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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Google acquires smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion in cash, Father of iPod now Google employee

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Google has confirmed in a press release that it is acquiring Nest Labs, the company behind Nest smart thermostats and fire alarms started by Father of the iPod Tony Fadell. Earlier reports were quickly confirmed along with the transaction price of $3.2 billion in cash in an official announcement posted on the company’s Investor website. In the statement, Google said that Fadell will be staying on board as a Google employee and continuing to run Nest:
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CES 2014: Smart thermostat EverSense shows off ‘Aura’ iBeacons to intelligently adjust room temperature

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This week at CES 2014, Allure Energy, makers of a $400 smart thermostat Nest competitor called EverSense, showed off an upcoming add-on to its system that uses Apple’s new Bluetooth LE iBeacon technology. Dubbed “Aura,” the small iBeacons will become an extension to the smart EverSense thermostat by allowing iBeacons to detect iOS devices in proximity and adjust the temperature of a room accordingly. After an initial setup, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature from any room with an Aura iBeacon just by entering the room: Read more

Review: Europe’s answer to Nest, Tado the iPhone-controlled intelligent thermostat

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Affordable home automation has been a long time coming. Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s the 21st Century and homes still don’t have Star Trek style swishy doors as standard.

But iPhone-controlled heating and lighting is here today. Nest hasn’t yet made it to the UK, so I decided to try out competitor system Tado, which is available in Europe now and expected to launch in the US at CES in Las Vegas in January.

In the UK, it costs £249 ($400) outright, or you can rent it for £7 ($11.35) a month. Tado claims you will save more on your heating costs than it costs to rent.

The concept

The idea behind Tado is three-fold. First, automation. As well as the programmable timer you have in any heating system, it also monitors the locations of everyone in the household via their iPhones (or Android phones). If everyone is out, it turns down the heating even if the timer says it should be on.

How much it turns it down depends on how far away you are, because it aims to have it back up to temperature by the time you return. Nip out to the local grocery store, and it won’t adjust it much, drive an hour to work and it’ll turn it down a lot …  Read more