Smart thermostat maker ecobee is teasing its upcoming ecobee4, which is set to debut on May 3rd. The new model is rumored to include a built-in microphone and speaker with Amazon Alexa voice control built-in. ecobee4 will reportedly have a sleeker, yet familiar, design and the separate room sensors are said to be silver instead of white. The company also lowered the ecobee3 price ahead of next week’s announcement from US$249 to $199. That’s a pretty sweet deal for a full-features smart thermostat that’s also HomeKit compatible. If you want to follow along with ecobee’s announcements next Wednesday you’ll need to head over to the company’s Facebook page.
Logitech’s POP Smart Button is getting HomeKit support, and its POP Smart Button Kit will be available in Apple’s retail stores. The button supports a wide range of devices, so you can use it to control non-HomeKit gear, too.
Dr. Mac was recently invited to review a smart deadbolt. He explained that he’s not a do-it-yourself type of guy, and probably didn’t have the tools or skills to install a deadbolt. He also questioned the need to ever unlock his door using an iPhone instead of a key. A Sense Smart deadbolt kit arrived a few days later; he installed it himself in under an hour.
Apple updated its HomeKit page with a fresh, new look. It includes a brief video that shows the power of HomeKit automation with iOS 10. Examples in the video include lights, window shades, coffee makers, door locks and thermostats. Apple also has several sections that give details of different areas of the Home app.
Work Visas for the tech industry may be changing thanks to an executive order that’s said to be coming from the White House. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to look at the draft order and the impact it could have on Apple and other Silicon Valley companies. They also have some thoughts on the rapidly changing smart home market and Apple’s apparent lagging position.
Back from CES, your two favorite geeks have some fun stuff to report about and all of your questions to answer. The latter include things like fixing Mail.app’s CPU-hogging, which hibernatemode to use for your MacBook, and much, much more. Press play and enjoy!
LAS VEGAS – iDevices introduced Wall Switch, Wall Dimmer, and Wall Outlet at CES. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices support Apple’s HomeKit, as well as Amazon Echo. They don’t need a hub, and company reps told me they meet all of Apple’s and Amazon’s security (and other) requirements. Folks looking to build a HomeKit-specific smarthome should take a good look at these devices.
Sylvania announced Tuesday it was launching an LED smartbulb in its LEDVANCE product line with support for Apple’s HomeKit (yay!). Better yet, the Smart Multicolor A19 doesn’t require a hub—just plug it in, find it with Apple’s Home app, and you’re good to go. Sylvania said the device will be sold through Amazon and ship in “early 2017.” This will be a great addition to the HomeKit ecosystem. To that end, I’ve been seeing more HomeKit stuff in my inbox during the last few weeks for CES 2017. It’s almost as if Apple’s smarthome platform is finally coming alive. Let’s hope, at any rate. I’ve left messages with Sylvania reps asking about pricing, which wasn’t announced. Sylvania also didn’t release images of the new bulb—the image below is of current products in the company’s smartbulb line. [Update: Sylvania’s PR folks got back to me—pricing is definitely unannounced. I also added a rendered image of the A19. We’ll be visiting with the company next week at CES. – Bryan]
In today’s Quick Tip, Melissa Holt is going to walk us through how to allow someone to access the devices in our Home app. It’s fun! We live in a very strange future in which your friend across the country could turn your lights on and off to mess with you…but only if you know how to invite him in first.
The recent botnet attacks have called into question the security of all our various internet of Things (ioT) devices, and rightfully so. One of the regular chimes I hear in our Apple-centric universe is, “HomeKit is secure, it must be the answer.” Unfortunately, HomeKit is only built to secure HomeKit, not everything. More must be done.
There has been much written about how Friday’s DDoS attack was made possible by a security hole present in various internet of Things (ioT) devices. The lingering question is: how do we prevent this from happening again? The answer might be sitting right there in your home.
HomeKit in iOS 10 requires Two-Factor authentication if you plan to remotely control or monitor your smarthome devices. That isn’t a big deal, unless you’re one of the unlucky few who were blocked from switchting to Apple’s more secure password authentication system. The good news is that Apple finally fixed the issue, so HomeKit can be more that your in-home personal assistant again.
Parts of the internet ground to a halt on Friday, October 21, when a group of hackers targeted Dyn with a distributed Denial of Service attack. The attack temporarily broke the path to many websites, including Twitter, and blocking similar attacks in the future will be a monumental task because the hackers used the internet-connected devices already in our homes.
If you upgraded to iOS 10 on your iPhone or iPad, and tvOS 10 on your fourth generation Apple TV and now can’t remotely access your HomeKit devices, there’s probably an easy fix for that. Odds are you haven’t enabled iCloud Two-Factor authentication, which HomeKit in iOS 10 and tvOS 10 requires. Read on to learn how to get set up.
Are you an early HomeKit adopter using a third-gen AppleTV as your hub? If so, you may need to buy some new hardware after upgrading to iOS 10, as the new features in Apple’s home automation and control platform also introduce new compatibility requirements.