One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.
This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.
Lightbulbs are boring. Sure, everyone likes them on some small level because they need them, but I doubt anyone really loves their lightbulbs or thinks they’re amazing. This year, Philips did the impossible and made lightbulbs cool when they introduced the Hue smart LED lightbulbs, and they’ve become one of my favorite new things in tech.
I’ve been using Hue for the past month and it’s an incredible product. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the Hue bulbs, they’re basically LED lightbulbs that are super energy efficient, but they also connect to each other over Wi-Fi so you can can control them from your iPhone or iPad. Oh yeah, and they change colors on command. Want to feel like you’re living inside a sunset? No problem; just upload your favorite sunset picture in the Hue app and the smart hub transforms the lighting in your room to a picturesque sunset scene.
The lighting in my apartment is horrible and yellow and just straight-up ugly, but since I’ve switched all my incandescent bulbs to Hue bulbs it feels like a different place. I’ll blast my desk area with clean, white light while I’m working and it’ll help me stay on task. When I’m watching a zombie horror movie I change the lights to a dim, bloody red.
Because all of the Hue bulbs are connected to a Wi-Fi network, I can pull up to my place at night and turn the lights on when I’m in the car so that once I open the door I won’t be afraid of monsters hiding in the dark. You can even set the lights on a timer so if you pass out after a wild party you’re not burning coal-sourced electricity that some poor boy in Appalachia sacrificed his healthy lungs for.
A pack of three Hue bulbs with the smart hub will set you back $200, which is a bit more pricey than most people are going to want to pay, but if you want to make your house smarter and more energy efficient, these are the bulbs I’d get.
The best thing about the Hue bulbs is how futuristic they feel, yet they’re super easy to set up and use. When my two year-old nephew comes over and starts playing with my iPad, the first thing he likes to do is change the color of the lights from white to blue to red then green and whatever else he’s in the mood for that day.
Philips’ Hue bulbs make you feel like the future is finally here. They haven’t changed my life and I could live without them, but they’re so awesome that I don’t want to.
Want to see more of our 2012 Advent Calendar goodies? Check out our complete 2012 Advent Calendar archive for more of our picks!