Tim Cook is living in the future (and you can too)

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This is not Tim Cook's actual home.
This is not Tim Cook's actual home.
Photo: Samuel Zeller/Unsplash CC

Tim Cook is living the Jetsons lifestyle — minus the jetpack and flying car — thanks to Siri and the growing number of HomeKit devices on the market.

The Apple CEO offered a rare glimpse into his private life Tuesday during Apple’s quarterly financial report, painting a picture of techno-utopian comfort and ease. It was Cook’s most personal world-beating earnings call ever, and it sent a message: Apple is serious about home automation.

Elgato’s HomeKit motion sensor is ready to automate your house

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The new Eve Motion sensor can detect when you get home.
The new Eve Motion sensor can detect when you get home.
Photo: Elgato

Turning your dumb old house into a Jetsons-style smart home of the future just got a little bit easier, with Elgato’s introduction of a super-cheap motion sensor.

The HomeKit-connected device, called Eve Motion, lets users pair it with other smart appliances and gadgets to automate workflows. You can then use Eve Motion to trigger a series of tasks, like turning on the lights when it detects that you walk into a room.

Ex-Apple exec’s $35 million mansion is smart home of our dreams

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If the house of the future looks like this, I can't wait to get there.
Photo: Suzanne Perkins

Former Apple exec Michael Barnick is selling his $35 million California mansion, and all we can say is … wow!

Not only is the home the epitome of iPod minimalist modernism, but it’s (perhaps unsurprisingly) pretty high-tech, too. Controllable entirely via iPhone or iPad, the list of automated features includes lighting, music, TV, air conditioning, window blinds, fireplaces and door locks — with Barnick himself designing the home-automation setup.

Check out some of the gorgeous pictures below.

Fancy new smart lock can see who’s at your door

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nucli smart lock by westinghouse
The Nucli smart lock by Westinghouse.
Photo: Westinghouse

Electrics giant Westinghouse is getting into the connected-home game, and its first offering is a smart lock that looks like it should be seeing if it can’t lock down a stabilizer in a Star Wars X-Wing.

The Nucli (which is pronounced “new-klee” and not “nuck-lee,” regardless of how your brain sees it) will offer a wealth of features to help you secure your domain.

SmartPlug turns your home into a modern-day Clapper

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iHome SmartPlug HomeKit
You may not get a whole lot of use out of a single SmartPlug.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Home automation, specifically Apple’s HomeKit framework and its compatible accessories, is the latest Thing We’re Supposed to Get Excited About™. And it has a lot of promise for convenience, time-saving, and just generally feeling like you live in the future.

The first HomeKit-compatible smartplug is upon us, courtesy of iHome. The ISP5 SmartPlug is a $40 device that plugs into your wall outlet and lets you run whatever you plug into it from your iPhone, using either Siri or the companion app.

It does everything it says it will: You can set up rooms and zones, and control individual appliances or whole groups of them with a tap or quick voice command. It also lets you build “rules” to make your stuff turn on and off without your input. All of this is cool, but when you actually have one, you might struggle to think of useful ways to use it.

Apple Watch wins the wrist war before it starts

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Apple Watch did some monster pre-orders in its first day on sale. Photo: Leander Kahney
The closer we get to Apple Watch, the more advanced it looks in comparison to its competition. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Ever since Tim Cook unveiled the Apple Watch last September, it’s been one disappointment after another as far as I’m concerned. Apple’s first wearable won’t come in the minimalist form factor of the fitness bracelets I love. Worse yet, the launch version of the fashion-forward device will lack GPS, suffer from underwhelming battery life and fail to offer truly native third-party apps.

For the first time, I realized I would not be buying an Apple product when it first hit the market. “It’s not worth lining up for,” I told my dad when he asked what I thought after the Apple Watch’s big reveal.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Apple Watch’s launch day, which is coming sometime this spring. And I’m not talking about the previously unthinkable — an Apple fan calling the Microsoft Band the best smartwatch on the planet. No, I’m talking about wading through an ungodly sea of really bad smartwatches at International CES earlier this month and seeing indisputable proof of just how innovative and disruptive Apple Watch actually will be.

With HomeKit on horizon, home automation is about to get real

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Wall of Philips remotes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Wall of Philips remotes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

The year is 2018. After a long day at work, you pull into your driveway, whip out your iPhone 10 Plus and say, “Siri, I’m home.”

Your garage door opens silently, beckoning you to enter the ultra-connected smart home of the future.

As you walk in, your lights turn on. The wife used to get on you about leaving the lights on, but her nagging feels like a distant memory now. Your thermostat cools everything down to a comfortable 69 degrees. Knowing that you pulled into the driveway two minutes ago, your oven has started preheating itself. You usually fix dinner for yourself on Thursdays, so it’s time for frozen pizza.

iDevices’ HomeKit-compatible Switch lets Siri light up your house

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iDevices' HomeKit-compatible Switch lets you control anything you plug into it using an iOS app. Photo: iDevices
iDevices' HomeKit-compatible Switch lets you control anything you plug into it using an iOS app. Photo: iDevices

LAS VEGAS — iDevices’ first HomeKit-compatible product will be a simple on-off switch that turns your iPhone into a remote control for lamps and appliances.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 It’s name is simple too: Switch.

The $49.99 rectangular device plugs into an outlet. You plug a standard electrical device like a lamp or stereo into its convenient side outlet, and then you can turn that device on and off remotely. Switch comes in plain white, although a colored band of lights can be programmed to glow in custom colors to brighten up a dark hallway.

“You can change it to any color you like,” said Dan Cepa, iDevices’ senior director of sales, during CES International.

Nest buys home-automation rival Revolv to shut it down

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Revolv was snapped up by Nest -- although it doesn't look like it'll remain revolving for long. Photo: Revolv
Revolv was snapped up by Nest -- although it doesn't look like it'll remain revolving for long. Photo: Revolv

Nest has acquired Revolv, the Colarado-based startup which allowed users to control their smart home devices from a single interface using their smartphone.

No price has yet been announced for the purchase, which follows Nest’s $555 million Dropcam purchase back in June, and Nest’s own acquisition by Google for a massive $3.2 billion earlier this year.