Apple has invested a lot into HomeKit and the whole 'smart home integration' thing, but it's not really had a proper place to show it off properly. You can't put this sort of thing in an Apple Store, and standalone pop-ups sound complicated and expensive. This hasn't stopped Apple from trying in the past, but now it's figured out something more appropriate with the help of John Lewis.
Today London's Westfield Shopping Centre (in Hammersmith) opened up its £600 million expansion to the public, and inside it is a brand new 230,000 square foot John Lewis. Inside that John Lewis is where we're interested, because Apple has installed a HomeKit testing ground for people to come in and try it out for themselves. The idea being that people can go hands-on with everything HomeKit can do, and control the various smart gadgets using nothing more than the app and Siri voice commands.
Home Beautiful was able to look at the new store before it opened to the public, and with it the HomeKit-centric section of the shop. They also explained why John Lewis made the decision to partner with Apple, rather than Amazon or Google who both have their own competing smart home ecosystems. It turns out John Lewis chose Apple because 77 per cent of searches on the John Lewis came from iOS devices. John Lewis's explained to the site:
"We know Amazon are going after this space, we know Google are going after it in a big way – this is our chance to bring that to life in an iOS setting."
This opened up today, so if you're anywhere near Hammersmith it might be worth checking it out for yourselves. It's not often that you get to see set-ups like this, certainly not on a long-term basis. The HomeKit testing area will be a permanent fixture, but currently it's not clear whether it might expand to other John Lewis branches across the UK. [Home Beautiful via 9to5Mac]