Apple Stores to Sell Philips Hue Wireless LED Light Bulbs

| Product News

Consumer electronics giant Philips announced on Monday that it has landed a new LED lighting product a coveted spot in Apple's fleet of retail stores. Called Hue, the LED lights are light bulb replacements that feature wireless control from smartphone apps, the ability to shift color, and a US$56-a-pop price tag.

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Philips Hue Starter Kit, at Apple Stores on October 30th

Hue represents a major push to get LED lighting into homes. Its chief benefit is that it produces 600 lumens the same light as a 50-watt incandescent light bulb, but it does so using only 8.5 watts of power. It does so with a cost, however, as noted above, though LED lights typically have an immensely long lifespan.

Hue brings more to the table, however, including the feature that most likely helped land it space in Apple Stores next to the Nest thermostat (see our review of Nest for more information), and that is the ability to control it from iOS and Android apps, as you can see in the video below.

That control far exceeds a simple on/off switch, though, as Hue can be shifted across every shade of white (sorry, but that includes very few shades of grey), as well as "a wide variety of color." The company doesn't specify those colors, but the marketing materials demonstrate red, blue, orange, yellow, each with a wide variety of shades.

So, users can control power (on/off), the hue, and the intensity of their light remotely from their iOS or supported Android devices. This is made possible by a bridge that you plug into your home router. Apple will be selling a starter kit for $199 that includes three Hue lights and a bridge. Additional lights can then be purchased for $56 apiece. Users can connect up to 50 individual Hue bulbs to one bridge.

Other features, according to Philips:

  • Save your favorite light scenes for each room or time of day and recall them in an instant
  • Use any photo on your phone as a color palette to paint your room with light and bring your memories back to life
  • Tune white light from warm candlelight to vibrant, cool white light
  • Create ambience or complement your decor with the colors of the rainbow
  • Control and monitor your lights remotely when not at home for security and peace of mind
  • Set timers to help manage your daily routine
  • Let light wake you up refreshed or help your loved ones fall asleep

Hue will be available at Apple's retail stores starting on October 30th.

Philips Hue Promo Video

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It's interesting that Apple has been adding products like Nest, and now Hue, to its Apple Stores. These are very much lifestyle products, though perhaps it would be more accurate to call them smart lifestyle products.

They are not, however, products specifically built for Apple's ecosystem of Macs, iPhones, and iPads, making it an interesting choice.

Be that as it may, Hue is cool, for those who can afford it. This reporter has long considered LED lighting to be the future of consumer lighting, largely because LED uses little power compared to legacy lighting technology, and LED bulbs last a very long time.

LED lights are still more expensive than legacy light bulbs—especially incandescent bulbs—but with a long life to recoup their costs, some will consider it worth the investment.

Hue ups the ante, though, by offering features you simply can't get from legacy technology. Admittedly few people have been running around saying that what they really needed in their lives was the ability to have their lightbulbs change colors, but the reality is that having that ability will result in Hue users finding ways to use it.

We have long known that color affects our mood, from calming us down, to getting us excited, to some shade that Philips said makes it easier to concentrate. Hue means that this might have a practical effect in your life.

Which reminds us how much we enjoy running f.lux on our Macs to effect the hue of our display throughout the day.

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I walked into my dark house today and thought about how nice it would be if my lamp knew when I was home and turned itself on for me.

Lee Dronick

I can see the usefulness of this set up. At night I keep my iPhone on the nightstand. Both as an emergency phone, but as my alarm clock. Now the Hue may not be able to display 50 shades of gray, but the mood lighting it can provide may instigate such a thing.


@Lee - TMI

(But is this why you used to be referred to as “FlashMan?”) smile

Lee Dronick

Ctopher, I can not resist making jokes and word play. Anyway it was Bryan who started it “Hue can be shifted across every shade of white (sorry, but that includes very few shades of grey)”

Flashman was an alter ego, but I mostly enjoy the novels for the history they contain. He is a fictional character, but the stories are very much based on actual history.

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