Connected Home

Poll: do you own any HomeKit products?

Do I have any HomeKit accessories in my home? No, not yet, but that’s because I currently live in a rented apartment. I’ll be getting smart home gadgets when I buy my own house, that’s for sure. Until that day arrives, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for prices of HomeKit products to continue dropping.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of how HomeKit brings these appliances together in the Home app with support for scenes, Siri voice control, remote management via Apple TV and other perks. I also like it a lot how HomeKit products are required to use hardware encryption for security purposes. It’s just that outfitting my home with these smart gadgets would represent too sizable an investment for my budget, that’s all.

So, what about you? Do you own any HomeKit-certified accessories? Cast your vote and meet us in comments if you’d like to share your thoughts about the HomeKit platform or any HomeKit devices you already own, or may be planning on buying.

D-Link’s 180-degree home surveillance camera with HomeKit support hits Apple.com

D-Link’s Omna 180 Cam HD Camera is now available to purchase from Apple.com, priced at $200. Unveiled at CES 2017 last month, D-Link’s new accessory for the connected home is certified for Apple’s HomeKit platform, meaning users can control it in the stock Home app on their iPhone or iPad.

Omna 180 Cam HD Camera files as the world’s first home surveillance accessory that comes with native HomeKit video integration.

The smart home device features a 180-degree wide angle lens capable of capturing an entire room, Full HD 1080p video resolution, two-way audio, night vision up to 16 feet (five meters), even in complete darkness, and a microSD card slot.

HomeKit has about 100 certified devices more than two years since inception

HomeKit, Apple’s software framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home, currently works with about a hundred certified devices, Reuters said Friday.

By contrast, there are currently about 250 devices that are certified to work with Alexa, thanks to Amazon’s open-systems approach and even financial incentives for some partners.

But HomeKit, which debuted alongside iOS 8 in September 2014, now has an agile competitor in Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant which can also control smart accessories in the home with a few spoken words. The Reuters report outlines some of the requirements Apple imposes on device makers who wish to become HomeKit-certified.

10 great gift ideas for a smarter home

Welcome to the latest edition of iDB’s ongoing Gift Ideas series, where we provide curated roundups of some of our favorite products. Throughout the year we cover and test a number of devices and accessories, so we decided to use that experience to help those searching for the perfect present. Today’s roundup is focused on gift ideas that help make homes smarter.

Apple teams up with homebuilders on integrating HomeKit devices

Apple is reportedly teaming up with homebuilders to inch its way into the market for Internet-connected home furnishings in an effort to “bring home automation to the mainstream,” according to Greg Joswiak, who is Apple’s Vice President of Product Marketing. Bloomberg quoted Joswiak as saying that “the best place to start is at the beginning, when a house is just being created.”

Get your green thumb on with Flower Power by Parrot

Flower Power, an iOS app that promises to help you get the best out of your favorite indoor or outdoor plant, has undergone a major face lift this August. The app, developed by Parrot SA has been around since 2013, but both looks and functions have been overhauled in-depth recently. While the app is and has always been free, it requires a hefty upfront investment for the wireless plant monitor itself to supply the app with critical data. So let’s posit you want your beloved indoor plant to live up to its maximum potential – Should you pounce for it?

Philips Hue White Ambience lightbulbs include HomeKit functionality for a lower price

I’m a huge fan of Philips Hue lights, as the smart technology behind them often proves itself to be an immense convenience. Perhaps I’m better off walking across the room to flip a light switch, but I’m perfectly fine with telling Siri to do it or swiping up Control Center in iOS 10 and tapping a light in the HomeKit pane. Dimming the lights down to a warm glow in the evenings while browsing Twitter with my phone on NightShift is one scenario that, for me, makes Philips Hue an incredible experience.

The underlying issue with smart lightbulbs in general and Philips Hue in particular that has kept many people from fully adopting them is the price. Philips’ colored bulbs come in around $50 apiece, with the Starter Kit providing three bulbs and the connecting hub for $180. At first glance, those seem like fairly hefty prices for lightbulbs, of all things. However, a cheaper option is available for those who love home automation but don’t need the RGB colors of Philips Hue’s white and color ambiance bulbs, as the company is now selling a white ambience-only variant of their Hue line.

New Philips Hue smart bulbs: fall asleep more peacefully with every shade of white light

Philips today announced it’s expanded its Hue smart lighting system with a brand new light bulb that focuses on the many shades of white light in order to encourage better sleep cycles, helping you wake up naturally and drift to sleep more peacefully.

The Apple HomeKit-compatible, color-tunable bulb gives you 800 lumens at the color temperature range from 2,200k to 6,500k, imitating the changing daily brightness and color temperature of natural sunlight. Philips also offers a starter kit that includes a pair of white ambiance bulbs, a bridge and a dimmer switch.