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


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


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


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 TV will be the new digital hub for HomeKit

Apple's new improved TV could be coming as early as this fall.
Your new digital hub awaits.
Photo: Robert S. DonovanFlickr CC

Hidden in HomeKit documentation published today is the intriguing confirmation that Apple TV will serve as the digital hub for Apple’s new home-automation setup.

It’s a reminder of just how seriously Apple now treats the set-top box that it dismissed as a “hobby” a few years ago.

Apple Watch wins the wrist war before it starts


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.