The Father of the iPod Has Invented The Smartest, Coolest Thermostat You’ll Ever See



Tony Fadell is often referred to as the ‘father of the iPod’. He’s a former Apple engineer who helped develop Apple’s first portable music player along with Jeff Robbin, and he’s just announced a new 100-person startup called Nest Labs.

Having been a former DJ and overseeing 18 iterations of the iPod and the three generations of the iPhone, we’ve been keen to find out what Fadell and his company have been working on. But it isn’t a revolutionary new music player or communication device. It’s a thermostat.

Of course, it’s not just a bog-standard thermostat, but a “Learning Thermostat” — a device that brings Apple-esque design and innovation into home heating appliances. Nest claims the Learning Thermostat is easy to use, it programs itself, and it learns every time you use it. And according to CNET, it’ll save you 20%—30% off your energy bills:

With its Learning Thermostat, Nest is going all in and telling the world that a ubiquitous but hard-to-master device that hasn’t had a major redesign in decades is due for a shot of iPod and iPhone design magic. Fadell and his team think they’ve come up with an alternative that’s easy to use and that learns from what we do. Along the way, the company thinks it could cut 20 percent to 30 percent off the average household’s $1,000 or so in annual energy bills.

Like the iPod that Fadell helped create, the Learning Thermostat is a compact device that features a small digital display and is controlled by a wheel. You simply push the front of the device to make selections within the menus. To control the device remotely, there’s an iOS app for your iPhone, and another coming soon for Android devices.

Fadell also enlisted the expertise of former Apple colleagues Matt Rogers and Mike Matas to help develop the Learning Thermostat. Rogers helped design the device while Matas focused on its simplistic user interface.

The Learning Thermostat isn’t just good-looking, but it’s also incredibly clever. Nest says that after a week of use, the device picks up your preferred temperatures and schedule, and automatically adjusts the temperature in your home accordingly.

Not only will it learn simple changes to the temperature at certain times throughout the day, but a promotional clip for the device claims, “And if Tuesday is bowling night and you usually raise the temperature after you get home late, Nest will learn that, too.” Alternatively, you can adjust the schedule manually. When Nest “senses that the house is empty,” its Auto-Away will automatically adjust itself to an energy conserving temperature.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with 85% of American household HVAC systems and goes on sale in November at Best Buy stores, with a price tag of $249.

What do you think of the Nest Learning Thermostat?

[via 9to5Mac]

  • Terry9696

    Do you want to make $85 hourly and  $7000 per month like me just working on laptop for few hours! Would you like to be your own boss!Opportunities like this don’t come by often. Don’t let this one pass you by!

  • Bifrow

    That looks super sick. Hope they bring it to the uk soon:D

  • prof_peabody

    I like it except I hate the leaf.  It’s visually and philosophically jarring.  

    Also, I hope it has normal temperatures. No one even uses Fahrenheit outside of the USA and in my country it’s actually ILLEGAL to sell Fahrenheit thermostats at all.

  • Jackson Myers

    Looks pretty cool. I have a wifi enabled thermostat and the wifi feature alone is really nice. Mine also has an iPhone app so I can check the temperature and adjust it when I’m out. In the summer I turn my AC off when I am away and turn it on an hour before I get home to make sure my place is comfortable when I get back. I save a lot of energy that way. This thermostat looks nicer and the auto programming this is an interesting concept, although I’m not totally sure how well it would work.

  • toddgarvin


  • Al Thumbs

    It looks…expensive. Yes, I know it may possibly save me money, but I already use a programmable thermostat, so it may not make the big difference it would for someone who doesn’t  program. And I have an irregular schedule. How will it deal with learning that?

    I was guessing that it would be $199, like an iPod.

  • Pete

    Super cool it may be but at that price it seems to me a little like current solar panels….. REALLY how long is it going to have to run until you break even??? 99 dollars yes but by the time this is converted to 250v for the rest of us and shipping and tax I am thinking £200 – it’s not worth that.

  • Joe Todisco

    Holy cow – just out of curiosity what communistic dictatorship of a country do you live in?

  • site7000

    When Nest “senses that the house is empty,” its Auto-Away will automatically notify the authorities they are free to bug your house. Hello to ethernet over power lines, goodbye to in-home privacy. Even our lamps will be ratting us out! 

  • gareth edwards

    Few years ago I upgraded to a nice modern Bosch combi with a wireless thermostat. Having the extra control with the new system over the older system made the new boiler even more efficient BUT, and this is raised in the Nest product, it’s the complexity of the current thermostats control that gets in the way of greater efficiency and I couldn’t agree more. Whilst I could use it, my partner struggled with all the layers of control. I’ve just moved house and the new house has an older system so I’m back to square one but seeing this makes me think anyone can use it and get the most from both the energy you use and the money you pay for it.  I’m convinced, sign me up.   And…. it looks cool, bonus.

  • prof_peabody


    The idea is that we are so close to the USA that we get flooded with USA product.  Since the USA is pretty much the only country that makes Fahrenheit-only thermostats (that are therefore unable to show the correct temperature), they are illegal.  If it has dual display or can be set for Celsius, then they are legal.  

    It’s another example of US manufacturing shooting themselves in the foot.  It’s likely that it doesn’t even occur to the company making the thermostats that a simple inclusion of Celsius will increase their sales world-wide.  Most Americans I have met are completely unaware that they are literally the only country on earth that uses Fahrenheit.  

    These are big companies like Honeywell etc. too. Idiots.

  • Al Thumbs

    What make/model is your wifi-enabled ‘stat?

  • Aristocat

    Wow if you guys had drugs too …. Oh Canada!

  • farmboy

    First, it’s digitaI and can be programmed pretty easily. My 10 yo Honeywell can select for °F or °C, like most.
    Second, I like °F better than °C, and I use both. I like that 0°F is really cold, and 100°F is really hot in human terms; whereas 0°C and 38°C mean almost nothing unless you’re talking frost on your windshield.
    Third, most Canadians (and I’m Canadian) use a hodge-podge of English and metric measurement standards, as do the English themselves.

  • Al Thumbs

    I called the Nest support line. The unit does display in Celsius, and hence is able to show the CORRECT temperature, or as we in Canada’s Underbelly call it, the CANADIAN temperature. Thank God it’s legal in Canada!

    I wasn’t aware that Canadians needed thermostats, since the heat is always ON. That’s a joke, hoser…

  • Mike Rathjen

    Clearly the US manufacturers are catering to the much-coveted Cayman Island and Belize markets, which also use Fahrenheit.

  • Mike Rathjen

    Why does it have to be illegal? Who would want to buy one?

  • Josh Yates

    This looks totally sweet!  Think about Siri integration!  WOW!

    However, it’s not $250 sweet.  Maybe $99 sweet.  That and my house was built in 1930…older home, not modern at all.  We have central heat, no central A/C (ah, window units).  It would stick out like a sore thumb.  But a freakin’ sweet lookin’ sore thumb!  ;)

  • Banemall

    One major issue I found with it, it DOES NOT automatically switch from HEAT to COOL…and for that one reason…I’ll never buy it….

  • Mike Pisino

    I’m sold.

  • MikeBoston

    I use EcoBee stats in both my home. WiFi built in, web enabled, iPad/iPhone app that mimics the actual device, easy to install. I have been very happy with it.

  • prof_peabody

    Well I was probably being too strident with my remarks, but I disagree about Canadians using a mix of F and C (unless you are talking old folks homes).  I haven’t met anyone under 65 or so that even remembers what Fahrenheit is anymore.  

    I’m incredibly ancient and Celsius came in as the official way of telling temperature when I was still in high school.  It’s at least 35 or 40 years since temperatures were recorded in Fahrenheit and most of the rest of the world transitioned even longer ago.

    Nice to know it has Celsius though. The website is silent on this subject. Now if it only didn’t have that leaf I could buy it.

  • Dilbert A

    You know the iPhone does the same thing. 

  • Tatts

    We all know why Canada uses Celsius and the US uses Fahrenheit. Celsius is for people who like to complain about how cold it is and Fahrenheit is for people who like to complain about how hot it is. 

    My 3-year old $29 Honeywell programmable can be set to F or C, as could my previous one that I bought 9 years ago. And it’s easy to program.

    For someone who feels so strongly about this issue, you do not seem to be very well informed on the topic.

  • James Powell

    It’ll learn so much it’ll kill us all

  • Me

    As best I can tell from the info they’ve put out there’s no question of converting it to 220v (WHERE do they use 250v?). It runs parasitically off the voltage available from the ‘stat wires, so that you don’t have to pull any new wire. That alone is just about enough to sell me on it.

  • Stuffnstuff99

    I’m WELL under 65 and always use °F, as its wider range across the normal temps we experience is more meaningful and allows for more subtlety. I simply can’t think of 30-something °C as ‘hot’ in any way.

  • Michael Verrenkamp

    I do have to admit that from a design and concept angle this is actually a really awesome little product that has simplicity and style at it’s very core. Now at the price they are asking it is a bit much but really that is somewhat expected for a first generation product of this nature.

  • Pulease

    You need to get out more and meet more people obviously.  This Canuck is nowhere near 65 and uses F everywhere.  Not that I don’t understand C, but then I also am very conversant in lbs, miles, gallons (US & Imperial) etc.  Point of this article is the thermostat itself, not your inability/unwillingness to use other units of measure.  As far as the legality of it, or lack thereof according to you, that just makes me want to buy it more.  I HATE this BS of what the government tells me what I can and cannot buy on these kinds of things.  Oh, it doesn’t have a French manual?  Perfect!  I’ll take 2.  One for my cottage and one for my home.  And as far as the US manufacturing sector shooting themselves in the foot.  Letting the Canadian$ go up in value against the US$, who is shooting themselves in the foot by pricing their products out of the biggest economy in the world?

  • Flu Guy

    Agree… I liked it until I saw the pre-order price of $250. That’s a ridiculous price when a really good Honeywell will run way under $125. For $250, I can get a new iPhone and case.

    I would go as high as $125.

  • al friede

    sweet design, but way overpriced at $250. $150 would be pushing it, but $250 is way over the line!

  • Jackson Myers

    Mine is a Filtrete Radio Thermostat.