| Cult of Mac

Apple prepares for return of Home app architecture upgrade

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iOS 16.2 bring in a new Home architecture upgrade option.
New HomeKit Architecture
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple apparently plans to re-release its update to the underlying architecture of its HomeKit home-automation system in the near future. The upgraded platform for the Home app is included in the latest iOS and iPadOS betas.

The company briefly made this update available to all users in December before withdrawing it due to unspecified problems.

Aqara previews video doorbell and other new HomeKit gadgets

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With AI onboard, the new Aqara G4 Video Doorbell can recognize people.
With AI onboard, the new Aqara G4 Video Doorbell can recognize people.
Photo: Aqara

Smart-home specialist Aqara said Thursday it will expand its product line in the coming months with a new video doorbell, LED light strips, a sensor with artificial intelligence and a smart door lock that works with Home Key. All of the new devices will work with HomeKit and other smart-home systems.

Rather than showcasing new products at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, however, the company put out a video showing off the four items below as if it were at the show.

Hubitat hub update broadens smart-device compatibility with HomeKit

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The updated hub supports HomeKit integration.
The updated hub supports HomeKit integration.
Photo: Hubitat

With a new software update to the Hubitat Elevation hub, users can bridge hundreds of Z-Wave and Zigbee devices not normally compatible with HomeKit into their Apple Home app, Hubitat said Wednesday.

The Hubitat Elevation software version 2.3.4 update brings HomeKit integration. It lets the hub serve as a bridge for “countless lights, switches, sensors and other devices that are not natively HomeKit compatible,” the company said.

Thread-enabled Nano smart blinds work with HomeKit

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Nano Smart Blinds work with HomeKit.
Nano Smart Blinds work with HomeKit.
Photo: SmartWings

If you’re willing to get in on the ground floor of a crowdfunding campaign as an “early bird,” you can now score Thread-enabled smart mini blinds that work with HomeKit for $100 off the retail price.

SmartWings Nano Smart Blinds have surpassed their funding goal on Indiegogo, so they should ship to buyers in January, the company said.

Apple-backed home-automation standard Matter finally launches

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Matter is a new interoperable homer automation standard back by Apple, Amazon, Google and m ore.
Matter is going to… matter to fans of home automation.
Photo: Connectivity Standards Alliance

The wait is over for Matter 1.0. The Connectivity Standards Alliance, which includes Apple, Amazon and many more, has introduced the cross-platform home-automation standard after lengthy delays.

It is intended to break through the walled silos of Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Home, allowing accessories from a wide range of companies to communicate. It might finally make smart homes more common … potentially even mainstream.

Make your light switches more useful with Wemo Smart Dimmer [Review] ★★★★★

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Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread review★★★★★
Your smart home needs smart switches, and Wemo's latest looks good, is highly configurable and works reliably.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread is a new version of Belkin’s HomeKit-compatible wall switch. It can be controlled with the press of a finger or from anywhere – across the room or across the country.

Putting “with Thread” in the name isn’t some odd reference to sewing. The switch uses a new form of mesh networking to provide fast, reliable connections to your home-automation system.

I was able to install the latest Wemo Smart Dimmer in my home because it doesn’t require a neutral wire. Here’s what it’s like to use everyday.

Affordable new smart Wi-Fi light strip from TP-Link supports HomeKit

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You can get a huge array of colors or bright white light out of these strips.
You can get a huge array of colors or bright white light out of these strips.
Photo: TP-Link

TP-Link just flipped the switch on a new lineup of smart LED light strips and light bulbs, some of which you can use with HomeKit or other home-automation systems.

The main selling point here is budget-friendliness. Prices range from $25 to $50, so you won’t break the bank lighting up your space.

Keep up with the latest home automation tech with Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread

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Keep up with the latest smartphone tech with Wemo's Smart Dimmer with Thread
Wemo’s latest dimmer switch uses HomeKit over Thread for fast, reliable connections.
Photo: Belkin/Wemo

Dimming your lights is just the most obvious feature of the newly announced Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread. It uses mesh networking to provide fast, reliable connections to your HomeKit home-automation system so you can control the switch from anywhere – across the room or across the country.

Plus, the wall dimmer switch doesn’t require a neutral wire so it can be installed in older homes as easily as new ones.

New Eve motion sensor supports Thread and senses ambient light

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The updated Eve Motion now supports Thread networking and senses light to trigger automations.
The updated Eve Motion now supports Thread networking and senses light to trigger automations.
Photo: Eve Systems

Eve Systems offered its second-generation Eve Motion sensor Thursday, adding a light sensor and Thread mesh networking support. The device detects motion to activate other HomeKit-enabled devices.

And it’s actually less expensive than the previous model by $10.

The Thread standard that will be integral to the upcoming Matter home automation technology standard that helps different manufacturers’ devices work together.

Home automation gets smarter for Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini owners

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HomePod mini is one of the devices that can be a Thread 1.3.0 border router.
HomePod mini is one of the devices that can be a Thread 1.3.0 border router.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

A major Thread networking standard update Tuesday brings the Matter home automation technology standard a step closer for those who already own certain devices. Namely, gear that can act as a border router in the smart home — like Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini.

Thread 1.3.0 lets Thread devices work with any other Thread border router. That’s big because Thread will be Matter’s main wireless protocol, along with Wi-Fi.