iOS 10 review: It’s the little things that matter

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There's a lot to love in iOS 10.
There's a lot to love in iOS 10.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iOS 10 update for iPhones and iPads is the biggest software refresh the iPhone-maker has launched in years, adding a host of major and minor new features that completely change the iOS experience.

I’ve been using beta versions of iOS 10 on my iPhone 6s and iPad Pro since June. While some of the high-profile additions to Messages, Photos, Apple Music and Apple News aren’t totally mind-blowing, the smaller tweaks make all the difference. With iOS 10, using Apple’s devices is easier, faster and far more enjoyable than ever.

This is the big iOS update you’ve been waiting for, but not for all the reasons Apple thinks.

Elgato’s latest smartplug is a super-cool energy watchdog [Review]

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Elgato's Eve Energy Switch and Power Meter will track and control all your pluggable devices.
Smarten up your house with Elgato's newest energy switch.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Eve Energy Switch and Power Meter by Elgato

Thanks to this cool little HomeKit gadget from Elgato, I know exactly how much energy my PlayStation 4 uses (79 watts). I also know how much energy is sucked away by my living room lamp (40 watts), my big HDTV (143 watts) and my Apple TV (8 watts).

All I did was plug each of these devices into Elgato’s new Eve Energy Switch and Power Meter, and then pull up the associated app on my iPhone to get instant information on the power being pulled through whatever I’ve plugged in.

The smartplug is also voice-activated, letting me turn on and off whatever device is attached to it.

Neat, huh?

Bluetooth wall plug makes any outlet smart

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This smart outlet will make any plug in your house more intelligent.
This smart outlet will make any plug in your house more intelligent.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Smart Outlet by Nyrius

I just walked into my living room and the lamp came on, welcoming me in from a cold, dark morning at the gym.

When I leave for lunch later, it’ll turn itself off.

The home of the future is here, and it’s easier than ever to create with the Nyrius Smart Outlet, a Bluetooth wall plug that lets you turn any device with a plug into a smart device.

Smart bulb colors your world without breaking the bank

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You can control the Nyrius smart bulb with your smartphone.
You can control the Nyrius smart bulb with your smartphone.
Photo: Nyrius

If you found the transition from incandescent to fluorescent painful, you will be relieved to know you are in the midst of a lightbulb moment. This is the year when the price of LED-based smart bulbs, with the color and quality of light controlled by mobile apps, falls far enough to go mainstream.

Entering the highly competitive space is Ontario-based Nyrius, which today rolls out a light bulb for $39.99.

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.

Samsung’s smart home platform beats HomeKit to Apple Watch

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Control your smart home from your Apple Watch, courtesy of... Samsung? Photo: SmartThings
Control your smart home from your Apple Watch, courtesy of... Samsung? Photo: SmartThings

Although it’s poised to win the smart home war eventually, Apple’s HomeKit is still half-baked. Case in point: hardly any smart home accessories officially integrate with it yet, let alone Apple’s own products.

Despite its parent company’s rivalry with Apple in the smartphone race, the SmartThings platform has beat HomeKit to the Apple Watch, and it makes the idea of controlling your home from your wrist look pretty useful.

Smart home war heats up as Nest adds new partners

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Sorry Tony Fadell. Better turn up the temperature if you want to win customers!
Sorry Tony Fadell. Better turn up the temperature if you want to win customers!
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.

Apple TV-HomeKit integration will create hub for smart home

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Adobe reports breaks down why refreshed Apple TV is going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread.
Apple TV could finally become the digital hub your home's been awaiting. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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.