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'HomeKit' Reviews

Review: Vocolinc Offers the First HomeKit Supported Essential Oil Diffuser With the 'FlowerBud'

Apple's HomeKit platform has expanded to support a variety of device categories since its launch in 2014, now including lights, thermostats, ceiling fans, sprinklers, outlets, and humidifiers. Although close in style to humidifiers, one specific accessory missing from HomeKit has been an essential oil diffuser, and now connected smart home brand Vocolinc has introduced the FlowerBud Smart Diffuser to rectify the situation. Setup Out of the box, the FlowerBud Smart Diffuser looks somewhat similar to other essential oil diffusers, and it's broken into two parts for quick-and-easy assembly. There's a 6.5-inch wide base that holds the water reservoir, and on its front there is a button for the mood light and one for the diffuser itself. The water reservoir holds 300 ml of water, but you'll have to make two passes with the included measuring cup to fill the base to capacity, since it only holds about 150 ml. Underneath, you'll find a port to connect the AC adapter's barrel plug into, and the slightly elevated rubber feet make everything level even with the cord passing through.

Review: Eve Aqua Brings HomeKit Automation to Your Irrigation Sprinklers

Just prior to rebranding as Eve Systems to focus on HomeKit devices in late June, Elgato launched its Eve Aqua water controller, a HomeKit-enabled device that attaches to an outdoor water faucet to control and monitor water usage. While Eve Aqua can be used with any hose connection, it's primarily intended for use with sprinklers, which can be set to run automatically on a schedule for optimal watering. I've been testing out an Eve Aqua at my home over the past few months, and I've found it to be a helpful automation tool to assist with irrigation needs. Installation Installation of Eve Aqua is simple, as it comes with two AA batteries needed for power and simply screws onto your existing exterior water faucet. The bottom of the Eve Aqua has a male connector that allows you to screw a hose with female connector directly on, or the Eve Aqua comes with an adapter that can be screwed on to support quick connections. I did have initial issues with some water leaking around the top connection, but after several attempts and making sure things were screwed together quite tightly, I was able to mostly eliminate the problem. I've retightened it a couple of times over the past few months after slight drips have appeared, and that's kept things under control. Once you have the Eve Aqua installed, the Eve app walks you through the rest of the setup process: scanning the HomeKit code, assigning it to a room, giving it a name, and configuring options such as schedules. If you need to change the unit settings such as liters to gallons, you'll find that in the Eve

Review: The HomeKit-Connected Eve Room Keeps Track of Temperature, Humidity and Air Quality in Your Home

Eve Systems has been offering HomeKit-connected devices since 2015, and the Eve Room, able to measure temperature, humidity, and air quality, is the newest Eve product available for purchase. The new Eve Room is actually an upgraded version of an original Eve Room that was one of Eve's first product releases back in 2015, but the new version has been overhauled with a redesigned enclosure that's both sleeker and more informative. While the original Eve Room was just a little white plastic block, the Eve Room adopts the new aluminum and e-ink design that was first introduced with the Eve Degree, Eve's more affordable temperature and humidity monitor that does not offer air quality monitoring. Eve Room (left) next to Eve Degree Like the Eve Degree, the Eve Room is palm sized and tiny enough that it's unobtrusive on a shelf, on a table, on a kitchen counter, or on a bedside table. It measures in at 2.1 x 2.1 x 0.6 inches, which is quite a bit smaller than the 3.1 x 3.1 x 1.3 inch measurements of the original Eve Room. Eve Room is an indoor product and should not be used outdoors. The 200x200 e-ink display of the Eve Room displays the current temperature, humidity, and air quality in the room, with air quality pictured as a series of stars from one to five. If you press on the arrows next to the display, you can cycle through several display options that focus on temperature, humidity, or both. I like the addition of the e-ink screen in the Eve Room because I can check the room conditions at a glance without needing to open up an app or ask Siri, something

Review: Koogeek's Light Strip and Door & Window Sensor Offer Solid Low-Cost HomeKit Options

Koogeek is one of the more interesting HomeKit accessory manufacturers, with an array of relatively low-cost and in some cases unusual products that can help users expand their Apple-focused smart home ecosystems. The company offers HomeKit-compatible smart outlets, switches, bulbs, and sockets similar to other manufacturers, but also has some less common products like light strips, door/window sensors, environmental monitors, and even power strips. LS1 Light Strip One of Koogeek's more popular HomeKit accessories is the LS1 Light Strip, a 2-meter string of LED lights that lets you choose from 16 million dimmable colors, whether you're looking for bias lighting behind your television or monitor, accent lighting in a kitchen, or any of a number of other applications. While Koogeek offers its own app for setting up and managing the LS1 Light Strip, HomeKit support means you can access it from the centralized Home app on iOS (and soon macOS Mojave) or Siri, and you can integrate it with other HomeKit devices to activate as part of a scene or other automations. Consisting of 60 LEDs, the LS1 is a 2-meter strip with some additional cord and a single-button controller that allows you to turn the lights on and off manually. The light strip is USB-powered, which can be a benefit as it gives you some interesting flexibility in terms of mounting locations when you can use a USB port on your TV, a computer, a dock, or a power bank to run them. On the downside, Koogeek doesn't provide a power adapter in the box, so you'll need to provide your own if you want to power it

Review: Lutron's Caséta Lamp Dimmers and Serena Shades Bring HomeKit Convenience to Your Lights and Windows

Three years ago, Lutron was one of the first vendors to venture into the HomeKit ecosystem with its Caséta Wireless lighting controls, which include plug-in lamp dimmers, wall-mounted dimmer switches, and remotes, all coordinated through a wireless "Smart Bridge" that plugs into your internet router. The Caséta system has been such a mainstay in the HomeKit world that Apple is still selling it in its stores, including a >$100 starter kit with a smart bridge, an in-wall switch, and a Pico remote control. Additional sets of one in-wall dimmer and one remote are available for $60 each. A host of other lighting switches and Pico remotes are also available to satisfy a range of needs, and the entire system is very popular with our readers. Lutron's Caséta lamp dimmer starter kit and Serena shade Beyond lighting, the Caséta system also integrates with other products, including several styles of automatic HomeKit window shades from Lutron, as well as a joint Lutron-Honeywell thermostat and even some ceiling fans from Hunter. In addition to HomeKit, Caséta also integrates with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and Nest, as well as Sonos, Carrier, ecobee, Logitech, and Xfinity Home. I've had the Caséta lamp dimmer system controlling the bedside lamps in my master bedroom for quite some time, and Lutron also sent along a demo setup of the company's battery-operated Serena shades to see how the different products integrate both within the Lutron app and through HomeKit. Serena shades are available in roller, single honeycomb, and double honeycomb

Nanoleaf's New Dodecahedron-Shaped Remote Gives You Access to 12 HomeKit Scenes

Nanoleaf's new 12-sided light-up remote joins its existing Nanoleaf Light Panels and Nanoleaf Rhythm, adding a whole slew of smartphone-free physical control options for your HomeKit setup in one easy-to-use accessory. The Nanoleaf Remote is bigger than button and remote devices from other companies, but it offers access to many more scenes and as you'll see in my review, it's a great value if you already own a Nanoleaf setup and want a simple iPhone-free control method that anyone in the household can use. For people unfamiliar with Nanoleaf, the company makes the Nanoleaf Light Panels, a HomeKit-enabled set of flat, triangle-shaped lights that connect together in a range of different user-designed configurations, providing both light and art. The Light Panels have LEDs inside and can be set to display dozens of different colors and patterns, which make up different light recipes. I've had a Nanoleaf setup for more than a year, and it continues to be one of my favorite HomeKit products. The Remote is specifically designed for users who already have Nanoleaf Light Panels. Design Nanoleaf's Remote has a design that's not quite like any other HomeKit-enabled remote-style device on the market, with dodecahedron shape where each side activates a different scene. The remote, which is a little bigger than palm sized, is made from a white plastic that admittedly feels a bit cheap, but it doesn't look bad sitting on a desk. When the remote arrives, it comes in two halves, with one empty side and a one side that houses the batteries, an LED light, and the

Review: Fibaro's 'The Button' Adds Physical Control Options to Your HomeKit Setup

"The Button" from Fibaro is the latest HomeKit accessory that's designed to add physical control options to your HomeKit setup, making it easier to access HomeKit devices without an iOS device or HomePod. Design wise, The Button looks like you might expect something called "The Button" to look. Made of smooth plastic, it has a small round base that holds a slightly larger button that depresses to activate HomeKit commands. I like the look of the button, and it offers a satisfying button-like press that's better than some of the other competing button and tap-style devices that offer physical HomeKit controls. The button I reviewed was white, but it is also available black and red. The Button supports just three gestures: a single click, a double click, and a press and hold. This limits what can be done with The Button, so a household may need more than one if there are a lot of HomeKit products and you want granular control over each one. You can attach the button to a wall or a desk using included adhesive or by nailing the plastic mounting plate into the wall. You can also just use it sans adhesive or mounting plate if it's just sitting on a desk or nightstand, or if you want to be able to move it around. There is no light to indicate that The Button is turned on and has power, but you can enable an audio feedback option in the settings section of the Fibaro app to have it beep when a button press is activated. Setting up The Button is a little more involved than the setup process for some other HomeKit products. You need to press down and

Review: Schlage Sense Remains a Top Option Among HomeKit-Enabled Smart Locks

Following my review of the Yale Assure Lock SL deadbolt with HomeKit support last month, a number of readers highlighted the Schlage Sense as another satisfactory HomeKit option worth considering. As it turns out, I've been using the Schlage Sense on my front door for quite some time, so it's worth taking a look at how Schlage's offering has held up over time. The Schlage Sense deadbolt was one of the first HomeKit-enabled smart locks, launching over two years ago, yet it remains one of the most popular smart locks on the market among Apple users. In fact, Apple continues to feature the Schlage Sense in its online and retail stores, although it is currently listed as unavailable for both online orders and in-store pickup even though it remains on the shelves at some Apple retail stores. Unlike the Assure Lock SL that comes in only a single design (albeit with a few color options), the Schlage Sense comes in two different styles that fit in with many of Schlage's other hardware products: a classic Camelot style and a more modern Century style, with Matte Black, Satin Nickel, and Aged Bronze finishes available depending on style. I've been using a Camelot-style Schlage Sense on my front door, paired with a matching non-locking Camelot doorknob to ensure I can't be accidentally locked out of my house due to a locked doorknob. The pairing looks good together, with the Camelot style offering a hint of elegance even with a prominent keypad. Installation Installation of the Schlage Sense is straightforward, and Schlage includes step-by-step directions to walk you

Review: Eve Button Offers Quick Physical Controls for Activating Your Favorite HomeKit Scenes

Elgato has been making HomeKit-enabled "Eve" Bluetooth accessories for several years now, and the company now boasts an impressive lineup that includes a range of sensors, switches and smart plugs, and motion detectors. Eve Button, Elgato's newest product, is a simple little three-gesture switch that's designed to control all of your other HomeKit products, activating scenes, turning lights on and off, and more. Design The Eve Button has a simple, clean design with a silver aluminum shell and a black plastic front plate with a smooth, circular button outline that doesn't protrude at all. It's using the same design introduced in the Eve Degree, so if you already have an Eve Degree, the Eve Button will complement it nicely. While there is no visible button protrusion, if you press on the button outline in the middle of the accessory, it will depress and activate the Eve Button's gestures. Pressing at the sides does not cause the front plate to depress, so the pressing motion is limited to the center, which is a clever design. The back of the Eve Button is where the battery compartment is located, which can be opened with a coin. The Eve Button uses a CR2032 replaceable watch battery that can be purchased from a local store or Amazon.com for just a couple of dollars. You can check battery level in the Home app. Elgato included four little rubber feet for the Eve Button so you can set it flat on a surface and it won't slip around, but curiously, there's no included adhesive strip or mounting option. The Eve Button is the kind of accessory I'd like to be

Review: Yale's $220 Assure Lock SL is a Sleek, Keyless HomeKit Deadbolt

Smart locks are one of the more popular types of HomeKit accessories, and Yale's Assure Lock SL deadbolt announced last October is one of the more interesting options on the market today. It's available in Polished Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, and Satin Nickel, and I've been using the Oil Rubbed Bronze for the past few months. With the Assure Lock SL, Yale has pursued an interesting strategy of offering a $169 basic keyless entry deadbolt that can also accommodate one of several optional $50 hardware modules that add support for HomeKit, Z-Wave, or Zigbee smart home integration. Locking Overview and Design While most smart deadbolts allow users to lock and unlock from the outside with both a keypad code and a standard key, the Assure Lock SL foregoes support for a standard key entirely. As a result, it allows for a much cleaner look from the outside with only a small keypad visible, and it obviously also prevents the lock from being manually picked. Exterior view It sounds like a dangerous design decision that could easily leave you locked out if your batteries run out, but Yale has a solution to that dilemma – touching a standard 9V battery to a pair of terminals on the bottom of the lock will provide enough power to allow you to enter your code and unlock the door. Other manufacturers like Schlage and Kwikset are also hopping on this bandwagon as a solution toward eliminating keys entirely, so it's likely to become even more popular in the future. Now, I don't know anyone who carries a 9V battery everywhere they go, so it means if your lock loses power

LIFX's HomeKit-Enabled LIFX Z Light Strip Adds Smart Multi-Color Accent Lighting to Your Home

LIFX, a company that makes a range of smart light bulbs and other lighting products, recently embraced HomeKit and introduced several HomeKit-compatible lights that are an alternative to the popular Philips Hue line of smart lights. One of the new products that's been updated with HomeKit support is the LIFX Z, a $90 light strip that's comparable to the LightStrip Plus from Philips, which I was able to test this week. The LIFX Z is a multi-zone light strip that supports up to 16 million colors, and like the Philips Hue LightStrip Plus, it measures in at 6.6 feet. You can buy extensions to make it longer. I'm deep in the Hue ecosystem with seven Hue lights in my office alone, so it was interesting to try an alternate solution. LIFX products, unlike Hue, connect directly to WiFi and thus don't require a bridge for functionality. This is nice because it means there's nothing to connect to your home router, but I did notice that the LIFX Z can be slower to respond to input than the Hue products. LIFX Z bottom, Hue LightStrip Plus on top Design wise, the LIFX Z looks a lot like the Hue LightStrip Plus. It's a strip of LED lights with an adhesive backing that can be attached to cabinets, desks, walls, and more. At one end, there's what I assume is a controller for HomeKit, which can also be attached next to the lights with adhesive, and a power adapter that needs to be plugged in. The LIFX Z light strip is thinner than the Philips version, and it comes in two pieces that attach together with thin metal prongs. The Hue LightStrip is all one piece and is thicker,

Review: Elgato Eve Light Switch and Eve Motion Add Versatility to Your HomeKit Setup

Elgato's Eve lineup of smart home devices is one of the largest contributors to the HomeKit ecosystem, with a variety of sensors and switches for inside and out, including five more products announced a couple of months ago. We reviewed a set of the early Eve products two years ago, when we found a solid set of sensors that were hampered by bugs in the early days of HomeKit. HomeKit has come a long way since that time, making it much more stable and useful, so many of our early qualms have been resolved and we were impressed by the new Eve Degree temperature monitor released earlier this year. Two of the other products in the Eve lineup are the Eve Light Switch, a rather typical smart light switch, and Eve Motion, a battery-operated motion sensor. I've been using both of these for a few months, and I've found them to be quite useful in automating my home. Eve Light Switch There are a number of HomeKit-compatible smart switches on the market, including one from iDevices that I looked at earlier this year. The Eve Light Switch was, however, the first entrant into this category late last year, and it remains a worthy competitor. Installation and Setup If you've ever swapped out a light switch, it's a pretty straightforward process, and installing the Eve Light Switch isn't much different. As always, make sure you turn off power at the circuit breaker for safety before getting inside the junction box. The Eve Light Switch is a lot bulkier than a traditional switch in order to accommodate all of the electronics, so you'll need to make sure you have enough

Review: Logitech's Circle 2 Brings HomeKit Compatibility and a New Design

Logitech's Circle 2, introduced in June, is the second-generation version of its Circle home security camera. This new version features a redesigned body, wired and wire-free versions, accessories that let it be positioned anywhere, and, through a recent update, HomeKit support. Circle 2 is meant to be used as a home security device and it's ideal for keeping an eye on your house while you're away from home. It's also great for keeping an eye on pets and children, and even communicating with the two-way microphone. Circle 2 connects to a home WiFi network and offers cloud functionality that lets you view video anywhere. I've been using a Logitech Circle camera for two years now sans HomeKit functionality, so I was eager to check out the HomeKit version. This is only the second HomeKit-compatible camera available on the market, and with the new design, the Logi Circle app, and cloud upload ability, the Circle 2 easily beats out the D-Link Omna as the best HomeKit camera you can buy at the moment. Though Logitech offers both wired and wire-free versions of the Circle 2, HomeKit only works with the wired version because Apple requires an always-on camera connection, and that's not how the wire-free Circle 2 works. Design and Features The wired version of the Circle 2 consists of a small palm-sized camera module that attaches to a base with a pivoting neck, allowing the camera to be positioned and rotated into an ideal angle to work with any room setup. The base can be attached to a wall with a wall mount, and the camera module itself is detachable from the base

Review: Emerson's $200 Sensi Touch HomeKit Thermostat Offers a Large Color Display and Easy Setup

Fueled by the popularity of Nest, thermostats remain one of the more popular categories of smart home devices. I recently took at look at Honeywell's Lyric Round thermostat with HomeKit support, and today I'm following up with Emerson's latest HomeKit model, the Sensi Touch. Announced back in May and launched in June, the Sensi Touch offers a horizontal design with a color touchscreen taking up much of the front of the device. Aside from onscreen controls, the Sensi Touch can also be managed via app or through HomeKit, offering a number of options for controls. Installation I've had a bit of previous experience swapping out thermostats, so I was already familiar with what needed to be done, and all told it took me less than 30 minutes to remove my old thermostat and get the Sensi Touch installed. After making sure the circuit breakers for my heating and air conditioning system were turned off, I launched the Sensi app on my iPhone and it walked me through all of the steps to get up and running. It's a great setup process, with easy to follow instructions that integrate with the iPhone's Camera app to take a photo of your existing thermostat wiring for reference, as well as a terminal picker that lets you tell the app exactly which wires your current system uses so that it can guide you in connecting the Sensi Touch. As with most other thermostats, the Sensi Touch comes in two pieces, a rear plate that is screwed to the wall and contains the terminals for the wiring coming out of the wall, paired with a main body that snaps onto the rear plate for a clean

Review: Chamberlain's MyQ Garage and Home Bridge Add HomeKit Support to Your Garage Door

Back in January at CES, Chamberlain announced plans to release MyQ Home Bridge, a hardware hub to allow connected garage openers in the company's MyQ ecosystem to work with HomeKit. The MyQ Home Bridge was initially scheduled to launch in April, but as is common with these types of products needing to gain HomeKit certification, it was pushed back a bit and had a brief quiet launch earlier this month with an official launch coming just yesterday. The MyQ Home Bridge requires that your existing garage door opener already support MyQ wireless connectivity through one of three methods: built-in MyQ Wi-Fi support within the opener, a non-smart garage door opener linked to a MyQ Garage hub, or add-on Wi-Fi connectivity for a MyQ-enabled opener using a MyQ Internet Gateway. Box contents of MyQ Home Bridge (left) and MyQ Garage (right) I own a Chamberlain chain drive garage door opener from 2009, but it does not include any MyQ technology built in, so in order to add HomeKit support to my setup I needed to install two separate pieces of hardware: a MyQ Garage for basic Wi-Fi support and then the new MyQ Home Bridge to add HomeKit compatibility. Alongside the original MyQ Home Bridge announcement in January, Chamberlain also disclosed plans for a Smart Garage Hub that will consolidate both the MyQ Garage and MyQ Home Bridge functions into a single piece of hardware. The Smart Garage Hub was originally planned to debut in July, but Chamberlain tells me its launch has been delayed and the company is not yet sharing any new target dates for it. MyQ Garage Working with

Review: Honeywell's $199 Lyric Round Thermostat Features a Nest-Like Design With HomeKit Support

Some of the more interesting types of smart home devices are thermostats, which can help save energy by optimizing scheduling, automatically sensing when the home is occupied or vacant, and more. One of the early entrants into the field on the HomeKit side is Honeywell, which has introduced several different smart thermostats, starting with the second-generation Lyric Round, which debuted early last year. I've been using a Lyric Round for quite a while now, and I've come to appreciate its integration with HomeKit and its ease of use, while Honeywell has continued to improve its function and stability over time.

Review: iDevices' Switches and Outlets Bring HomeKit to Your Existing Lights and Home Appliances

iDevices was one of the first companies to announce plans for producing HomeKit-compatible products, focusing primarily on switches and outlets but also branching out a bit with a thermostat. Earlier this year, iDevices was acquired by major electrical equipment manufacturer Hubbell, but the iDevices brand and product lineup lives on. I've been using a number of iDevices products, including the recently launched Wall Switch and Wall Outlet, as well as the Switch and Outdoor Switch that launched some time ago, and I've gotten a pretty good idea of how well these accessories fit into my home and integrate with other HomeKit devices through HomeKit. All of the devices are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but for my purposes I focused on HomeKit. Wall Switch and Wall Outlet iDevices' Wall Switch and Wall Outlet are the latest additions to the company's HomeKit family, and they're the most complicated to install since they require in-wall installation. It's a little bit of a hassle and some users such as renters may not be able take advantage of them, but installation is a pretty straightforward project and they provide a much cleaner and more integrated look to your HomeKit system. As with any other time you're performing electrical work, you should turn off power at the circuit breaker and make sure electricity isn't flowing to the circuits where you're working. iDevices includes step-by-step instructions to walk you through the entire installation process and also includes some helpful videos on its YouTube channel.

Review: Elgato's New HomeKit-Connected Eve Degree is a Sleek, Palm-Sized Temperature Monitor

Elgato recently updated its Eve lineup of HomeKit-connected products with the Eve Degree, a temperature and humidity sensor that joins the existing Eve Weather and the Eve Room. Priced at $69.99, the Eve Degree feels like an iteration of the cheaper Eve Weather. It monitors temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure like the Eve Weather, but it's smaller, better designed, and it includes an LCD display. Design Eve Degree is palm-sized and the tiniest of Elgato's temperature sensors, measuring in at 2.1 x 2.1 x 0.6 inches. For comparison's sake, the Eve Weather is a good deal larger at 3.1 x 3.1 x 1.3 inches. The Eve Degree features a square-shaped anodized aluminum body with a temperature readout that makes it easy to see the room's temperature without needing to check an app. Compared to the white plastic Eve Weather and the Eve Room, it's more stylish and better able to blend in with a range of decors, plus it's lighter so it's easier to mount on a wall if desired.

Review: D-Link's Omna 180 Cam HD Offers HomeKit, But Could Use Improvement

Connected home security cameras have been on the market for quite some time, but D-Link recently began selling the first HomeKit-compatible security camera. Priced competitively at $199, the D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD camera has several perks over competing cameras that don't offer HomeKit integration -- it's guaranteed to have Apple's required level of encryption, it works with Siri, and it can be viewed right in the Apple-created Home app. Design The Omna is made from brushed aluminum and is palm-sized, so it can be placed just about anywhere, but it needs to go on a flat surface and can't be wall mounted like some other options. Size wise, it's a bit taller than a standard soda can, but skinnier. The camera portion is mounted on the front, a microSD card slot is at the bottom along with a reset button, and there's a small grated area at the bottom, presumably for heat dissipation, since the Omna does get somewhat warm. A green LED on the front lights up when it's powered on, and a power cord is attached to the back.

Review: The Nanoleaf Smarter Kit Features Smart HomeKit-Enabled Light Bulbs With a Unique Look [Updated]

Nanoleaf, a company that specializes in energy efficient LED-based lighting, got its start on Kickstarter in 2012 with a unique set of light bulbs that looked more like art than traditional lighting with individual LEDs mounted on origami-folded printed circuit boards. Nanoleaf has since expanded from simple lightbulbs to home automation with the introduction of its Nanoleaf Home Smarter Kit. Consisting of two of its signature dimmable bulbs and a geometric hub, the Nanoleaf Home Smarter Kit integrates with Apple's HomeKit home automation platform, allowing users to control their lights both through Siri and through an accompanying Nanoleaf app. Design When it comes to the hardware, the Nanoleaf Smarter Kit is undeniably attractive. The two Ivy bulbs it ships with are some of the nicest looking bulbs you can find, suitable for use in both closed and open-style lamps and light fixtures. The hub, which connects the bulbs to the Internet, is stylish enough to sit out on a shelf or an entertainment unit without looking like an eyesore. It's without a doubt the most visually appealing HomeKit product I've tested so far. Because the bulbs that the Smarter Kit ships with are black, you'll need to take that into account with any lights where the bulbs are visible. The distinctive design is nice, but it's also not going to match with every decor. Keep in mind the hub is going to need to be plugged into the router via ethernet because this is a Zigbee setup. For the record, the Ivy bulbs are standard bulbs that are going to fit in any E26 or E27 lamp and they

'HomeKit' How Tos

How To Play Music on HomePod When Activating HomeKit Scenes Using Siri Shortcuts

Although HomePod is available in Apple's Home app, the company's smart home speaker as of yet can't be integrated into HomeKit scenes and automations. With such a feature, users would be able to activate their favorite HomeKit scenes, alongside a specific Apple Music playlist, album, or song from their HomePod. Reddit user Running_In_Space on r/HomeKit explained recently that this is actually possible today, thanks to a helpful (and super simple to create) Siri Shortcut. With the Shortcut, you can tie any Home scene together with any Apple Music playlist. While the Shortcut is limited to playlists, you can choose from your own playlists or those created by Apple Music. In the example below, we created a holiday themed Siri Shortcut that turns on Christmas tree lights (connected to an iDevices Switch) and shuffles a holiday playlist any time we say, "Hey Siri, Merry Christmas." Also remember that you'll need an Apple Music subscription, HomeKit-enabled lights or other devices of some kind, and the updated Siri Shortcuts iOS app. How to Create the Siri Shortcut Open the iOS "Shortcuts" app Tap "Create Shortcut" In the search bar, type "Get Playlist" and add it into your Shortcut Next to Playlist, tap "Choose" and pick your desired playlist Search for "Play Music" and add it (here you can also edit settings for shuffling and/or repeating the playlist) Search for "Run Home Scene" and add it Next to Home, tap "Choose" and select your home Next to Scene, tap "Choose" and select your desired scene Before you tap "Done,"

How to Use HomePod to Control Your HomeKit Devices

Apple's new $349 HomePod sounds incredible and is the ultimate speaker for Apple Music subscribers, but it's also an excellent way to manage your HomeKit-compatible devices through Siri voice commands. Controlling HomeKit accessories with Siri on HomePod isn't radically different from controlling them via an iOS device, but there are some extra HomePod benefits to be aware of. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod and HomeKit Setup If you've never used HomeKit before and you purchase a HomePod, when you set it up it's added to HomeKit and to the Home app. Setup includes a step asking you to choose a Home you're using HomePod in, and if you don't have Home settings already established, it'll let you choose the default "My Home" option, which is established for every iCloud account. If you use HomeKit already like I do, you can choose your existing home, if it has a different name. From there, you'll choose the room where your HomePod is located, which is also a HomeKit setup step. You'll be familiar with this if you've ever used HomeKit before. With these two setup steps, you establish a HomeKit setup if you didn't have one before. HomePod itself is a HomeKit accessory, and it's controlled and managed in the dedicated "Home" app along with all other HomeKit accessories. HomePod in the Home App The HomePod is listed in the Home app as an available accessory, and if you're a HomeKit user, you know how this works. If you're not, the Home app isn't tough to navigate. Your HomePod will be listed as "HomePod" on the main

How to Prevent Other HomePod Users From Affecting Your Apple Music Recommendations

Apple's HomePod speaker is best enjoyed when linked to an Apple Music subscription, since this allows you to make the most of Siri's enhanced music smarts and its DJ-like role as a personal music curator, or "mixologist", as Apple calls it. As Apple Music subscribers will know, the streaming service learns your music preferences based on what you say and play, which helps it populate the app's "For You" section with new songs that you might like, and enables Siri to generate new playlists on the fly at your request. If you're concerned that other people in your household will skew your Apple Music recommendations by using HomePod to play songs that don't align with your tastes, then there's a setting you'll want to disable as soon as possible. It's called "Use Listening History", and here's how to find it. How to Enable/Disable Your HomePod's Listening History Open the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. Long press on the HomePod icon in your Accessories list. Tap the Details button. Under the "Music & Podcasts" section, toggle on/off Use Listening History. And that's it. By turning off the setting, HomePod will happily continue to play songs from Apple's vast music catalog for anyone who asks, but the songs will be excluded from its personal curation

How to Use Your iPhone With HomeKit-Enabled Devices

Now that HomeKit-enabled accessories are hitting the market, you may be wondering what you can do with your new connected devices. Whether you are controlling the temperature, turning off lights, or locking the front door, you will be able to use your iPhone to take care of various activities around the house. If you are away from home, you’ll even be able to use Apple TV (third-generation or newer running Apple TV OS 7.0 or later) to control some functions while away from home. We've got a tutorial for getting your HomeKit-enabled accessories ready for use. Insteon's app for HomeKit-enabled lights Download the App HomeKit is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 8.1 or later. When you get your device, be sure to download the compatible app from the App Store and pair your device using the special code that comes with your new HomeKit accessory. Setup Once paired, use Siri to take control of your electronics. You can tell the virtual assistant to set the temperature or turn off the lights in the kitchen. There are some commands that will require you to unlock your iPhone before Siri will comply. For example, you won’t be able to unlock your door until you unlock your iPhone. Some apps allow you to group multiple accessories together, letting them be controlled with a single Siri command. Groupings need to be set up in third-party accessory apps, and the settings may be called "homes, rooms, or scenes." Third-party apps that offer HomeKit groupings can often incorporate HomeKit devices they're not even designed to control. Lutron's app,

'HomeKit' Guides

Getting Started With HomeKit: A Beginner's Guide

HomeKit is Apple's home automation platform for controlling smart home products with iOS apps and Siri voice commands. The platform was announced at WWDC 2014, and the first HomeKit-enabled products were released one year later. The software framework communicates directly with connected accessories within the home, securely encrypts all data and even works remotely over iCloud remote access with a third-generation Apple TV or later when you are away from

'HomeKit' Articles

ConnectSense Launches Second-Generation HomeKit-Enabled Smart Outlet

ConnectSense, one of the first companies to introduce a HomeKit-enabled smart plug, today announced the launch of the Smart Outlet 2, its second-generation HomeKit product. Like the first Smart Outlet from ConnectSense, the Smart Outlet 2 features two separately controlled outlets that replace a standard set of sockets along with a 2.4A USB port for charging iPhones and iPads. The Smart Outlet 2 connects to WiFi, so no hub is required. In addition to HomeKit, it also works with Amazon and Google smart home systems. Each one of the Smart Outlets can be used to control a separate appliance or device, adding on/off functionality through the ConnectSense app, the Home app, and Siri voice commands. With the ConnectSense app, the Smart Outlet 2 also provides details on power consumption and lets you know how long a device has been plugged in. Through HomeKit, the ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 can be added to scenes alongside other HomeKit products and automations can be created to have devices and appliances come on at a specific time. ConnectSense's Smart Outlet 2 can be purchased from the ConnectSense website and from Amazon.com for $59 starting

Ikea's Trådfri Smart Plugs Can Be Purchased in the US and UK, But HomeKit Compatibility Isn't Available Yet

Ikea's much-anticipated Trådfri smart outlets are now available for purchase in both the UK and the United States, providing a super affordable soon-to-be HomeKit-compatible smart plug solution for those who want to take advantage of HomeKit without spending a lot of money. The Trådfri smart plug can be purchased for just $9.99 (or GBP9.99 in the UK), which is much cheaper than other HomeKit-enabled smart plug options on the market. Unfortunately, while HomeKit support is in the works for the Trådfri smart plug, it isn't available just yet. An Ikea employee on the Trådfri team said yesterday on Reddit that HomeKit integration wasn't able to be implemented ahead of when the smart plug was released. HomeKit support is in the works, however, and in the meantime, the smart plug can be controlled via the Trådfri app. Using the Trådfri smart plug requires the $30 Trådfri Gateway. The Gateway is needed for all of Ikea's affordable smart home solutions, including light bulbs, dimmers, motion sensors, and more. There's no word on when HomeKit support will be available for the Trådfri smart plug, but HomeKit was added for Trådfri smart lights connected to the gateway late last year. When HomeKit is available for the smart plug, the Trådfri system will be one of the cheapest ways to get a complete set of HomeKit products even with the expense and inconvenience of a hub. The Trådfri smart plug was spotted on the Ikea website back in early October, but as Pocket-lint points out, it did not become available for purchase until

Black Friday 2018: Best Deals on Smart Home Products and HomeKit Devices

Beyond Apple products, there are tons of smart home devices, both HomeKit-enabled and non-HomeKit, that are available at a discount during Black Friday. Almost every major retailer has discounts on products from companies like Amazon, Google, Nest, Hue, and more, and we've rounded up some of the best deals below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so make sure to check out our Black Friday roundup for even more deals. HomeKit Devices Hue Hue White and Color Ambiance Bulbs - $39.99, a 20% discount, from Best Buy Hue White and Color Ambiance LED Starter Kit - $119.99, down from $189.99 from Best Buy Hue Lightstrip Plus Smart Light - $59.99, down from $89.99 from Best Buy All Hue lighting products - Up to 40 percent off from AmazonLutronLutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Switch Kit - $79.95, down from $99.95 from Lowe'sEveEve Light Switch (11/22) - $39.96, down from $49.95 from Amazon Eve Energy (11/23) - $39.96, down from $49.95 from Amazon Eve Room (11/23) - $79.96, down from $99.95 from Amazon Eve Door and Window (11/24) - $29.95, down from $39.95 from Amazon Eve Degree (11/24) - $47.85, down from $54.95 from Amazon Eve Motion (11/24) - $34.95, down from $48.56 from AmazonKoogeekKoogeek E26 WiFi Smart Bulb - $15.99, down from $39.99 with promo code MFJMEQ2A on Amazon Koogeek Door Window Sensor - $23.99, down from $35.81 with promo code W56WOCN3 on Amazon Non-HomeKit Smart Home Products Google Google Home Hub - $99.99, down from $149.99 from Best Buy and Walmart Google Home Mini 3-pack - $69.99, down from $99.99 from Costco A

Wemo's WiFi Smart Dimmer Gains HomeKit Compatibility Through New Firmware Update

Belkin's Wemo brand today announced HomeKit support for the Wemo WiFi Smart Dimmer, which is being added to existing Smart Dimmer switches through a software update. Wemo's Smart Dimmer, priced at $79.99, is a wall switch that replaces a traditional wall switch and is designed to dim connected lights. With HomeKit integration, the Smart Dimmer can be controlled via Siri voice commands on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomePod, and it adds controls for the device in the Home app."More than 1.5 million Wemo Mini and Dimmers are in the hands of consumers and people can now leverage this software update for use with the Wemo devices they already own," said Justin Doucette, senior director of product management for Wemo. "Our mission is to make the smart home experience simple, approachable and fun to use. With this new integration we aim to continue providing easy solutions to everyday tasks and add value through on-going software updates."Smart Dimmer switches will also be able to be integrated into HomeKit scenes right alongside other HomeKit devices, and remote access is available through a home hub that includes HomePod, Apple TV, or an iPad. The Smart Dimmer switches are the second Wemo product to gain direct HomeKit support, joining the Wemo Mini Smart Plug. Other Belkin products, such as the Insight Smart Plug, Motion Sensor, and Light Switch are able to connect to HomeKit setups through the Wemo Smart Bridge. Wemo says that the update that will enable HomeKit support for its Dimmer switches is rolling out today, with the firmware able to

Ikea Trådfri Smart Plugs Appear on U.S. Online Store for $9.99, Not Available to Purchase Yet

Last month Ikea began rolling out the HomeKit-compatible Trådfri smart plug to Sweden and a few other countries in the European Union. Today, HomeKit News spotted the same smart plugs in listings on the United States Ikea website, suggesting a launch in the U.S. sometime later this month. Ikea's Trådfri smart plug connects to the company's existing Trådfri Gateway ($29.99), which connects a variety of other smart home products like light bulbs, dimmers, motion sensors, and more. Among the list of Trådfri products, U.S. shoppers can now see the "Trådfri Wireless Control Outlet" -- or smart plug -- near the bottom. At the time of writing, the smart plug is not available online and not sold in stores yet. In the U.S., the Trådfri smart plug will cost $9.99 for a single plug and $14.99 for one plug and a wireless remote control button. The price of a single smart plug at Ikea is far lower than the cost of rival HomeKit smart plugs, like Eve Energy ($49.21 on Amazon), Wemo Mini Smart Plug ($29.95), iDevices Switch ($28.40), and the iHome Wi-Fi Smart Plug ($22.86). The Trådfri Wireless Control Outlet was also spotted on the UK Ikea website for £9.00. When added to HomeKit, the Trådfri accessories can be controlled through Siri, scenes, and custom automations. For smart plugs, you can attach a regular lamp, coffee maker, tea kettle, or other household appliance to the plug and control it through Ikea's own app, or with Apple's Home app. Ikea first introduced HomeKit support for the Trådfri system in November

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller Gains HomeKit Support

Rachio today announced that it has added HomeKit support to its Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, allowing the device to work with Siri and other HomeKit accessories to control sprinklers. According to Rachio, its Smart Sprinkler Controller is the first sprinkler controller to offer HomeKit integration. The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller works with the Home app or through the Rachio app, and connected sprinklers can be controlled from any iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, or Apple TV. With a HomePod or an Apple TV available for remote access, connected sprinklers can also be controlled when away from home."We are excited to bring HomeKit support to Rachio customers," said Chris Klein, CEO and co-founder of Rachio. "HomeKit users already have a smart home, and now they can have a smart yard, too. Rachio consumers have been asking for HomeKit integration, and we are excited to deliver it to them with our new Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller."Rachio's Wi-Fi connected Smart Sprinkler Controller, priced at $229, offers up features that include easy installation, a Flow Meter for monitoring water usage, and Hyperlocal Weather Intelligence for turning on sprinklers only in appropriate weather. The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller can be purchased from the Rachio website.

Nanoleaf Previews New 'Canvas' Square Lighting Panels That Work With HomeKit

Nanoleaf, the company known for its HomeKit-enabled triangular Light Panels, is expanding into new shapes with the Nanoleaf Canvas. Nanoleaf Canvas features square-shaped touch-enabled panels that can be set to hundreds of different colors. With just a touch, you can activate the light panels, increase or decrease brightness, or change them to another color. Nanoleaf's Canvas panels were initially shown off at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in January, but they also made an appearance at the IFA trade show in Berlin this week, where the company offered up new details on the product. Both CNET and Digital Trends were able to get some hands-on time with the upcoming light panels and have shared some thoughts. According to Digital Trends, the Canvas is "more versatile" than the current triangular light panels, with touch "[elevating] the product to a whole new level." Like the existing Nanoleaf Light Panels, the upcoming Canvas panels are HomeKit enabled and can be controlled using the Nanoleaf app or various Siri voice commands. They can also be incorporated into scenes with other HomeKit products. The Canvas attaches to walls, the ceiling, or furniture using adhesive pads, much like the current Light Panels, and users can arrange them in any desired pattern. Connectors join the squares together. Up to 500 panels can be connected to a single base station with the Canvas, allowing for entire wall setups outfitted with the lights. CNET was told that while the original plan was to get rid of the cross-shaped divider in the middle of the panels, the

Eve Systems Announces New Light Strip, Power Strip and Light Switch

Eve Systems, formerly Elgato, today announced several new additions to its popular HomeKit product lineup, including a power strip, a light strip, and a new light switch for use in Europe. The Eve Light Strip follows the Eve Flare, a HomeKit-connected mood lamp that was released in May. The Eve Flare was limited to countries in Europe and is not available in the U.S., but the Light Strip will see a wider release. The LED light strip works with a selection of pre-installed lighting scenes and allows users to set their own colors. According to Eve, the Light Strip provides up to 1800 lumens across its two meter length thanks to triple-diode architecture. Eve Light Strip can be extended to a total length of 10m with additional light strip purchases. Unlike most Eve products, which connect to HomeKit over Bluetooth, the Light Strip connects using a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection. It does not, however, require a bridge and works on a standalone basis. The Eve Power Strip is a triple-socket power strip that adds separate HomeKit-based controls to three devices that are plugged into it. It features a black housing that's framed in aluminum, with built-in surge protection safeguards. With the Eve app, the Eve Power Strip is able to measure power consumption and provide energy cost projections, allowing users to keep track of power usage for the devices that are plugged in. Like the Eve Light Strip, Eve Power Strip connects to a HomeKit setup using a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection. The third product Eve is announcing today is a new Eve Light Switch, which is designed to

Updated Eve Room With New Aluminum Design, E-Ink Screen, and HomeKit Support Available for Pre-Order

The newly-branded Eve Systems today opened up pre-orders for the second generation of its Eve Room climate and air quality sensor, ahead of a launch on September 12. The new device was first revealed at CES in January and is compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform, measuring air quality, temperature, and humidity in whatever room it's placed. The original Eve Room was a square white box that launched in 2015, also providing data about indoor air quality, temperature and humidity, which you had to view on a connected smartphone or through Siri inquiries. The second generation makes viewing all of this information at a glance much easier thanks to a high-contrast 1.54-inch E-ink display, surrounded by an anodized aluminum body. Four different screen layouts are available to choose from, allowing users to pick "the most relevant room parameters" that can be viewed at a distance and changed via capacitive touch controls on the front panel. It also replaces AA batteries with a rechargeable internal battery that lasts for six weeks at a time. The unit includes an energy-saving mode that limits measurements until the next full charge when it's low on battery, but users can opt to plug Eve Room 2 in permanently to a power supply as well. "After the first, highly successful generation of Eve Room, this new version raises the bar even higher," says Markus Fest, Managing Director of Eve Systems. "No other air quality sensor offers this level of accuracy, design quality, and energy efficiency." Of course, you can also still view readings on the company's app or by asking

Apple Signals Smart Home Mesh Networking Interest by Joining 'The Thread Group'

Apple has become a member of The Thread Group, an organization that supports companies interested in innovating networking solutions for consumer smart home devices using the Thread mesh standard (via 9to5Mac). Apple has been added to the list of official members on the group's website, although what that means in practical terms is unclear. According to literature available online, the group's mission is "to focus on education, marketing, promotion of the Thread Networking Protocol, and ensuring a great experience through rigorous, meaningful product certification". Thread Group is a not-for-profit organization responsible for the market education around the Thread networking protocol and certification of Thread products. Thread is an IP-based wireless networking protocol providing the best way to connect products in the home. With Thread, product developers and consumers can easily and securely connect more than 250 devices into a low-power, wireless mesh network.Thread is just one among several mesh standards that smart home products can be certified to support. Zigbee and Z-Wave are two such examples of rival standards competing in the connected home market, while Bluetooth was also recently updated to support mesh networking, or creating large-scale networks across devices without relying on a central hub or router. In recent years, Wi-Fi mesh systems have become a popular solution for in-home wireless networks, with options from companies like Linksys, Orbi, Eero, and Google. The technology is also looking to expand, with the Wi-Fi Alliance in May

VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO Smart Skylight System Gains HomeKit Support

Following a demo at CES in January, the VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO smart skylight system has now launched on the iOS App Store [Direct Link] with HomeKit support. The app pairs with the new VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO climate control and monitoring system to enable smartphone control and automation of the skylights, costing $295. The company says that this marks the first time that skylights will be able to connect to Apple's HomeKit platform, allowing users to open or close the skylight in the Home app or using Siri on iOS, Apple Watch, and HomePod. HomeKit support will be available in new VELUX skylights, as well as existing skylights made by the company and enabled through the new app. The skylights include smart sensor technology to monitor CO2, humidity levels, and temperature in the home, which it combines with local weather data to automatically open the skylights if fresh air is needed. This helps create a more comfortable living environment through improved air quality, according to the company. With HomeKit controls, homeowners can also further automate the skylight system and can add it into various scenes in the Home app, or automatically open or close it as they arrive or leave their home. The company explains that the VELUX ACTIVE skylight system was built with technology from French company NETATMO: "VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO is the result of two stunning technologies: high standard VELUX skylights and Netatmo's know-how for creating simple and useful products and apps," said Fred Potter, founder and CEO of Netatmo. "By automating the opening,

GE's Full Lineup of HomeKit-Enabled Window Air Conditioners Now Available in the U.S.

After a soft launch of just one model earlier this spring, GE today announced the launch of its full lineup of HomeKit-enabled window air conditioning units. While there are a few other HomeKit air conditioners on the market outside of the United States, the new units represent the first HomeKit-compatible air conditioners to launch in the U.S. GE's air conditioners deliver 8,000 to 12,000 BTUs and can cool medium- to large-sized rooms, according to the company. With HomeKit control, customers can add the units into the Home app on iOS, connecting them to Scenes, controlling them with Siri, or automating them to activate and deactivate when they arrive and leave their home. “Consumers told us they like how they can create their own schedules to keep rooms comfortable without wasting energy,” said John Desmarais, Commercial Director, Window A/C, Portables & Dehumidifiers for GE Appliances. “Many people also found peace of mind in having control of the unit anywhere they have internet access. We’re pleased to offer the very first air conditioners with HomeKit integration, bringing simple and secure control through the Apple Home app and using Siri. We are confident owners will find the convenience at the tip of their fingers.” Each unit has cooling settings for four-way air direction and an "Energy Saver" mode that automatically shuts off the fan and compressor when the room is cool enough, reducing electricity consumption and helping to save money on monthly bills. Although HomeKit control is supported, GE's air conditioners also come with an electronic digital

Apple Begins Selling Danalock V3, First Retrofit HomeKit-Enabled Smart Lock Available in Europe

Danalock today announced that the HomeKit version of its Danalock V3 smart lock is now available for purchase from Apple's website and retail stores in more than 20 other countries across Europe, after limited availability in April. Danalock V3 is said to be the first and only retrofit smart lock compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform and Home app in Europe. Like the August Smart Lock, it is mounted on the inside of the door, enabling users to use a regular key for locking and unlocking the door from the outside if needed. HomeKit support means users can control the lock with Siri voice commands or the Home app using an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, without needing a physical key. Through the Home app, it's also possible to give keyless access to family members. For added convenience, users can connect the Danalock with other HomeKit accessories, such as cameras, lights, thermostats, switches, and security systems. Apple's online store notes that the Danalock V3 is easy to install and globally compatible, with an adjustable cylinder set included in the box in countries outside of Scandinavia. It is battery powered and uses advanced AES-256 encryption. Danalock V3 with HomeKit is available at select Apple retail stores in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. It's also available on Apple's online store in more than 20 countries in Europe and on Danalock's website. Pricing: £219.95 in the United Kingdom and €249.95 in most other European

Elgato Announces New HomeKit-Enabled Eve Aqua and Eve Flare Lamp

Elgato today announced the launch of two new HomeKit-enabled accessories, the Eve Aqua and the Eve Flare. The Eve Aqua is a HomeKit-enabled smart water controller, timer, and usage meter that's designed to control your sprinklers. With Eve Aqua, you can control your sprinklers or other irrigation system using the Eve app, the Home app, or Siri voice commands. There is an auto shutoff feature so you can enable the Eve Aqua via a voice command and then trust it to shut off after a period of time. Like other Eve products, the Eve Aqua connects to a HomeKit setup using Bluetooth. Using HomeKit timers and automations, you can create autonomous schedules for your sprinkler system with the Eve app, and if you have an iPad, Apple TV, or HomePod as a home hub you can control your outdoor irrigation while away from home. In addition to offering control over your water system, the Eve Aqua is able to track water consumption based on an irrigation system's flow rate, with the information visible in the Eve app. The Eve Aqua is UV and water resistant and can be left connected up to your irrigation system all the time. Elgato's new Eve Aqua is priced at $99.95 and can be pre-ordered from the Elgato website in the United States starting today. Along with the Eve Aqua, Elgato is also debuting the Eve Flare, a HomeKit-enabled portable LED lamp that's available exclusively in Europe. The Bluetooth-enabled Eve Flare is a round multi-colored indoor/outdoor lamp that's water resistant and able to offer six hours of illumination. It charges wirelessly and features

First Alert's All-in-One HomeKit-Enabled Smoke Detector, Speaker, and Alexa Assistant Now Available to Order

First Alert has announced that its Onelink Safe & Sound smoke and carbon monoxide detector is now available to order. Introduced at CES 2018, the Onelink Safe & Sound distinguishes itself from a traditional smoke detector with a built-in speaker and noice-canceling microphones, and support for Amazon Alexa, making it a ceiling-mounted assistant. Homeowners can ask Alexa to stream music from Amazon Music, Pandora, and soon Spotify, read the news, check the weather, control other smart home devices, and more. Audio playback is also supported via Bluetooth. Onelink Safe & Sound also supports HomeKit, enabling iPhone and iPad users to control the detector with Siri or Apple's Home app. While its latest press release does not mention AirPlay 2, First Alert has informed MacRumors that the Safe & Sound's speaker will support the since-delayed Apple protocol as soon as it is available, enabling multi-room audio and Siri control for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users through the Home app. AirPlay 2 support will allow a homeowner to install multiple detectors around the house and control audio on a room-by-room basis. In terms of the detector itself, an alarm alerts homeowners on their smartphones in the event of a smoke or carbon monoxide emergency, whether home or away. With exclusive voice and location technology by First Alert, the Safe & Sound alerts users to the type of danger and its location within the home. Beyond its smart alarm capabilities, the Safe & Sound also features a customizable night light with multiple colors and brightness levels.

Arlo Pro Camera Firmware Release Notes Suggest Incoming HomeKit Support

Netgear's line of connected smart home cameras, called "Arlo," currently only support HomeKit for the Arlo Baby camera. However, this could be changing in the near future as release notes posted by an Arlo community manager on the company forums suggest that support for HomeKit will be part of a soon-to-launch firmware update for the Arlo Pro camera. There are a variety of wire-free and AC-powered Arlo devices, including the base Arlo camera, Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Go, Arlo Q, and Arlo Q Plus. According to the release notes in the forums, HomeKit would only be coming to the wire-free Arlo Pro camera. Recent release notes for the Arlo Pro 2 lack a mention of HomeKit support, but it's unclear why the company would limit HomeKit to just the first generation of the Arlo Pro line. For the Arlo Pro, the update also includes a fix for high pixelation of images, support for new Wi-Fi codes, and more. Arlo Pro Camera 1.092.0.13_19715 - Fix for high pixilation of images - Include backwards error correction to minimize ghosting - Add support for new wifi codes - Add support for Homekit - Add support for H15 hardware - Bug Fixes Netgear introduced HomeKit into the Arlo Baby camera in February through an update to the Arlo iOS app. When smart home devices support HomeKit, users can then add them into Apple's Home app, where it's much easier to connect a variety of products into scenes for a home that can then be controlled with a tap of a button or through Siri. Yesterday, Netgear launched the Arlo Security Light as a companion product to its cameras. The

HomeKit-Enabled GE Window Air Conditioner Now Available for Purchase

GE has a new HomeKit-enabled single-room air conditioner available for purchase, which is the first HomeKit-compatible GE product that's launched so far. The GE Energy Star 115 Volt Electronic Room Air Conditioner (model number AHP08LX) can be purchased exclusively from Lowe's for $319. Though Lowe's is charging $319, the GE site says the MSRP for the device is $269, so it may be prudent to wait for a sale. According to GE, the Window Air Conditioner offers 8,000 BTUs sufficient for cooling medium-sized rooms of 250 to 350 square feet. It comes equipped with a WiFi Connect feature, designed to allow the unit to be controlled via a smartphone. WiFi Connect supports HomeKit, allowing the device to be monitored and accessed through the dedicated Apple Home app and through Siri commands. HomeKit compatibility also lets it be incorporated into scenes and automations. There are few HomeKit-enabled air conditioning units on the market at this point in time, with the only other HomeKit air conditioner available from Haier in a limited number of

Amazon Has Reportedly Gained Edge Over Apple in Deals With Smart Home Builders

Amazon appears to have gained an edge over Apple in deals with smart home builders, according to The Information. The paywalled report claims that an increasing number of home builders have agreed to partnerships with Amazon to build homes with preinstalled Alexa-enabled accessories, rather than HomeKit-based products from Apple. Last year, for example, Amazon reportedly struck a large-scale deal with Lennar, one of the biggest home builders in the United States. Lennar first had a partnership with Apple in 2016, but the company is "prioritizing Amazon now."As part of its deal, Lennar gets access to Amazon's growing army of so-called Amazon experts, the company's in-home service team, to go around to every new homeowner and make sure their smart home is hooked up. Every new Lennar home comes with Echo Dot speakers and Echo Show displays to connect with Alexa, as well as a suite of connected doorbells, locks, light switches and thermostat.A few other builders, such as Arizona-based Meritage Homes and Shea Homes, also said they considered Apple but opted for Amazon."Apple is closed source about what will talk to their system, so we shied away from it," said CR Herro, a vice president with Arizona-based Meritage Homes. "I don't want to restrict what I think the future could be because I have no idea what it will be."The report claims that Apple requiring accessory makers to install an authentication chip for HomeKit compatibility has "significantly limited the number of new devices getting to market," but that is no longer the case, as iOS 11.3 introduced

Ring Video Doorbell Gets New $99 Price Tag Following Amazon Acquisition

Ring today announced [PDF] that its acquisition by Amazon has been completed, and following the merger, Amazon has permanently dropped the price tag of the entry-level first-generation Ring Video Doorbell. The Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell is now available from Amazon for $99.99, $50 off of the original $149 MSRP for the accessory. The Video Doorbell, which offers 720p video, is designed to allow you to see and speak to anyone who comes to the door using a connected smartphone. While the entry-level Ring is available for $99, upgraded versions are more expensive. The Video Doorbell 2 with 1080p resolution is $199, the Video Doorbell Pro, which is hardwired, is $249, and the Video Doorbell Elite, described as a "professional-grade doorbell" is $499. Ring also makes a line of Spotlight and Floodlight Cams. Ring and Amazon are aiming to cut down on crime in neighborhoods with their partnership, and an LAPD pilot program has suggested the Ring Video Doorbell can reduce burglaries by as much as 55 percent."Our mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods has been at the core of everything we do at Ring," said Jamie Siminoff, CEO and Chief Inventor of Ring. "Together with Amazon, we will accelerate our mission dramatically by connecting more neighbors globally and making our security devices and systems more affordable and accessible. The entire Ring team is excited to continue working hard to create products and services that bring real benefits to people's lives and build safer communities for all our neighbors."Ring has been promising to add HomeKit integration to

The Best HomeKit Products You Can Buy

Apple's smart home platform, HomeKit, has grown significantly since its 2015 launch, and there are now dozens of HomeKit products on the market that include everything from lights and smart outlets to thermostats, fans, cameras, and locks. There are so many HomeKit products available that you can essentially outfit an entire house with smart accessories, but it can be tough to figure out the best HomeKit products if you're new to the ecosystem. In our latest YouTube video, we've rounded up several of our favorite HomeKit products. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Our video encompasses several product categories, including smart locks, connected lights, smart outlets for adding HomeKit functionality to any appliance or device, thermostats, buttons for easier control, and more. Products mentioned in the video are listed below with prices and purchase links: August Smart Lock Pro ($220) Yale Assure Lock with iM1 Network Module ($200) Philips Hue Lights and Hue Tap ($134 for a Hue White Starter Kit, $49 for Hue Tap) LIFX (Starting at $25 for LIFX Mini White) Nanoleaf Light Panels ($230) Sensi Touch Thermostat ($150) Ecobee4 Thermostat ($250) iDevices Switch ($30) Logitech Pop Smart Button ($60) Elgato Eve Button ($50) HomeKit products are designed to allow all of your devices to be controlled via the Home app and through Siri commands. The platform includes scenes, automations, triggers, and more, allowing for you to automate the smart home products you own. You can control HomeKit devices using an