away? (opens in new tab)

However, that could be set to change soon, particularly with the number of high-profile companies announced as HomeKit partners during this year's developer conference, including Philips, Honeywell and others.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.