| Cult of Mac

Customize your space with Lutron’s updated smart shades for HomeKit

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Some of Lutron's HomeKit-enabled Serena shades can really block a lot of light.
Some of Lutron's HomeKit-enabled Serena shades can really block a lot of light.
Photo: Lutron

Whether you’re looking to redesign your space with a fresh look or you just want to block out more light on a sunny morning, Lutron’s updates to its smart shades and blinds might help do the trick.

Lutron rolled out its HomeKit-enabled Serena Smart Architectural Honeycomb Shades on Monday with more than 40 fabric choices and some new refinements to block more light.

Avoid costly water damage with Eve’s new HomeKit-enabled sensor

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Now with Thread support, Eve Water Guard sends leak alerts to the Home app.
Now with Thread support, Eve Water Guard sends leak alerts to the Home app.
Photo: Eve Systems

If you’ve ever suffered major water damage from a leak, you probably wish you could’ve found the problem before it was too late. Now you can — if you have the right smart home automation.

The second generation of the Bluetooth-enabled Eve Water Guard adds Thread networking technology that works with HomeKit. That lets it automatically join your Thread network and provide water leak notifications in Apple’s Home app before the damage is done.

Make your house a little smarter with updated Home Widget for HomeKit

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Home Widget for HomeKit updates just made your house a little smarter.
Home Widget for HomeKit updates just made your house a little smarter.
Photo: Home Widget for HomeKit

If you’d like to improve your experience using HomeKit-enabled accessories on iOS, it might be time to try Home Widget for HomeKit. It already provides quick access to the Home app from your Home Screen, and it got a refresh on Wednesday, adding sensor support, different panel sizes and more.

Apple Home Services chief leaves after less than 3 years on the job

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Apple Home Services chief Sam Jadallah left his post after less than three years.
Apple Home Services chief Sam Jadallah left his post after less than three years.
Photo: Apple

Apple hired Sam Jadallah in February 2019 to lead its smart home initiatives as head of the Home Services department. Last week, he posted word of his departure on LinkedIn.

Neither Jadallah nor Apple has given a reason for the departure. After two years and nine months on the job, Jadallah wrote:

That’s a wrap with Apple. I’m so grateful for the friendships that will endure and the opportunity to shape and create new capabilities for people and homes around the world. As a corporate exec, investor and entrepreneur, it was a treat to be an entrepreneur within Apple and to create products at scale.

Manage your smart home with Aqara’s affordable Hub E1 for HomeKit

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The Aqara E1 Hub is an inexpensive controller for your smart home.
The Aqara E1 Hub is an inexpensive controller for your smart home.
Photo: Aqara

Aqara’s affordable new USB-powered controller, the Smart Hub E1, makes it easy to control devices and sensors through Apple’s HomeKit and other smart-home systems. The company’s Zigbee-based devices, such as smart sensors, connect to the cloud through a central smart hub.

Because Aqara bridges all its devices to HomeKit, you can mix and match automations using different vendors. What’s more, you can power the Aqara Smart Hub E1 with any USB port you have, whether it’s a wall plug or a powered USB port on a console, computer or smart TV.

Ecobee SmartThermostat is first third-party hardware to get Siri support

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The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is the first of many third-party devices to get Siri voice support.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is the first of many third-party devices to get Siri voice support.
Photo: Ecobee

As announced at Apple’s WWDC conference earlier this year, Siri voice support has come to the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control — the first hardware not made by Apple to get it, with many others to follow. Ecobee said a new software update bringing the change rolls out over the coming weeks.

Enter the world of smart homes for just $11 with this smart outlet

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Turn your house into a smart home with this plug-and-go USB outlet
Turn your house into a smart home with this plug-and-go electrical outlet with dual USB ports.
Photo: Switchmate

We’re always excited to hear about the latest smart home tech that can improve our lives and just make our homes cooler. But when we shop around for integrated smart home devices, we can’t help but feel an empty pang in our bank accounts once we realize how much a full smart home outfitting will cost.

The secret is finding simple tech that can make your existing devices a little smarter. 

Updates to Controller for HomeKit app enhance your home automation

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Controller for HomeKit 5.4 lets you back up your database, store codes and more.
Controller for HomeKit 5.4 lets you back up your database, store codes and more.
Photo: Controller for HomeKit

The third-party Controller for HomeKit app’s new version 5.4 update adds something users have wanted for a while. It’s a full backup and restore process that includes the HomeKit codes identifying the devices and accessories you include in your home automation.