Garage-based man cave and home office relies on a killer screen [Setups]


In this setup, an LG curved monitor is great for work as well as movies and TV.
In this setup, an LG curved monitor is great for work as well as movies and TV.
Photo: Paul O'Toole

An IT professional who specializes in Mac and iOS home implementations probably has a leg up on the next guy when it comes to building an Apple-centric home office and man cave.

Or is it a man cave and home office? We’ll let Paul O’Toole, an IT pro from Worcestershire, England, decide that. It’s his, after all. He calls it a “sitting room,” actually.

He turned his garage into an office and movie palace, thanks to an LG 34UC99 curved monitor and a pair of HomePods running with his Mac Pro.

Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug lets you extend HomeKit to your yard


Lutron Caseta Outdoor Plug takes HomeKit outside.
Think of all the ways HomeKit can enhance your outdoor living space.
Photo: Lutron

CES 2021 bug Lutron is taking its top-notch HomeKit smart plug outside. The upcoming Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is a beefy-looking, iP-65-rated AC outlet that’s built to take all the abuse Mother Nature can dish out.

Designed to give you control over things like outdoor lighting and pumps, it’s smart enough that it can adjust your timers when daylight saving time arrives.

“It’s essentially weatherproof, dirtproof and sunproof,” said Matt Swatsky, Lutron’s vice president of residential mid-market business, in a press release Monday. “A homeowner can now enjoy all the benefits of a Caséta system for their outside spaces.”

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


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.

Roku players gain AirPlay 2 streaming and HomeKit capabilities


Roku with Apple AirPlay 2 support — finally!
With AirPlay 2, an iPhone can easily stream video to a large TV. And it’s coming to Roku.
Photo: Apple

Roku players will soon support AirPlay 2, Apple’s wireless video streaming technology. This will allow an iPhone, iPad or Mac user to share content directly to a supported Roku device.

In addition, Roku announced a new iOS app, and upcoming support for Apple’s home automation system.

Level Touch smart lock turns your fingertip into a key


The new Level Touch smart lock opens with a touch -- and other ways, too.
The new Level Touch smart lock opens with a touch -- and other ways, too.
Photo: Level Home

Level Home’s second HomeKit-compatible smart lock lets you use your fingertip as a key. But you won’t even really need that finger tap to open your door. The new lock, called the Level Touch, offers a variety of entry methods — including fully automatic (triggered by your smartphone’s Bluetooth connection when you arrive home).

“With Level Touch, keys are optional,” the company said in a press release Tuesday unveiling the new device. “You can enter and exit in any way that is most convenient for you, with the touch of a finger, using your voice or even an included programmable keycard. All of this while maintaining the highest level of residential security of any smart lock to date.”

Tiny WeMo smart plug makes trying HomeKit so easy [Review]


Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug review
The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug can be your ticket to easy home automation.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Home automation is convenient and even kind of fun. And a smart plug is the easiest way to get started. The redesigned Wemo WiFi Smart Plug from Belkin lets you find out if you really want to be able to control your lights or other appliances from your iPhone, without making a big investment.

A couple of weeks of testing this pint-size HomeKit accessory went into this review. Here’s what I found out.

Belkin’s smallest Wemo HomeKit smart plug hits store shelves


Wemo WiFi Smart Plug hardly takes up any room.
A redesigned Wemo WiFi Smart Plug brings HomeKit support to regular appliances.
Photo: Belkin

Belkin on Monday began offering a much smaller version of its Wemo WiFi Smart Plug. Like the original, it supports Apple’s HomeKit home automation system. But the updated version of this smart outlet doesn’t crowd the wall socket nearly so much.

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


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.