Philips Hue

HUE2 colorizes your Philips Hue lights based on colors from the Now Playing album artwork

If you’re a fan of the Philips Hue lighting system and also happen to have a jailbroken iPhone, then you might come to appreciate a new jailbreak tweak dubbed HUE2 by iOS developer Antique.

HUE2 is fundamentally a new way to integrate your music-listening experience on iOS with your Philips Hue lighting system. Right out of the box, the tweak colorizes your Philips Hue lights to match the dominant color of the album artwork of any music you might be playing, as depicted above.

The best HomeKit accessories under $50

Smart home tech is one of the most exciting areas of consumer electronics, as the market continues to grow each year. HomeKit in particular has had a particularly strong 2017 with a record number of new products released.

I feel it is a good time to gather up the best, and most affordable HomeKit tech whether it is for your own home, or as a gift. Everything we've included, barring maybe one exception, comes in under $50.

Philips expands Hue smart lighting with new bulbs, fixtures and table lamps

Philips has expanded its Hue smart lighting family of HomeKit-compatible accessories with today's announcement of a brand new candle bulb alongside all-new fixtures and free-standing table lamps. All the new accessories support HomeKit, allowing users to control their lights with Siri on their iPhone or iPad.

The new 40W-equivalent Hue White Ambiance candle bulb provides “the perfect shade of white light for any moment”. It uses a smaller E12 base for fixtures like ceiling fans, chandeliers or decorative table lamps and can output light at up to 450 lumens of brightness.

The candle bulb joins the company's existing White Ambience family of lights, which includes the A19 bulb, GU10 spot light and BR30 downlight.

The newly announced products include:

$200 Philips Hue White Ambiance Being Flushmount $100 Philips Hue White Ambiance Wellner Table Lamp $100 Philips Hue Wellness Table Lamp $30 Hue White Ambience Candle Bulb

The new Hue White Ambiance Wellner and Wellness table lamps both include a White Ambinece light bulb for capable of outputting light at 800 lumens. The new Hue White Ambiance Being Flushmount and Hue White Ambiance Fair fixture feature a built-in White Ambience bulb with light output at up to 3,000 lumens.

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The Fair fixture is available in flushmount, semi-flushmount and suspension styles for attaching to a ceiling.

Hue smart lights were designed to provide the white light needed to help you wake up and energize, concentrate, read, relax and go to sleep naturally.

Mark Cieri, Vice President and General Manager for Home Systems with Philips Lighting US, said:

To put it simply, consumers can have one light to support all of their daily activities. Think about all of the moments you enjoy in your kitchen. Select a cool daylight scene for your morning coffee to energize for the day ahead.

Help your child focus on their homework with a bright white light. Then, create a cozy ambiance for dinner under a warm light to wind down. With Philips Hue White Ambiance, you can personalize your lighting and truly feel at home.

Using HomeKit, Siri and the accompanying iOS app, users can create various hues of white light that can be dimmed or brightened throughout the day.

You can pre-order the new products via the Philips web store ahead of their arrival next month.

The new $30 candle bulb will be available for pre-order in June and launch in July.

How to retrieve custom scenes from Philips Hue’s first generation app

Ever since Philips released version two of their Hue app with a complete redesign, one of the most prominent complaints I've heard is that custom scenes can't be transferred from the original Hue app to the new one, which has prevented many users from deleting the version one app.

Fortunately, Netherlands-based blog appletips has published a solution for users of Apple's Home app in iOS 10. It's worth noting that this method still doesn't enable importing scenes into Philips Hue's second generation app, but rather, the scenes from the old Hue app can be saved in iOS 10's Home app. While this may not be ideal for everyone, it's a solid workaround that allows users to easily retrieve custom scenes from the first generation Hue app.

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.

A look at the brand new Philips Hue app

For decades it was a thing of science fiction. Books and movies have long depicted their protagonists speaking commands to inanimate objects and having orders carried out instantly. I think it's safe to say that most everyone, including myself, used to daydream of being able to control lights simply by giving a voice command from anywhere in the room, no longer having to get up and walk over to flip a light switch on or off.

Then Philips introduced their Hue lightbulbs and companion API, moving traditional light switches a step closer to obsoleteness by introducing the ability to turn lights on and off with a smartphone app, bringing us one step closer to making voice controlled lights a reality. When the second generation Hue bridge was introduced with HomeKit support, Siri gained the ability to control Hue peripherals, creating the ultimate ease-of-use scenario.

There's almost a magical property surrounding Philips Hue lights. A room can be lit or darkened by a spoken word, its walls repainted in an instant, or the atmosphere changed to anything from a tropical sunset to an Arctic aurora. There's really no limit to what one can do with a few Hue lights and some creative inspiration.