iDevices' HomeKit-compatible Switch lets Siri light up your house | Cult of Mac

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

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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.

Compatibility with HomeKit, Apple’s ambitious new protocol for home automation, means you simply plug it in and use it — there’s no hub or other additional hardware needed. You can also say, “Hey Siri!” to flip the switch verbally rather than having to tap on your iPhone. Switch is a simple first step, but as more and more HomeKit-compatible devices hit the market, your options for controlling your life through your iOS device will radically expand.

Switch connects via Wi-Fi with Bluetooth backup. If you want to do more complex programming — to have lights come on at a certain time, for instance — you go into the simply named iDevices Connected app.

Using the app you can set up various presets or establish a master switch for each room in your house. For example, you might want to turn off all Switch-connected lamps at once or have your living room light up at 7 p.m. every Wednesday.

Turning lamps on and off, perhaps using a power strip so you don’t have to have a separate Switch for each one, is the most obvious and useful implementation of the device. “We all like lights,” Cepa told Cult of Mac.

In the future, Switch will let you track energy consumption to make smart choices about when you do a load of laundry or nudge you not to leave on a light you really don’t need.

“We can do it now,” Cepa said. “It just hasn’t been programmed into the app.”

The app will also work with HomeKit-compatible Schlage Sense smart locks and the Chamberlain MyQ garage door opener, which were both on display at the iDevices booth at CES.

As for Android users? They’ll be left in the dark when HomeKit gets rolling.

“Now it gives them a good reason to get an Apple,” Cepa said.