Apple joins rivals to create open standard for smart home devices

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Apple is teaming up with Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a new open and royalty-free standard for smart home devices.

Project “Connected Home over IP” aims to increase compatibility among smart home gadgets and make development easier for device manufacturers. It should also simplify smart technology for consumers.

These alternatives to Ring’s smart video doorbell won’t break the bank [Deals]

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Remo Doorbell
Make home security easy with one of Remo's user-friendly doorbells.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The holidays are in full swing, and as many of us gear up to travel and see loved ones, burglars are getting ready to break into homes while their owners are away. So if you haven’t already taken the necessary steps to protect your living space, now’s the time to do it. These RemoBell® doorbell cameras give you an extra pair of eyes on your pad while you’re away, and they’re all on sale.

Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.

Illuminate your life with LED smart bulbs [Deals]

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iHaper Smart Bulbs
Upgrade your home or office with customizable smart bulbs.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Lightbulbs are the symbol of invention and good ideas, but it’s not until the last few years that they’ve changed in a fundamental way. The LED bulbs are energy efficient, and full of possibility for customization. So if you’re looking to make your house or office smarter, these bulbs from iHaper are a great way to go.

Manage your own microclimate with an all-in-one A/C and humidifier [Deals]

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EvaSmart2
This futuristic, portable A/C uses evaporative principles to efficiently cool and clean the air.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Hanging an air conditioner half-way out the window is an effective, if noisy way to keep a room cool. But it’s also a technology that goes all the way back to 1902. This is the future after all, so now the air conditioner gets the smart home treatment.

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.

Even surge protectors are getting smart [Deals]

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Gain complete control of your power usage with this WiFi-enabled smart surge protector.
Gain complete control of your power usage with this WiFi-enabled smart surge protector.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Just a couple years ago, few imagined owning a HomePod or Echo, but now we’re shouting to one from the kitchen asking for recipes. Everything’s going smart these days, from refrigerators to light bulbs and everything between. So don’t be surprised if soon you find yourself plugging in a smart surge protector.

Get plugged into the IoT on a budget for the home [Deals]

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These deals prove you don't need to be rich to get in on the Internet of Things.
These deals prove you don't need to be rich to get in on the Internet of Things.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’ve read about technology in the last five years, you’ve heard about the internet of things. It represents a merging of the physical and digital worlds, where devices of all kinds are network-enhanced.

That futuristic world is already here, and we rounded up some of our best deals on IoT-ready gear so you can embrace it fully. You’ll find great buys on an Alexa-enabled smart clock, an app-connected outlet, a mini vacuum droid and more.