All items tagged with "HomeKit"

Apple Watch wins the wrist war before it starts

Apple Watch. 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.

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

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

Soon this wall of antiquated remotes will be a thing of the past. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

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.

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Best of CES 2015: Get a glimpse of the fantastic future

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Anything goes at International CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Walk the halls of the massive International CES trade show and you’ll be bombarded by an outrageous number of pitches for products with radical new features.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 You can glimpse the shiny happy future of consumer electronics at the show, although some of the innovations on display are clearly destined for the dustbin of gadget history.

At the biggest booths, reps for big companies like Sony and Samsung — but, sadly, not Apple — talk up the latest additions to their product lines. At smaller booths, inventors show off prototypes for products that may not ever roll off an assembly line. There’s a nonstop blitz of “world’s first” products.

It’s impossible to see everything, but it’s a blast trying. Here are Cult of Mac’s picks for the best of CES 2015, from Lightning-enabled headphones and massive TVs to drones and self-adjusting belts.

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

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.

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Smart home war heats up as Nest adds new partners

One of the fathers of the iPod, Tony Fadell, made smart homes a reality with the turn of this beautiful clickwheel thermostat. Nest is so easy and responsive that one weekend with using it while dogsitting at a friend’s place made me never want to leave. It’s one thing to feel comfortable in a home, but another to feel like the home is making itself comfortable for you. Google broke out the piggy bank to buy it for $3.2 billion early this year, making Apple’s quest to rule the Internet of Things that much more challenging.

The Nest thermostat just got a lot smarter. Photo: Nest

LAS VEGAS — When it comes to the smart home, there are two key players right now: Apple and Nest, the latter of which is owned by Google. While plenty of smart lock and thermostat makers are starting to support Apple’s HomeKit, the “Works with Nest” family is also growing.

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Smart home is about to blow up thanks to Apple

HomeKit Hardware is coming soon. Photo: Cult of Mac

HomeKit Hardware is coming soon. Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple’s splash into home automation with addition of HomeKit to iOS 8 is expected to have a huge impact on sales of smart home devices in 2015 according to a Park Associates report that found 37% of U.S. households plan to purchase one or more devices next year.

The rising popularity in smart home device sales has been aided by both Apple and Google introducing new solutions in 2014. The research firm discovered retailers are getting ready for smart home devices to hit the mainstream by expanding shelf space for items like Nest thermometers, Philips Hue bulbs, smart door locks and other items.

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Apple TV-HomeKit integration will create hub for smart home

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple TV could finally become the digital hub your home’s been awaiting. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Will the Apple TV become a hub for controlling your smart home in the near future? Signs are pointing to yes.

Apple is quietly testing HomeKit support for its TV set-top box with developers. The functionality can turn an Apple TV into an always-conntected bridge device for communicating between hardware peripherals that support Apple’s HomeKit framework.

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Our Sept. 9th iPhone 6 and iWatch predictions plus inside The Fappening on The CultCast

Our Sept. 9th iPhone 6 and iWatch predictions plus inside The Fappening on The CultCast

This week: With Apple’s big Sept. 9 media event just around the bend, we dust off our crystal balls and reveal our iWatch and iPhone 6 predictions! Plus: The Fappening. How did so many high-profile celebrity nudies leak for all to see? And is an iCloud flaw responsible for the debacle? We’ll tell you what happened, how it happened, and what you can do to help keep those sensitive selfies safe from prying eyes.

Softly chuckle your way through each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the chuckles begin.

Our thanks to Lynda.com for sponsoring this episode! Learn virtually any application at your own pace from expert-taught video tutorials at Lynda.com.

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Our Sept. 9th iPhone 6 and iWatch predictions plus inside The Fappening on The CultCast

New iOS 8 App Store guidelines are designed to protect your privacy

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New App Store guidelines are in place to protect user data.

Apple is constantly looking to improve the App Store experience, and ahead of the long-awaited release of the iPhone 6 and public version of iOS 8, it is doubling its efforts.

With these two landmark events coming up rapidly, the company has updated its App Store review guidelines to add all-new sections dealing with features such as HealthKit, HomeKit and TestFlight, extensions and more.

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Elgato’s HomeKit-ready sensors automate your entire home

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(Picture: Elgato)

As the iPhone 6 and public launch of iOS 8 gets ever closer, a number of products offering full integration with Apple’s new HomeKit platform have started popping up on a regular basis.

The latest of these is Elgato’s new line of “Eve” connected home sensors, which debuted at the IFA 2014 trade show in Berlin, Germany. The range of Bluetooth accessories are able to monitor air quality, detect smoke, and track humidity, energy used, air pressure and water consumption — then feeding all of this data back to your iPhone or iPad.

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