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Category: Home Automation

Josh Centers 11 comments

$20 WyzeCam Security Camera Is Almost Too Good to Be True

A Wi-Fi security camera for $20? What’s the catch? Josh Centers shares his experiences with the unbelievably cheap WyzeCam. It’s well-built, has a decent app, works in the dark, and even provides limited cloud storage for free. There’s only one minor problem.

Adam Engst 16 comments

HomePod First Impressions: Let the (Apple) Music Play

We’ve had the HomePod for a weekend, and for the most part, it has been a success when it comes to music, thanks to excellent audio quality and Siri spinning Apple Music tracks with aplomb. Siri on the HomePod has been less useful as a fount of general knowledge, or perhaps we just don’t have the right questions.

Josh Centers 9 comments

HomePod Arrives February 9th, Multi-Room Audio to Follow Later in 2018

Apple has announced a shipping date for the HomePod smart speaker, and you can preorder it now. But should you? Josh Centers expresses some doubts.

Josh Centers 3 comments

HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018

Apple’s HomeKit home-automation ecosystem has been growing slowly but steadily, and numerous companies took advantage of CES 2018 to announce new HomeKit-compatible devices. Explore the most compelling new devices with HomeKit expert Josh Centers.

Josh Centers 1 comment

Apple Releases iOS 11.2.1 and tvOS 11.2.1 to Fix HomeKit Vulnerability

Apple has released small iOS and tvOS updates to fix a significant HomeKit vulnerability.

Josh Centers No comments

HomeKit Vulnerability Discovered, Already Patched

Zac Hall of 9to5Mac discovered a vulnerability in HomeKit, Apple’s home automation framework, that could allow unauthorized control of accessories like smart locks and garage door openers. The good news is that Apple has already closed the security hole on the server side, so your devices are no longer vulnerable. Unfortunately, Apple’s server-side fix also prevents you from giving remote access to shared users. A future update to iOS should eliminate the vulnerability and restore full functionality.

Adam Engst 3 comments

watchOS 4.2 Adds Apple Pay Cash and Moistens HomeKit

In keeping watchOS in sync with iOS, Apple has released watchOS 4.2 with support for Apple Pay Cash, HomeKit sprinklers and faucets, and a workout type for downhill snow sports.

Josh Centers No comments

Philips Adds HomeKit Support to Hue Accessories

In iOS 11, Apple allows device manufacturers to retroactively add HomeKit support to existing home automation devices that rely natively on other standards. Philips is taking advantage of that change and has added HomeKit support to the Hue Smart Tap Switch, Hue Smart Dimmer Switch, and Hue Smart Motion Sensor. HomeKit support does require a second-generation Hue Smart Bridge, but all three of those devices need the Hue Smart Bridge to operate anyway. In theory, you should be able to use these Hue switches and sensors to trigger any other HomeKit device.

Josh Centers 3 comments

Amazon Unveils New Fire TV and Echo Smart Speakers

Amazon is countering Apple’s new Apple TV 4K and upcoming HomePod with a 4K-capable Fire TV and an assortment of aggressively priced Echo smart speakers.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: HomeKit Security Provides Peace of Mind

Julio Ojeda-Zapata frets about potential burglaries when he’s away from home, so before a recent trip he tricked out his house with Internet-connected video cameras, motion sensors, and smart outlets. Most, but not all of the gadgets work with Apple’s HomeKit, which points to lingering gaps in the company’s home-automation ecosystem.

Josh Centers No comments

Apple Stores Introduce Interactive HomeKit Demos

It’s difficult to convey the benefits of home automation to someone who has never experienced it. To address this challenge, Apple has begun rolling out an interactive HomeKit experience in 46 of its retail stores around the world. You’ll be able to use an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to control virtual HomeKit accessories displayed on a screen. While not as impressive as the real thing, it should at least give you an idea of how HomeKit works and how you might integrate it into your house. Other Apple stores will feature a non-interactive HomeKit demo.

Josh Centers 3 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: What’s Coming in iOS 11

Big changes are coming to the HomeKit ecosystem in iOS 11, along with some welcome tweaks for users. Josh Centers looks at why we’ll have more HomeKit hardware, how Apple redesigned Control Center in iOS 11, improvements in setting up Accessories and Automations, and more.

Josh Centers 4 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: The Elgato Eve Room

The Elgato Eve Room is a HomeKit-compatible device that monitors air quality, relative humidity, and temperature in a room. Josh Centers shows you how you can use its data to control your appliances.

Adam Engst 25 comments

Apple Will Enter Smart Speaker Market in December with HomePod

At WWDC, Apple unveiled the HomePod, its entry into the smart speaker market. Due to ship in December for $349, the HomePod promises to provide high-quality audio and virtual assistant capabilities via Siri. We’ll just have to wait until then to see how it compares with the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

Josh Centers 1 comment

Belkin Adding HomeKit Support to Wemo

Last year, Belkin, which makes the popular Wemo line of home automation accessories, rejected adding HomeKit support because it would require new hardware. Now Belkin has reversed course, telling 9to5Mac, “Wemo is committed to bringing HomeKit support to our line of smart home solutions and will be providing more details soon.” Belkin didn’t say what caused the change of heart, but it’s possible that Apple will announce loosened HomeKit restrictions at WWDC.