Holiday gift guide: Smart home products – get a jump on HomeKit for 2015

holiday gift guide smart home products 2014

I wondered earlier this year whether Apple’s HomeKit system would bring home automation to the masses. The good news is that you don’t need to wait for HomeKit to start bringing smart home technology to your family and friends – and we’ve put together a gift guide covering some of the main products that might bring a smile to their faces during the holidays.

With the right gadgets, they will be able to control lighting, heating, cooking, sound systems … even have their kettle switch on when they walk up to their front door, which will automatically unlock as they approach. Best of all, you can get them in on the smart home action from just $30 …

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Philips launching app controlled ‘hue personal wireless lighting’ bulbs at Apple Stores tomorrow

Philips announced today that it would launch what it called “the world’s smartest LED bulb” exclusively at Apple stores starting tomorrow. The bulbs themselves work like any standard light bulb, but they use a bridge plugged into your router to allow you to personalize lighting settings and timers. This of course is not the first app-enabled product for the home to hit Apple Stores. Apple already sold the first and second-generation of the Nest Learning Thermostat.

The hue bulbs provide all “shades of white, from warm white light to cold with light,” as well as a selection of colors and pre-programmed settings. You can even use a photo from your device as a color palette and save and program settings to activate at certain times of day. Philips said the hue bulbs consume 80 percent less power than traditional bulbs.

Philips will sell a hue starter kit at Apple stores tomorrow that consists of three 50Watt hue bulbs and the hue bridge. That will sell for $199. You’ll also have the ability to purchase additional individual bulbs for $60 and add up to 50 to your existing hue bridge.

Philips is even offering the hue app and an open source platform to developers:

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