SmartPlug turns your home into a modern-day Clapper

By

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.

Custom ID chip is key to Apple’s HomeKit

By

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Our house of tomorrow is going to have to wait.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomeKit connected devices are rolling out slower than expected, and one reason for this is that Apple reportedly requires that anyone making a third-party HomeKit device buy and use a special identity chip — a fact that caught many devs unawares.

“I know a lot of people who have been surprised by this requirement and had to re-spin boards for the chip,” said Michael Anderson, chief scientist of engineering firm PTR Group during a recent talk. “A lot of manufacturers are up in arms [about the] Apple silicon [that makes their] device more expensive.”

Apple loves this new security cam and its 1TB of storage

By

The Uniden home security system is only available from the manufacturer or Apple.
The Uniden home security system is only available from the manufacturer or Apple.
Photo: Uniden

Home security system manufacturer Uniden just released a swanky new system that can store 120 days’ worth of data and, if you want one, you’ll have to go directly through the manufacturer or Apple.

The Uniden Wireless DVR HDD comes with two cameras and a 1TB drive for storing your home movies like so many unwatched episodes of Psych. And it could lead to some bad news for smart-thermostat maker Nest’s own security offering.