Easily control outdoor lights with Meross waterproof HomeKit outlet [Review]

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Meross Smart WiFi Indoor/Outdoor Plug review
Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night bothers this Meross smart outlet.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Add Siri voice control to your outside spotlights with the Meross Smart WiFi Indoor/Outdoor Plug. It’s waterproof and actually offers two plugs, each separately controllable with Apple’s HomeKit.

I tested this home-automation accessory around my house. Here’s how well it lives up to regular use.

Meross smart plug makes HomeKit home automation easy and cheap [Review]

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Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini review
Insert the Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini into a wall socket and you can control it from anywhere in the world.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini is an inexpensive and easy-to-install way to get started in home automation. This smart plug lets you control a lamp, fan or other appliance without needing to touch it. Support for Apple’s HomeKit and Amazon Alexa means voice commands, or automated schedules, are all that’s necessary.

I tested a pair of these accessories for a week, and can report on how they perform in daily use.

Netatmo adds HomeKit Secure video support to its Smart indoor camera

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Netatmo adds support for Apple's HomeKit Secure Video standard to its Smart Indoor Camera.
Netatmo adds support for HomeKit Secure Video standard to its Smart Indoor Camera.
Photo: Netatmo

Smart home device-maker Netatmo added support Tuesday for Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video standard to its Smart Indoor Camera.

The free and automatic update began rolling out today to users, according to an announcement by the French company. It should become available to install on all Netatmo Smart cameras over the next few days.

Time and location triggers make Shortcuts far more useful in iOS 13

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Shortcuts iOS 13
This is Shortcuts in iOS 13. It looks great.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Shortcuts app is already great, but in iOS 13 it gets even better. You can still create simple or complex workflows to do all kinds of tasks, from downloading YouTube videos or setting a quick meditation timer to resizing a whole folder of photos. But until now, you had to trigger those shortcuts manually.

In iOS 13, your iPhone or iPad can run a shortcut at a preset time or when you arrive at a specific location. This is huge.

Apple hires smart lock CEO to help make its smart home dreams a reality

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HomeKit
Apple's HomeKit platform could get a big boost in 2019.
Photo: Texas Instruments

Apple has secured the expertise of Sam Jadallah, former CEO of smart lock company Otto, to head up its smart home initiatives.

Combined with Apple’s recent acquisition of voice-enabled tech company Pullstring, it’s a sure sign that Apple wants to up its game in home automation.

Handy Shortcuts app launches alongside iOS 12

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Apple's new Shortcuts automation app has to be downloaded separately from iOS 12.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The full version of iOS 12 is now available for everyone. One of its cool new features is Siri Shortcuts, but those who want to automate functions on their iPhone also need to download a separate application from the App Store.

The new utility lets people create scripts that collect several actions together, then launch them with a voice command. The idea is to let you automate actions that you perform regularly.

Philips Adore mirror brings HomeKit automation into the bathroom

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The Philips Adore bathroom mirror can e controlled through Apple's HomeKit home automation.
The Philips Adore bathroom mirror can be controlled through Apple's HomeKit home automation.
Photo: Philips

Think about how nice it would be to have the best lighted bathroom mirror and dim the lights without having to get out of the tub. That’s one of the promises of the Adore Bathroom lighted mirror as it can be controlled from your iPhone or iPad.

The center of this product is a standard mirror that’s about 20 inches across. This is surrounded by a while LED light that can be dim or bright.

New HomeKit authentication system could bring tons more accessories

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An updated version of HomeKit HomeKit really improves the Wemo Mini Smart Plug.
An updated version of HomeKit HomeKit really improves the Wemo Mini Smart Plug.
Photo: Wemo

Accessories can now support Apple’s HomeKit without a special chip. The Wemo Mini Smart Plug is the first to use this new system of software authentication.

The Mini Smart Plug ($34.99) offers a single electrical socket that can be controlled by an iPhone though HomeKit. Anything plugged in can be turned on or off remotely, or on a schedule.