Best new (and returning) features in iOS 13.1 beta 1

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iOS 13.1 beta 1 adds Books reading goal, brings back almost every feature dropped in previous betas.
iOS 13.1 beta 1 brings back almost every cool feature dropped from previous betas.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Surprisingly, iOS 13.1 is already in beta. It looks like Apple’s release strategy this year is to freeze the current beta version of iOS 13.0 in order to get it ready for the new iPhones expected on September 10. Meanwhile, Apple continues to test the next version, adding back some features removed during the beta period — Shortcuts automations, for example.

So, what other new (or revived) features will you find in iOS 13.1 beta 1?

Legrand’s new HomeKit light switches require no hub

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Legrand Home Smart Lighting for Apple HomeKit
Legrand’s latest dimmable light switches and wall plugs are all HomeKit compatible.
Photo: Legrand

The just-released Legrand Home Smart Lighting for Apple HomeKit collection includes 3-way and dimmable wall switches, as well as plug-in wall sockets that are also either on/off or dimmable. Any of these can be controlled via an iPhone, HomePod, etc. with no pesky hub required for in-home use.

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.

Amazon buys mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero

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eero
Eero monitors things like network throughput and interference, adjusting itself automatically.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Right when Apple has decided to get out of the router business, one of its biggest competitors is ready to jump in.

Amazon revealed today that it reached an agreement to acquire mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero, giving the online retailer another powerful tool in its effort to dominate the smart home market.