Tony Fadell is often referred to as the ‘father of the iPod’. He’s a former Apple engineer who helped develop Apple’s first portable music player along with Jeff Robbin, and he’s just announced a new 100-person startup called Nest Labs.
Having been a former DJ and overseeing 18 iterations of the iPod and the three generations of the iPhone, we’ve been keen to find out what Fadell and his company have been working on. But it isn’t a revolutionary new music player or communication device. It’s a thermostat.
Of course, it’s not just a bog-standard thermostat, but a “Learning Thermostat” — a device that brings Apple-esque design and innovation into home heating appliances. Nest claims the Learning Thermostat is easy to use, it programs itself, and it learns every time you use it. And according to CNET, it’ll save you 20%—30% off your energy bills:
With its Learning Thermostat, Nest is going all in and telling the world that a ubiquitous but hard-to-master device that hasn’t had a major redesign in decades is due for a shot of iPod and iPhone design magic. Fadell and his team think they’ve come up with an alternative that’s easy to use and that learns from what we do. Along the way, the company thinks it could cut 20 percent to 30 percent off the average household’s $1,000 or so in annual energy bills.
Like the iPod that Fadell helped create, the Learning Thermostat is a compact device that features a small digital display and is controlled by a wheel. You simply push the front of the device to make selections within the menus. To control the device remotely, there’s an iOS app for your iPhone, and another coming soon for Android devices.
Fadell also enlisted the expertise of former Apple colleagues Matt Rogers and Mike Matas to help develop the Learning Thermostat. Rogers helped design the device while Matas focused on its simplistic user interface.
The Learning Thermostat isn’t just good-looking, but it’s also incredibly clever. Nest says that after a week of use, the device picks up your preferred temperatures and schedule, and automatically adjusts the temperature in your home accordingly.
Not only will it learn simple changes to the temperature at certain times throughout the day, but a promotional clip for the device claims, “And if Tuesday is bowling night and you usually raise the temperature after you get home late, Nest will learn that, too.” Alternatively, you can adjust the schedule manually. When Nest “senses that the house is empty,” its Auto-Away will automatically adjust itself to an energy conserving temperature.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with 85% of American household HVAC systems and goes on sale in November at Best Buy stores, with a price tag of $249.
What do you think of the Nest Learning Thermostat?