Meross dual-plug smart outlet offers easy and affordable HomeKit automation [Review]

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Meross Smart WiFi Plug review: Easily affordable HomeKit automation
The Meross Smart WiFi Plug is unobtrusive but very functional. Just what your want.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Meross Smart WiFi Plug lets you control two lights, fans or other appliances from your iPhone or iPad. And because it’s a simple plugin unit, it brings the convenience of Apple’s HomeKit home automation with minimal hassle.

After extensive testing, here’s how this accessory stood up to regular use.

Abode’s cheap DIY home security kit adds HomeKit

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Abode Smart Security Kit gets you started
The starter Abode Smart Security Kit now works with Apple’s home-automation system.
Photo: Abode

Abode’s do-it-yourself home security system just gained support for Apple HomeKit. With this software update, the Smart Security Kit can be controlled via Siri commands, and an iPhone or other Apple device will be notified when sensors detect a window or door is opened, or there’s movement in the house.

Wemo WiFi Smart Plug with HomeKit is Belkin’s smallest yet

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The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug both support HomeKit
The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug and Wemo Stage were both unveiled at CES 2020.
Photo: Belkin

CES 2020Belkin’s latest version of its Wemo smart plug with HomeKit support is significantly smaller than its predecessor, making it less obtrusive on wall sockets.

The company also unveiled at CES 2020 the Wemo Stage, a remote than can be used to launch HomeKit scenes with the punch of a button.

Sengled smart bulbs get even smarter with Apple’s HomeKit automation system

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Sengled Smart Hub now has HomeKit support
With HomeKit support, give Siri commands to the Sengled Smart Hub to pass on to smart bulbs.
Photo: Sengled

CES 2020Accessory maker Sengled added support for Apple’s HomeKit to its smart home hub. This enables iPhone users to control Sengled’s smart bulbs through Siri commands.

The company also added to its lineup of smart home products with new lights and a smart plug.

What’s next for iPhone, plus our favorite gadgets this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 373 iPhone XS
Where does iPhone go from here?

This week on The CultCast: A new report details what’s (probably) next for Apple’s 2019 and 2020 iPhones. Plus: Apple plans Netflix-for-games subscription service (with Alex E. Heath!); it’s not just you, everyone got way more spam calls in 2018. And we talk a new wireless charging brick for iPhone, a smart outlet with HomeKit support, and the super-smart HomeKit thermostat you’ve never heard of, in an all-new Under Review.

Our thanks to Dashlane for supporting this episode. Dashlane is the official password manager of Cult of Mac. It’s so good, even Leander Kahney’s mommy uses it. Use it for free for one device at Dashlane.com/CultofMac.

Upgrades turn Logitech Circle 2 into versatile security camera [Update: Now works with HomeKit]

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Logitech Circle 2 Wire Free
New features and accessories make the Circle 2 far more useful.
Photo: Logitech

Update: A software update in September 2017 made Logitech Circle 2 HomeKit compatible.

Major upgrades to Logitech’s Circle cam — including HomeKit compatibility coming “soon” through a software update — turn it from a cute desktop camera into a bona fide indoor-outdoor security device.

Circle 2 packs a 180 degree wide-angle lens and brings 1080p HD streaming, night vision and two-way talk and listen. The updates come in the form of new, better power options and a handful of accessories that make the Circle 2 more useful in more environments than its somewhat limited predecessor.

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Eve Energy offers easy tools for controlling and monitoring home electricity use.
Eve Energy offers easy tools for controlling and monitoring home electricity use.
Photo: Elgato

SmartPlug turns your home into a modern-day Clapper

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iHome SmartPlug HomeKit
You may not get a whole lot of use out of a single SmartPlug.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Home automation, specifically Apple’s HomeKit framework and its compatible accessories, is the latest Thing We’re Supposed to Get Excited About™. And it has a lot of promise for convenience, time-saving, and just generally feeling like you live in the future.

The first HomeKit-compatible smartplug is upon us, courtesy of iHome. The ISP5 SmartPlug is a $40 device that plugs into your wall outlet and lets you run whatever you plug into it from your iPhone, using either Siri or the companion app.

It does everything it says it will: You can set up rooms and zones, and control individual appliances or whole groups of them with a tap or quick voice command. It also lets you build “rules” to make your stuff turn on and off without your input. All of this is cool, but when you actually have one, you might struggle to think of useful ways to use it.