Your home is talking.
With the release of iOS 10 earlier this month, Apple is finally pulling the curtain back on its new Home app, and, as is the vogue in the smart home sphere, voice activation is the name of the game. We first heard about the company’s foray into the world of the automated dwelling when it announced HomeKit, a new hub for compatible products, at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) back in 2014. The wait has, evidently, been worth it, and compatible products have started to proliferate.
The new Home app handles the organization of all HomeKit supported products, and the list expands monthly. The Home app—which in the latest OS takes pride of place on the home screen of your iDevice—has two main benefits (aside from its "Hello Siri—turn on the lights" functionality): First, all the messy third party HomeKit control apps are now in one place for ease of use. And second, with geofencing your device will trigger your iPhone and cue a sequence that, for instance, turns off the A/C and lights as you exit your home.
The skinny on the new Home app, unlike some apps native to HomeKit-enabled products, is that it will work not just on iPhones but on iPads and the Apple Watch, too. If you leave the device at home (connected to your Wi-Fi network) iPads will serve as the mothership hub for controlling anything from a distance. The Internet of Things is slowly, but really surely, becoming all encompassing, beautiful and, let’s call it, playful.
1. Heat it up, cool it down
Ecobee3 Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
With a full-color LCD display, just like an iPhone, you can now control the temperature of your home from all over your home. Its intuitive programming—it checks inside and outside all the time—means it knows which rooms you’re in (and which you’re not) and saves you money by controlling it all.
2. Dim the lights
Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit
The Hue family—capable of controlling up to 50 lights, luminaries and switches—changes your lighting situation to accommodate all your needs. With scheduling, you can mimic sunrise by having lights come on slowly, dim them for some romance, or anything in between.
3. What’s the weather like?
Elgato Eve Weather Sensor
This wireless outdoor sensor checks temperature, humidity and air pressure. So instead of getting the data collected at the airport (or weather station) miles away from where you are, this gives you pinpointed intel. There’s also an indoor version, which has a useful carbon dioxide reading, too.
4. Save on electricity
Honeywell Lyric Round or T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat
It’s smart enough to know when you’re leaving, or are on your way home, with geofencing, but its real genius comes when it starts to adapt to your weekly schedule. With the new Lyric T5, the thermostat becomes attuned to normal cycles at home to optimize the temperatures.
5. Create some airflow
Not only are these attractive (and fans are not generally lookers) but they are now Wi-Fi ready. Syncing the fan with a thermostat equates to reducing energy consumption—and energy costs. And, if you’re relaxing in bed, Siri’s listening when you need the fan speed to change.
6. Be home from anywhere
French company Withings is known for tracking your sleep with their Aura—but now the company has created the perfect tool to keep an eye on your home while you’re out. The Smart HD camera live streams every room individually and comes with recording capabilities. If you have a young tot, the two-way talk comes in handy, as well.
7. Talk to the lights
Nanoleaf Ivy Smarter Kit
Who wants to have to get up to turn off the lights? With the Ivy Smarter Kit, plus its home hub, you can control up to 50 bulbs. Set up is easy plug and play - plug in the hub, screw in the bulbs, download the app, and the LED lights sync with your iPhone. And there was light.