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Category: Home Automation

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Fine Tuning with the Other “Home” App

Apple’s Home app is easy to use, but an older app with the same name gives you more control over your HomeKit home automation.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Automating Your Home

In this installment of A Prairie HomeKit Companion, Josh Centers explains how to put the automation in home automation.

Josh Centers No comments

Apple Versus Amazon in the Smart Home Race

Stephen Nellis of Reuters has penned an article examining the difference in how Apple and Amazon approach home automation. Hardware manufacturers who want to sell HomeKit devices must include special chips and produce their accessories in Apple-approved factories. After that, manufacturers must send their devices to Apple for a lengthy approval process. By comparison, getting a device to work with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant requires just a software review. Getting a “Works with Alexa” label requires hardware testing, but that can be done by a third-party lab and takes no more than 10 days. As a result, Alexa threatens to overwhelm HomeKit with the number of compatible devices, but Apple’s approach leads to easier setup, higher security, and better compatibility. Also, Apple HomeKit devices do not require an Internet connection, which improves both security and response times.

Josh Centers 2 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Controlling Accessories

In this installment of A Prairie HomeKit Companion, Josh Centers moves past setup and explains how to manipulate your HomeKit Accessories. He also tells you how to set up Scenes to save time.

Josh Centers No comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Setting Up Accessories and Rooms

In this second installment of our HomeKit home automation series, Josh Centers walks you through setting up HomeKit Accessories and how to divide your Home into Rooms.

Jeff Porten 3 comments

CES 2017: Gadget Finds on the CES Show Floor, Days 1 and 2

Having finished up with the media-only events, Jeff Porten hits the show floors of CES, and has many miles to go and products to write up for you before he sleeps.

Josh Centers 8 comments

iOS 10.2 Adds TV App, HomeKit Notifications, New Emojis

iOS 10.2 introduces the new TV app for aggregating content across different apps. It also features some key HomeKit improvements and a bunch of new emojis.

Josh Centers 10 comments

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: Core Concepts

Interested in home automation with HomeKit, but don’t know where to start? Josh Centers kicks off a series about HomeKit, starting with its fundamental concepts.

Josh Centers 4 comments

Apple Reveals Home Automation Plans for New Construction

Today you purchase and install HomeKit home automation devices in existing homes, but Apple wants to go beyond retrofits by building the technology into new homes. “We want to bring home automation to the mainstream,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, told Bloomberg. “The best place to start is at the beginning, when a house is just being created.” According to a survey by real-estate firm Trulia, twice as many people prefer a newly built house to a pre-owned property, so perhaps the boost that home automation needs is to become standard in new construction.

Josh Centers 12 comments

Getting Started with the Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs

After years of dismissing them as a gimmick, Josh Centers broke down and purchased a set of Philips’s software-controlled lightbulbs. He explains why they’re better than he expected and how to set them up.

Adam Engst 1 comment

MacTech Conference 2016 Adds Home Automation Showcase

Details of this year’s MacTech Conference are starting to become available, and the conference organizers have announced that the event will feature an Apple-focused Home Automation Showcase. Register by the end of the month to save $600 off the standard pricing.

Josh Centers No comments

The State of HomeKit

One of iOS 8’s touted features is HomeKit, which promises to unify home automation devices and allow them to be controlled by Siri. However, it wasn’t until this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that we got a glimpse of what manufacturers are working on, and so far it’s not pretty. The Verge reports that a number of devices they saw at CES were unstable, and that representatives said that Apple still has a lot of work to do. One fascinating tidbit: the Apple TV will serve as a bridge for HomeKit, enabling you to control your home with Siri while on the road.

Josh Centers No comments

The Apple TV as HomeKit’s Hub

HomeKit in iOS 8 promises to unify all of your connected home devices, but how would you control them while away from home? Christopher Breen of Macworld suggests that the Apple TV might be the home gateway to HomeKit, with an upgraded model serving as a smart hub for home automation.