Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)

There are methods to update firmware on an accessory device. The accessory development kit is able to connect to the accessory update daemon using the home management daemon. Based on the firmware update policy of the accessory device, the accessory update daemon will check for updates to firmware. When firmware updates are available the accessory update daemon may tell the home management daemon to schedule the update. The home management daemon will alert that the accessory development kit be in a stage. The accessory update daemon will download the firmware update and transmit an update of the device’s accessory development kit by using an interface for the secure channel that is provided by the home management daemon. An accessory device may be any accessory device of a third-party that does not have an own firmware update software.

Accessories, like lighting fixtures, kitchen appliances thermometers, and so on. They are typically utilized in an automated setting like the home automation setting. These devices can be controlled by a controller device, for example, a laptop or mobile device, wearable device, etc.

Firmware is the program that instructs the hardware of accessories devices. Changes are often made to the firmware. For example the firmware might require updating to enhance the performance of the accessory device or to solve any bugs or issues in the operation of the accessory device.

In order for the accessory device to upgrade its firmware, the accessory device can use a firmware application. The application for firmware can collect update files and provide the updates to the device. An accessory device that has its own firmware application may perform firmware updates.

An accessory device may not have an application for updating the firmware of its own. The manufacturer might not want to develop and maintain a firmware update application for an accessory device. A firmware update application can be costly and long-lasting.

It isn’t easy to update firmware on an accessory device that does not come with a firmware update program or the capability to update its firmware. The user may have to buy a new device that has the updated firmware. In addition, the user might have to contact the manufacturer and get instructions for performing the firmware update. The procedure of updating the device’s firmware could be expensive and difficult.

Since the firmware cannot be easily updated and is not easily updated, the firmware of some accessories may become outdated. In the event of outdated firmware, it can cause errors in the operation of the accessory device or the accessory device may not be able to function fully.

Embodiments provide methods, systems that can be used to create computer-readable media as well as software for updating firmware on devices that are connected to it.

An example embodiment provides a firmware update service that is designed to update firmware on accessory devices that do not possess their own firmware update applications. Examples of embodiments may be applied to accessory devices made by thirdparties. The accessory devices are able to communicate with a home management daemon (HD) of the controller device through encrypted channels by through an accessory development kit (ADK) of the accessory.

It is also possible to update manually. In other words, the system waits until the user is ready to apply or request a firmware update instead of installing the firmware update. The user’s involvement is needed to begin the process of installing the firmware.

The controller device can be upgraded using an accessory update daemon (AUD) that is set to assist in the implementation of firmware updates. The accessory update daemon could be installed by the operating system (e.g., CoreOS) of the controller device.The home management daemon registers an interest in an accessory with the accessory update daemon in order to update an accessory. The accessory update daemon based on update policies will look for firmware updates for the particular accessory that the home managementdaemon registered for.

When a new firmware update is available, the accessory update daemon will inform the home management daemon that there is a new update available. The accessory development kit can be notified by the home management daemon. The accessory update daemon will download the firmware update and then send the update to the accessory development kit of the accessory by using an interface to the secure channel of the home management daemon.

Some manufacturers aren’t keen to create an application to allow firmware updates, as we’ve seen. Different manufacturers may utilize different protocols for a firmware upgrade. The protocol used in the controller device may be different than the protocol that is used for the accessory device manufactured by a different company.

Examples of embodiments can reduce the cost of development for accessory devices because the application does not require to be developed and maintained for each accessory device. Instead, accessory devices can utilize the protocols of the main application. A controller device can supply any required firmware to the accessory device without the device requiring an application for performing firmware upgrades.

Examples of embodiments offer a simple solution for updating the firmware of accessory devices made by different manufacturers, as the protocol used by the home application can be used to update the accessories from third parties.

Further, example embodiments can offer a reliable firmware update to a third party accessory. Other side effects, such as “bricking” is not possible. “Bricking” is when an accessory device has been malfunctioning or damaged or the firmware has become corrupted. The device that is attached does not function as it was intended.

Also, example embodiments will eliminate the need for third-party software to update firmware. The firmware updates can be done in the background and require no user attention. Any firmware updates by the manufacturer of the accessory device will be unnecessary.

Other embodiments may be directed to systems that are portable devices for consumers, and computer readable media associated with the procedures described in this document.

A greater understanding of the nature and advantages of exemplary embodiments can be obtained by an understanding of the following description as well as the accompanying illustrations.

Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.


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