Apple HomeKit support for Belkin’s WeMo line of smart home products is finally here. While they’ve been teasing it for almost a year, the Belkin WeMo Bridge will be released this month with a $40 price tag.
The battle between Apple and Belkin has been going on for some time now. Apple had insisted that HomeKit would only support products that contained an Apple-specified MFi co-processor. This was supposedly needed for better authentication and security. Belkin had initially refused but decided on building a bridge early last year to meet that requirement. But in August 2017, due to pressure from competing Google Home and Amazon Echo products, Apple changed course on their hardware demands.
This puts Belkin in an odd position. The Bridge is needed for Belkin WeMo’s existing line of products that include smart plugs, smart switches, and security cameras if you plan to use Apple HomeKit. Their smart plug was in fact one of Amazon’s top-sellers this holiday season. But now that Apple has changed their requirements, we’re not sure if future Belkin WeMo products will need this bridge at all. It may simply be for connecting existing products.
At $40, it’s a steep cost just to add Apple HomeKit functionality to existing products. With WeMo already supporting Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it’s unlikely many people in the Apple ecosystem were purchasing these products in the first place. Not to mention that Belkin isn’t in a position like Philips where you may be controlling 20-30 separate devices in your home through the bridge.
Nevertheless, it would be an upgrade to existing Apple HomeKit users. The WeMo app is only so-so and we’d much prefer to control directly through Apple Home or asking Siri. We will be reviewing the new Belkin WeMo Bridge in the coming weeks.