iHome Launches Outdoor Smart Plug Compatible With HomeKit

iHome today launched the iSP100, a smart plug for controlling outdoor lights, decorations, and small appliances with up to 1,800 watts of power. The three-pin Type B smart plug works with a GFI-enabled outdoor 120V power supply and has a rugged design that is able to withstand the elements of weather.


Like iHome's indoor smart plugs, the iSP100 is compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform, allowing iPhone and iPad users to set schedules and scenes to automate outdoor lighting or whatever is plugged into it. The smart plug can be controlled with Apple's Home app or the iHome Control app from the App Store.


iHome also unveiled a trio of Wi-Fi-enabled, battery-powered smart home sensors, each priced at $29.99, but none of them support HomeKit.The new sensors can be configured to automatically turn iHome smart plugs on or off should a door or window open, motion be detected, or a leak occur. For example, if a motion detector senses motion in a room, it can trigger the smart plugs in that room to turn on, switching on lights, fans, and other appliances.


iHome's smart home products can be purchased at select retailers, including Amazon, Apple, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, and Home Depot. The iSP100 is available now, while the trio of sensors are listed as "coming soon."

Tags: HomeKit, iHome

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Lifx Adds HomeKit Support to Lifx Z Light Strips

Lifx today introduced a new HomeKit-enabled Lifx Z Starter Kit that includes two 3.3-foot light strips and a power pack for $89.99.

The new Lifx Z setup is similar to the previous version, but it adds HomeKit support. The light strips offer 1400 lumens per two meters and can be set to 16 million colors. Multiple shades of white are also available, as is dimming functionality.


Lifx light strips offer eight zones that can be separately controlled per strip, which is different from Hue light strips that offer a single color at a time. Lifx products are also able to connect directly to Wi-Fi and do not require a hub.


Lifx Z light strips can be controlled through the Lifx app, through the Home app on iOS devices, or using Siri, and they can be incorporated into HomeKit scenes with other HomeKit products.

While the new Lifx Z setup is HomeKit compatible right out of the box, Lifx is also introducing a new controller that allows existing Lifx Z light strips to work with HomeKit.


The New Lifx Z is available from the Lifx website for $89.99, while the separate controller for existing setups can be purchased for $39.99.

Tag: HomeKit

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IKEA Launches HomeKit Support for Trådfri Smart Lighting System

After multiple false starts and delays, IKEA today has updated its Trådfri iOS app [Direct Link] with a note that states the company is finally rolling out "Apple HomeKit integration for voice control of your lights with Siri" (via Macerkopf) [Google Translate].


After updating the Trådfri gateway, owners of the smart light bulbs will have to enter an 8-digit code to manually add their bulbs into Apple's Home app. If you have a newer version of the system, the code will be found on the underside of the gateway. For owners of older models, the Trådfri app will generate a code that they can then type into Home and begin controlling their lights with HomeKit commands and Siri.
What's New in Version 1.2.0
- Amazon Alexa integration for voice control of your lights with Alexa skill
- Apple HomeKit integration for voice control of your lights with SIRI
- Colour and white spectrum bulb
- Warm white, chandelier bulb E14 and Warm white GU10 bulb
IKEA first confirmed the Trådfri lights were HomeKit compatible back in August, before quickly walking back that statement and announcing that the update would arrive in the fall. The same thing happened in October, when the company reportedly began rolling out HomeKit support in the Trådfri iOS app, only to once again delay the launch due to "technical difficulties."

Tags: HomeKit, Ikea

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Review: Elgato Eve Light Switch and Eve Motion Add Versatility to Your HomeKit Setup

Elgato's Eve lineup of smart home devices is one of the largest contributors to the HomeKit ecosystem, with a variety of sensors and switches for inside and out, including five more products announced a couple of months ago.

We reviewed a set of the early Eve products two years ago, when we found a solid set of sensors that were hampered by bugs in the early days of HomeKit. HomeKit has come a long way since that time, making it much more stable and useful, so many of our early qualms have been resolved and we were impressed by the new Eve Degree temperature monitor released earlier this year.

Two of the other products in the Eve lineup are the Eve Light Switch, a rather typical smart light switch, and Eve Motion, a battery-operated motion sensor. I've been using both of these for a few months, and I've found them to be quite useful in automating my home.

Eve Light Switch



There are a number of HomeKit-compatible smart switches on the market, including one from iDevices that I looked at earlier this year. The Eve Light Switch was, however, the first entrant into this category late last year, and it remains a worthy competitor.

Installation and Setup


If you've ever swapped out a light switch, it's a pretty straightforward process, and installing the Eve Light Switch isn't much different. As always, make sure you turn off power at the circuit breaker for safety before getting inside the junction box.

The Eve Light Switch is a lot bulkier than a traditional switch in order to accommodate all of the electronics, so you'll need to make sure you have enough room in your junction box, and you'll also need to have a neutral wire present at the switch location in order to provide continuous power to the switch. If you don't have one, you'll have to run some new wiring to the switch (which may not be a do-it-yourself job) or else select another location.

Unlike the iDevices Wall Switch, the Eve Light Switch can only be used in single-pole configurations. So if you've got a three-way circuit where a single light is controlled from two different switches, for example, you won't be able to use the Eve Light Switch.

Once you've determined the switch you want to replace is an appropriate location for the Eve Light Switch, it's just a matter or removing the old switch, transferring the wires over to the Eve Light Switch using the included wire nuts, shoving everything back into the wall, and screwing it all together.

Included snap-on plate (left) vs. standard wall plate purchased separately (right)

From there, you have a decision to make. Elgato includes a two-piece face plate for a clean look, which requires that you screw on a snap plate over the switch and then snap on the face plate. Alternatively, you can skip those two pieces and put your own face plate on. Metal face plates may decrease the Bluetooth range of the switch, but I haven't experienced any issues with mine.

With everything put back together, it's time to turn the circuit breaker back on and make sure tapping the switch properly turns your light on and off. From there, head to the Eve app to get finish setting up the switch and getting it registered with your HomeKit network.


When you're done with setup on your device, you'll be all set to control the Eve Light Switch using the Eve app, the built-in Home app on iOS, or Siri. And as always, you can set up scenes to control the switch in conjunction with other HomeKit accessories, such as a "Good night" scene that turns off the lights, locks the doors, and adjusts the thermostat when heading to bed.

Usage


One thing my whole family loves about the Eve Light Switch is that the switch is actually just one big capacitive touch sensor. Tapping anywhere on the switch will turn the light on or off, and a green light in the center of the switch when it's off helps make it easy to find and hit in the dark.

The sensor makes for a big target, and it's easy to activate it when carrying things, even if you have to use an elbow. That's in contrast to the iDevices Wall Switch, which is a more traditional paddle design that requires you to physically press the top or bottom half of the switch to turn it on or off.

The Eve Motion communicates via Bluetooth, which conserves energy but somewhat limits its range. It can connect directly to your phone via Bluetooth, but if you have an Apple TV or iPad set up as a hub for your HomeKit setup, it'll ensure that all notifications and scenes function properly even when your phone isn't in range. Bluetooth range is much shorter than Wi-Fi, however, so you could run into some difficulty if your hub is located far from the switch.

Eve App


Once you've set up your light switch in the Eve app, you'll find that it's also a very full-featured HomeKit control app, showing all of your HomeKit devices around the house with options to set scenes, timers, rules (triggers), rooms, and zones (groups of rooms).

I won't go into too much detail on the app, as we've covered it fairly extensively in previous reviews such as the Eve Degree, but it's definitely a high-quality app for managing not just Eve products but a variety of HomeKit-compatible accessories.


The Eve app keeps a log of events such as when the light switch is turned on and off, which you can view in graph or table form. The various rules and scenes also make it easy to set up products to work together in scenarios such as activating multiple products at once or using an event on one accessory to automatically trigger a change in the state of another one.

Eve Motion


The Eve Motion is a simple product designed to do only one thing: sense motion in a room. Its 120º field of view and 30-foot detection range help it recognize whenever someone enters a room, and the fact that it's powered by a pair of AA batteries means you can put it almost anywhere. The Eve Motion is also IPX3 water resistant, meaning it can withstand splashes and sprays, and with an operating temperature range of 0º to 130º F, it can be used outdoors as well as inside.


Setup is straightforward, and once you insert the batteries and set the Eve Motion in an appropriate location, the Eve app walks you through step-by-step to allow you to pair with the Eve Motion, set sensitivity for the motion sensing, and set a Siri name for the sensor. If you'd like to integrate with other Eve or HomeKit products, you can set up scenes by specifying triggers and conditions.

As with the Eve Light Switch, the Eve Motion connects to your iOS device over Bluetooth, and if you have an Apple TV or iPad set up as a HomeKit hub, it'll be able to integrate with all of your other smart home devices at all times.

On its own, the Eve Motion is rather limited, basically restricted to pushing notifications whenever motion is sensed. This can come in handy if you want to mount it on your front porch, inside your front door, or in a seldom-used room if you want to be alerted whenever anyone's presence is detected. Within the HomeKit ecosystem, you can restrict notifications to only certain times of the day or, using geofencing, to only times when you either are or are not home.

Notification preferences in Home app for Eve Motion

The real power of the Eve Motion, however, is its wireless connectivity that integrates with the rest of the Eve platform and HomeKit, which lets you use the Eve Motion to trigger actions by other smart home components. For example, you could automatically turn on a light when motion is detected. Rules can also use multiple criteria, so you could set up an "I'm home" scene that turns on lights if it detects motion at your front door but only if it's after sunset. Or you could arrange to have a fan turn on when you enter a room, but only if the temperature is above 72º F.


One of the setups I tried with the Eve Motion was inside a pantry in my kitchen, pairing it with an iDevices Switch to try to automatically turn on a light in the pantry when the door was opened. The setup worked, but it's not instantaneous, sometimes taking as much as five seconds for the Eve Motion to recognize the motion of the door opening and me moving around in front of it, passing the event to HomeKit for processing the trigger, and sending a signal to the iDevices Switch to turn the light on it.

It wasn't ideal, considering I am frequently spending less time popping my head into the pantry than it takes for the light to come on, but it was an interesting test to push the limits of how HomeKit products can work together.

Other less time-sensitive setups worked better, such as triggering lights to come on when motion was detected on my front porch. The slight lag in response for the scene to activate once motion is detected isn't really significant in these contexts.

Wrap-up


The Eve Light Switch carries a list price of $49.95, and a few third-party sellers at Amazon are even knocking a few dollars off of that, which makes for a pretty decent deal in the world of connected light switches where many are closer to $100. It's a lot more than the buck or two you can spend on a traditional toggle switch at the low end, but there's obviously a lot more technology packed in and it comes with much more functionality. Your cash outlay will add up quickly if you want to use any of these smart switches throughout your home, so at least for now most users will want to be fairly selective about where they choose to install them.

The Eve Motion is priced at $49.95, and it's available through a number of retailers including Amazon or directly from Elgato. As a simple motion sensor without any other Eve or HomeKit products, it's not really worth investing in, but as part of a larger smart home setup, it can be a handy addition to help your other accessories do more.

Note: Elgato provided the Eve Light Switch and Eve Motion to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Triby IO Smart Speaker and Switch Offers HomeKit Integration

Triby IO, a new smart home product from French company Invoxia, is a speaker that also doubles as a HomeKit switch, allowing HomeKit scenes to be added to the five buttons on the device.

Designed to be attached to the wall or placed in a room to serve as sort of a home hub and entertainment unit, Triby lets users listen to music and radio. Its HomeKit support is limited to the five buttons on the device, but switches, a new addition to HomeKit, are valuable in a HomeKit setup.


Switches are designed to let you activate a HomeKit scene that can incorporate multiple smart home products without the need to use your iPhone or Siri. There are options that are cheaper than the Triby, though, like the Hue Switch, if speaker functionality is unappealing.

Triby IO is actually the second-generation version of Triby. The first version offered support for Amazon Alexa, but did not include HomeKit integration.

Apple is planning to allow speakers with AirPlay 2 functionality to be controlled through HomeKit in the future, but AirPlay 2 will not be available until 2018, so that's not the implementation that's available in the Triby. It does, however, support the current implementation of AirPlay, so it can be used like any standard speaker.

According to Invoxia, the Triby features high quality acoustics and it also supports Amazon Alexa and IFTTT to connect to non-HomeKit smart home products. It also provides access to internet radio and Spotify through built-in integrations.

Triby can be purchased from the Invoxia website for $199.

Tag: HomeKit

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Sylvania Smart Lighting Line Gains HomeKit-Enabled Flex Strip and Soft White Bulb

LEDVANCE today announced an expansion to its line of HomeKit-enabled Sylvania lights, introducing the Indoor Flex Strip Full Color and the Soft White A19 Bulb, both of which are joining the existing HomeKit-compatible A19 Full Color Bulb.

The Soft White A19 Bulb is less expensive than the Full Color Bulb at $26, and it offers only a soft white shade instead of multiple colors. It is an 800 lumen bulb that is dimmable, and it works with any lamp that is compatible with A19 bulbs.


Sylvania's Full Color Flex Strip is a 400 lumen LED light strip that's designed to be used as accent lighting under shelves, along bookcases, under cabinets, and anywhere else light strips might work. It supports millions of colors and has a 1900K-6500K adjustable color temperature range.


The Sylvania lights connect to a HomeKit setup over Bluetooth, and thus do not require Wi-Fi or a hub to function. With HomeKit compatibility, both can be controlled via the Home app or through Siri, and they can be combined with other HomeKit accessories in scenes.

Sylvania's new products can be pre-ordered from Amazon and will ship out later this month. The A19 Soft White Bulb is priced at $26, while the Full Color LED Flex Strip is priced at $60.


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Yale Releases Its First Smart Locks With HomeKit Support

Yale today announced it is releasing its first two smart locks with support for Apple's HomeKit platform.


Both the Assure Lock SL (YRD256) and Assure Lock Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt (YRD246) will soon be available with an iM1 Network Module preinstalled, which adds HomeKit compatibility out of the box.

Yale is also releasing the iM1 Network Module separately for customers that wish to add HomeKit support to an Assure Lock they already purchased.


Installing the module can be done by removing the battery cover and batteries, snapping the module into place, and enrolling the module by following these steps:
  1. Enter the master PIN code and tap the gear.
  2. Tap 7 and tap the gear.
  3. Tap 1 and tap the gear.
HomeKit support will enable users to lock and unlock their homes with Apple's Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later. Homeowners can also use Siri voice commands, such as "Hey Siri, lock the front door."

Assure locks feature a backlit capacitive touchscreen keypad for keyless entry. If a smartphone is unavailable, users can enter a unique 4-8 digit PIN code to enter the home.

With the companion Yale Secure app, users are able to check battery status, manage up to 250 unique 4-8 digit PIN codes, see current lock status, customize lock settings, name a lock, and add a new lock.

Locking and unlocking away from home requires a fourth-generation Apple TV or later, or an iPad with iOS 10.3 or later, set up as a home hub.

The locks are powered by four AA batteries included, or users can touch a 9V battery to the terminals at the bottom as a backup option.

The new Assure Lock SL and Assure Lock Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt with the iM1 Network Module should be available on Amazon by Monday, October 16 for $249.99 and $199.99 respectively. Prices vary.

The module will be available for $49.99 at major retail stores in the United States and Canada, including Best Buy and Lowe's, starting October 16.

Tags: HomeKit, Yale

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IKEA Again Delays HomeKit Support for Trådfri Smart Lighting Range

IKEA has had to backtrack once more on its claim that the company's Trådfri Smart Lighting range is ready to work with Apple HomeKit.

According to German tech blog SmartDroid, IKEA began rolling out an update yesterday to owners to bring support for Apple's smart home platform as well as Amazon Alexa, only for the company to announce on its blog that many users were reporting "technical difficulties" in getting the connectivity to work.


This is the second time IKEA has had to apologize to Trådfri owners waiting for HomeKit compatibility. Back in August the company told customers that support was ready, but quickly retracted the advice when word spread online.

IKEA has promised HomeKit support for its affordable range of home lighting products since May. The system was originally announced in late March, and includes LED bulbs, illuminated panels, a motion sensor kit, a gateway kit, and dimming lights.

IKEA went on to say yesterday that there is still no working support for HomeKit and Alexa, and apologized for the inconvenience while it works on another update that rectifies the situation. As it stands, Philips Hue smart hubs remain the only other means to control the Trådfri lights from smartphones.

Tags: HomeKit, Ikea

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HomeKit Coming to Hunter Douglas’ New PowerView Motorization System for Window Shades

Hunter Douglas recently launched its next-generation PowerView Motorization system designed to control Hunter Douglas motorized window shades.

The new version of the PowerView Motorization supports Amazon and Google services out of the box, but with an update later this year, it will also support Apple's HomeKit.


The PowerView Motorization Hub lets users control, time, and set their window shades to raise, lower, and tilt on an automatic schedule. With HomeKit support, the PowerView Motion will let window shades and blinds be controlled via Siri voice commands, and shade settings can also be incorporated into HomeKit scenes for full-home automation.

The PowerView Pebble Controller component of the PowerView Motorization system, which offers a way to manually control the shades sans smartphone, comes in new colors (Ecru, Oyster, and Mist) so now there are a wide range of color options to match any interior.


The PowerView Hub itself has also been updated with a new design that's similar in appearance to the Pebble Controller, and with the addition of Wi-Fi support, it no longer needs to connect directly to a router. It also offers faster processing speeds for a better end user experience, and the accompanying PowerView Repeater offers strengthened signal ranges for improved home coverage.

Finally, along with the launch of the new PowerView Motorization system, the PowerView app has been updated with a new user interface that includes a customizable dashboard where users can add favorite scenes and automations.

Hunter Douglas has not yet provided a specific launch date for when we can expect HomeKit compatibility to be added to the new PowerView Motorization system, but it is expected to be introduced before the end of the year. More info on the updated PowerView line can be found on the Hunter Douglas website.

Tag: HomeKit

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Review: Logitech’s Circle 2 Brings HomeKit Compatibility and a New Design

Logitech's Circle 2, introduced in June, is the second-generation version of its Circle home security camera. This new version features a redesigned body, wired and wire-free versions, accessories that let it be positioned anywhere, and, through a recent update, HomeKit support.

Circle 2 is meant to be used as a home security device and it's ideal for keeping an eye on your house while you're away from home. It's also great for keeping an eye on pets and children, and even communicating with the two-way microphone. Circle 2 connects to a home WiFi network and offers cloud functionality that lets you view video anywhere.


I've been using a Logitech Circle camera for two years now sans HomeKit functionality, so I was eager to check out the HomeKit version. This is only the second HomeKit-compatible camera available on the market, and with the new design, the Logi Circle app, and cloud upload ability, the Circle 2 easily beats out the D-Link Omna as the best HomeKit camera you can buy at the moment.

Though Logitech offers both wired and wire-free versions of the Circle 2, HomeKit only works with the wired version because Apple requires an always-on camera connection, and that's not how the wire-free Circle 2 works.

Design and Features


The wired version of the Circle 2 consists of a small palm-sized camera module that attaches to a base with a pivoting neck, allowing the camera to be positioned and rotated into an ideal angle to work with any room setup. The base can be attached to a wall with a wall mount, and the camera module itself is detachable from the base because it can connect to other accessories like a plug or window mount.


Circle 2 has a white shell around it, and the camera base is also white. It's a simple, attractive design that melds into the decor around it. There's no mistaking this is a camera, though. It has a wide camera lens and an LED light that comes on when it's activated, but that can be turned off for a slightly more discreet look. At the back, there's a 10-ft power cord that needs to be plugged into the wall.
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