Withings’ new HomeKit-integrated video monitoring & environmental sensor device detects crying

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Withings, a company well-known for its line of iPhone-connected health and fitness tracking accessories, today announced a new video monitoring device with environmental sensors called  Home. While Home is a video monitoring solution that can be used for security, the company is also including some pretty unique features that it hopes will make your home both a healthier and safer environment. Read more

Elgato announces Eve home automation integrated with Apple’s HomeKit, Avea smart LED lights and Smart Power batteries

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Everything has pretty much stopped in North America for Labor Day (except for perv hackers), but IFA 2014 is ramping up in Germany and Elgato is using this event to debut a new lineup of smart accessories. The announcement encompasses three major new products: Eve, Avea, and Smart Power.

Elgato Eve is easily the most compelling new product in this lineup. Through the use of several sensors, Avea monitors your home’s “air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy and water consumption.” These Bluetooth connected sensors report back to your iPhone or iPad via the Elgato Eve app. And here’s the best part, it will be fully compatible with Apple HomeKit…
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Samsung acquires iOS-connected home automation company SmartThings

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About a month ago, word broke that Samsung was interested in acquiring home automation firm SmartThings and today the two companies have made things official. A blog post by the company’s founder and CEO, Alex Hawkinson acknowledged the deal and stated that SmartThings will continue to act as an independent company under Samsung’s Open Innovation Center group.

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Review: iKettle, the iPhone-controlled kettle for gadget-loving tea drinkers

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Any tea drinker will know the experience. You wander into the kitchen to put the kettle on to make tea, wander back to the living-room or office and half an hour later realize you forgot all about it. So the second time you stand there waiting impatiently for it to boil. This is the problem the iKettle sets out to solve.

That, at least, is my excuse. The reality, of course, is that it’s a kettle with wifi – how could anyone reasonably expect me to resist … ?  Read more

Android Wear gives us a glimpse at what home automation with an iWatch should look like

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Home automation, a category more broadly referred to as the “internet of things,” is almost surely going to be a large and growing market in the coming years. And while Apple’s recently announced entry is the forthcoming HomeKit platform, Google has yet to announce anything exactly equivalent. At I/O 2014, however, Google did announce its plan for Nest, and shed much more light on its Android Wear smartwatch operating system.

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‘Parenthood’ iPhone ad airs with focus on families and HomeKit devices

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Apple has begun airing a new TV ad to promote the iPhone 5s that focuses on uses by parents within both “Smart Homes” and in everyday family life. The ad, aptly named “Parenthood,” shows how the iPhone can be used to record home video, find a lost dog, monitor the children, and turn off the lights in the living room. The ad comes ahead of HomeKit Smart Home appliance integration with iOS 8 this fall. Sources have also indicated that Apple is developing its own line of connected hardware for the home. Apple’s previous iPhone ad, part of the same “more powerful than you think series” demonstrated various uses for the iPhone in the health and fitness space. You can watch the latest ad below:

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Apple’s HomeKit partner Honeywell launches Lyric smart thermostat Nest competitor

With Apple stepping into the home automation arena by way of offering closer device integration through its new HomeKit API announced alongside iOS 8, just about every appliance in the home is potential for being refreshed and gaining deeper connectivity with our iPhones and iPads. Honeywell, a launch partner for Apple’s new home automation development tools, is today announcing its new Lyric smart thermostat to compete against similar offerings from competitors like the now Google-owned Nest. Read more

Gallery: First look at iOS 8 with Health app, Notification Center widgets, and more

Earlier today Apple announced the next version of its iOS software, iOS 8, during the WWDC keynote today. Below you’ll find a gallery of all the new bells and whistles in the latest operating system. If you’ve got some screenshots you’d like to send us, you can send them to tips@9to5mac.com.

The new software includes features like iOS-to-Mac continuity, quick-reply for first- and third-party apps, a new predictive text keyboard, changes to the Mail appHealthKit framework and Health app, Family Sharing features, new Photos cloud storage, an updated iCloud pricing scheme, new commands for Siri, App Store changes including beta distribution, a Touch ID API, third-party keyboards, new iCloud management and development features, a home automation framework, and even support for a brand new programming language.

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Apple announces HomeKit API for iOS, will serve as a central hub for home automation

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Along with several other new APIs for developers, Apple has announced HomeKit which allows all home automation accessories/devices to work together. The new API will allow home automation developers to centralize all home automation in iOS without needing separate apps to access each device’s specific features. These devices include locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches, and more.

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Apple’s home automation system will be less of a hub, more of a ‘made for iPhone’ program

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Acquiring the Nest Learning Thermostat was Google’s big step into home automation

As first reported on Monday, Apple is said to be preparing a home automation system for debut at WWDC next week. While this was the first anyone had heard of any such plans, several different sources have quickly come together to give an idea of how an “Apple Smart Home” will likely function.

On Monday, as noted above, the Financial Times first reported that Apple’s new program would not consist of a group of first-party automated appliances or other devices connected to an iPhone. Instead, the program will work similarly to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” program. Essentially the only role Apple will play is to grant special branding to compliant devices.

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Opinion: Will Apple’s Smart Home concept bring home automation to the masses?

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It’s the 21st Century: weren’t we all supposed to be living in automated homes by now? Where we walk in the door after a long day to have our home playing some soothing music, informing us that it’s run us a bath and that dinner will be ready in 45 minutes? Where a robot has done the cleaning, changed the flowers, accepted a parcel that arrived while we were at work and fed the cat?

That dream seems to be a long time coming. I’m a reasonably techy guy who loves the idea of home automation, yet even I only have three examples in my home (which I’ll mention along the way). Most mass-market consumers haven’t even noticed that the products exist, and the few who have tend to view it all as too complicated or fiddly.

If anyone can change that perception, it’s Apple. Which is why the Financial Times report yesterday that Apple is working on a new approach to home automation that may be unveiled at WWDC next week caught my attention …  Read more

2014: The year of the iPhone-controlled everything

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There are some technologies that happened way earlier than they had any right to. Frankly, putting a man on the moon in the days when the Apollo Guidance Computer really did have less power than a pocket calculator was an insane achievement.

And then there are those technologies that have taken way, way longer than they should have done – with home automation heading the list. The main reason it was such a slow-burn was the lack of a standard interface (X.10 never really established itself in the home).

2014, however, looks set to be the year in which all that changes, with the iPhone the new standard interface. Steve Jobs once said that the Mac was the hub at the center of our digital lives; this year, it looks like the iPhone is taking over the crown …

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