Bloomberg: Apple Increasing Hiring for Team Working on New HomeKit Devices Beyond HomePod

Apple is ramping up hiring for a team working on new HomeKit-based devices and software, having posted at least 15 openings for engineering positions on the team in the last month, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.


The report claims the efforts are headed by Andreas Gal, the former CTO of Mozilla who joined Apple last year following the iPhone maker's acquisition of Silk Labs, an artificial intelligence startup that had created a privacy-focused security camera and smart home hub system.

Details are vague, but one possibility is said to be new smart home devices beyond the HomePod speaker. Apple is also said to have explored creating a wide range of smart home accessories, such as modules for opening and closing windows, cabinets, and doors, but those efforts were reportedly put on hold.


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Anker’s New EufyCam 2 Security Camera Will Be Able to Store Video Recordings Securely in iCloud Later This Year

Anker this week unveiled the EufyCam 2, one of the first security cameras that will support Apple's new HomeKit Secure Video feature, allowing the camera to capture and store recordings securely in iCloud.


HomeKit Secure Video will only be available to users that pay for 200GB or more of iCloud storage, starting at $2.99 per month. Users with the 200GB plan can store 10 days of recordings from one camera in iCloud at no extra cost, while those with a 2TB plan can store 10 days of recordings from up to five cameras. HomeKit Secure Video recordings do not count towards a user's iCloud storage usage.

With an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad as the home hub, HomeKit Secure Video uses on-device intelligence to privately analyze activity captured from the EufyCam 2 to detect whether it sees a person, vehicle, or an animal before securely sending it to iCloud, ensuring that users are only alerted to important activity.

A demo of HomeKit Secure Video from an iPad at an Apple Store was recently shared by Zach Truskowski, as noted by HomeKit Hero:


HomeKit Secure Video is billed as a safer option than storing recordings on the servers of third-party accessory makers.

With support for HomeKit in general, the EufyCam 2 can stream live video in the Home app on an iPhone or iPad, complete with Siri support. When the cameras detect motion, they automatically send a push notification to an iPhone or iPad, and users are able to view live video immediately from the lock screen.

EufyCam 2 will be available for pre-order in November from Best Buy in the United States, with pricing starting at $349.99 for a two-camera kit. Key features include 1080p recording, 365-day battery life, and night vision. Google Assistant and Alexa are also supported for voice control.


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Arlo Ultra Security Camera and Netatmo Weather Station Now Support HomeKit

Two smart home accessories gained HomeKit support today, including the Arlo Ultra security camera and the Netatmo Weather Station.

Arlo Ultra


While users can already control Arlo Ultra cameras via the Arlo app, HomeKit compatibility enables iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch users to control the cameras with Apple's Home app and Siri voice commands. A free-of-charge automatic firmware update is now rolling out for both new and existing Ultra users.

With HomeKit, Arlo Ultra owners will now be able to receive notifications via the Home app when motion is detected. On the iPhone and iPad, users can also use Siri to quickly activate a HD livestream of the camera feed.


HomeKit also allows users to set up automations to control other HomeKit-enabled smart home devices. For example, users can set up an automation to trigger HomeKit-enabled lights to turn on at certain times when motion is detected by an Arlo Ultra camera for added comfort and security.

Arlo Ultra security cameras have a wire-free setup and feature 4K HDR video quality, color night vision, a 180-degree diagonal field-of-view, an integrated spotlight, and two-way audio with advanced noise cancelation.

Pricing starts at $399.99, including a one-year subscription to 30-day rolling storage of cloud recordings.

Netatmo Weather Station


Netatmo has announced that all of its Weather Stations manufactured since October 2016 are now compatible with HomeKit. Older models do not support HomeKit due to necessary hardware changes Netatmo had to make.

To check whether your Weather Station is compatible with HomeKit, open the Netatmo Weather app on an iPhone or iPad and navigate to Settings > Station Name > Indoor Module > Hardware Version within the app. Station V3 models now support HomeKit, while V1 and V2 models do not.


HomeKit support allows Weather Station owners to view the indoor and outdoor humidity and temperature, indoor CO2 level, and indoor air quality in Apple's Home app. Noise, atmospheric pressure, wind, and rain data remains limited to the Netatmo Weather app for now due to HomeKit limitations.

Weather Station users can also ask Siri to read aloud the measurements. Example questions include "Hey Siri, what's the temperature on the balcony?" or "Hey Siri, what's the CO2 level in the living room?"

And with automations, users can trigger various actions, such as HomeKit-enabled lights turning on if indoor CO2 levels become too high. Apple's Home app does not currently allow users to create automations related to temperature and humidity because those metrics are not recognized as triggers.

Weather Station pricing starts at $179.99.


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LG’s 2019 UHD UM7X TVs Now Support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit

LG recently rolled out a firmware update to customers who own an LG TV in the UHD UM7X series, enabling HomeKit and AirPlay 2 functionality. LG originally said that this firmware update would be available in October, but the software has come out early.

LG UHD UM7X TV owners can download the new 04.70.03 software update to enable the new functionality. AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support first began rolling out on LG TVs in July.


With AirPlay 2, LG TV users can stream TV shows and movies from an iOS or macOS device directly to the television, with no Apple TV set-top box required. A movie can be started on an iPhone and AirPlayed right to a TV, plus content can be mirrored from a Mac or iOS device to the TV.

AirPlay 2 lets multiple audio sources to play the same content, so a song can be played on a single television set, multiple television sets, or a TV and other AirPlay 2 devices such as speakers for whole home audio.

The AirPlay 2 functionality in LG TVs is linked to HomeKit, so LG TV sets with the new firmware will show up in the Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. In the Home app, LG TV users can do things like switch inputs, turn the television on and off, and adjust the volume. Siri can also be used for these commands, so a simple "Hey Siri" voice request on an iOS or macOS device can adjust the volume or turn the TV on or off, much like other HomeKit products.

LG also plans to enable HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support on its LG UHD UM6X series television sets as well as the LG NanoCell SM83 series or below, but those software updates have yet to be released.

(Thanks, Samuel!)


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LG’s $30,000 88-Inch OLED TV Now Available, Will Support HomeKit and AirPlay 2

LG today announced that its new 88-inch 8K OLED and 75-inch 8K LED smart TVs are available at select U.S. retailers starting today, priced at $29,999 and $4,999 respectively. LG says both models will receive a firmware update that enables HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support later this fall.


AirPlay 2 support will enable users to stream videos, music, podcasts, and more directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to these TVs, with no Apple TV box necessary. And with HomeKit, users can easily control the TV's power, volume, source, and more using Siri or the Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

LG says the 88-inch model is the largest OLED TV ever, with an 8K Ultra HD resolution of 7,680x4,320 for a total of nearly 33 million pixels. The TV features a slim-bezel display with a brushed aluminum stand and comes with an integrated 80W speaker system that is said to deliver powerful sound.

LG first rolled out HomeKit and AirPlay 2 to select 2019 OLED and NanoCell 4K UHD smart TVs with ThinQ AI capability in July, with remaining 4K UHD TV series in LG's 2019 lineup slated to receive the features in October.

Many customers have petitioned LG to offer AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on its older smart TVs, but the company has not budged so far, noting that it "cannot guarantee" that pre-2019 models "will be able to deliver a seamless user experience." LG did note that it "may be a possibility in the future."

AirPlay 2 and HomeKit are also available on select Vizio smart TVs, and Sony promised to roll out the features in summer 2019, but it has yet to do so. Samsung offers an Apple TV app and AirPlay 2, but not HomeKit, on select TVs.


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Eve Launches New ‘Eve Extend’ Bluetooth Range Extender

Eve Systems, known for its range of HomeKit-enabled products, today highlighted four new devices that are coming out later this year, some of which will be available in the United States and some limited to Europe.

Eve Extend, a Bluetooth range extender designed for the Bluetooth-equipped Eve devices, is launching today. It's designed to connect to your Bluetooth Eve accessories to make them available across your WiFi network.


Eve Extend is able to connect to either a 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi network, and it can work with up to eight Eve accessories. More than one Eve Extend can be paired up to expand the reach of Eve products to all corners of the home. Eve Extend can be ordered from the Eve website for $50 starting today.

A European version of the Eve Light Switch, which replaces a traditional light switch and adds HomeKit connectivity, is launching in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands this fall. Eve Light Switch is priced at 99.95 euros and will be available on October 1.


Eve is debuting a new version of the Eve Thermo smart radiator valve, which features a clearer display, better touch controls with feedback, and a quieter motor. Eve Thermo will be available for 70 euros starting on September 16.


Eve is also working on the Eve Water Guard, a device that's designed to detect moisture and send alerts so you can address a leak as soon as it happens. Eve Water Guard comes with a 4.3 foot water sensing cable that extends its detection range beyond other HomeKit water detectors on the market.


Eve says that the Eve Water Guard will be launching in January 2020, with pricing and availability to be announced at a later date.

Tags: HomeKit, Eve

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Signify Launches New Philips Hue Smart Plug and Smart Button

Signify today announced several new Philips Hue branded products, adding to its available line of Hue bulbs and devic

The Philips Hue Smart Plug, priced at $39.99, is designed to turn lamps that aren't compatible with Hue bulbs into smart lamps able to be controlled via the Philips Hue app and HomeKit.


You can plug any table lamp, floor lamp, or other device into the Smart plug to add it to your Philips Hue setup. The Smart Plug can be switched on or off using the Hue app or HomeKit controls.

A new Philips Hue Smart Button, priced at $19.99, gives you a physical control option for your Philips Hue lights. You can assign a single press to activate whichever lights you want to control, and a press and a hold can brighten or dim the lights.


Paired with the Philips Hue Bridge, the button can be configured to do things like turning your lights to a preset shade of white and a brightness level that suits the time of day.

In the morning, a press of the Smart Button will turn the lights to cool, energizing shades of white, and in the evening, a button press will trigger warmer, dimmer light settings.


The Smart Button features a magnetic backing and an adhesive mini mount so you can put it wherever it's most useful.

Signify is debuting a new Bluetooth version of the Philips Hue Go portable lamp ($79.99), which can be used on its own with the Philips Hue Bluetooth app or added to any standard Philips Hue setup. The new Hue Go option is similar to the existing Hue Go, but with a longer battery life.


There are also new Bluetooth-enabled versions of the GU10 White and Color Ambiance and White Ambiance bulbs that can be used without a hub over Bluetooth, plus they feature higher lumen output, a new design, and richer colors.

The last new product is a Philips Hue White E12 candle bulb, ideal for ceiling fans, chandeliers, and other similar lights. The new E12 candle bulbs work over Bluetooth or with a Hue Bridge.

The Smart Plug and Smart Button will be launching in October, while the new Hue Go is coming in November. The GU10 spotlights and the E12 candle bulbs will be available starting in September. More info on the new products can be found on the Hue website.


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Philips Hue Line Gains New Filament Smart Bulbs

Signify today announced that its Philip Hue line of lights is gaining several new filament bulb options, which will be available in a variety of sizes.

Filament bulbs are bulbs that can be used with or without a lampshade, unlike other Hue bulbs that are designed for use primarily with lampshades. Filament bulbs can be viewed straight on and look attractive even when displayed in a naked lamp.


The Filament bulbs can be used over Bluetooth without a Philips Hue hub using the Philips Hue Bluetooth app, but if you have an existing Hue setup, the bulbs can also be added in the traditional manner and paired with your other Hue lights.

The Hue Filament bulbs are LED bulbs that are available only in a warm white light (2100K, 530 lumens) with an amber coating. The bulbs can be dimmed, but there are no color options.


There are three Hue Filament bulbs that will be available in the United States starting in October. There's a traditional A19 bulb that will be available for $24.99, a ST19 tube that will be available for $27.99, and a G25 globe that will be available for $32.99.

For more on the new Filament bulbs, check out the Hue website.


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Review: Satechi’s Dual Smart Outlet Offers HomeKit Compatibility and Power Monitoring

Satechi this summer launched its first HomeKit-compatible product, the Dual Smart Outlet, a HomeKit plug that turns dumb appliances and electronics into smart electronics that can work alongside other HomeKit products.

There are quite a few HomeKit-enabled smart plugs on the market, but Satechi's version is relatively compact and offers some bells and whistles that not all HomeKit plugs provide.


Design wise, the Dual Smart Outlet is made from an unobtrusive white plastic, and it offers two separate HomeKit plugs. It plugs into a standard socket horizontally, leaving the other socket of your standard dual socket outlet free to use. Satechi's Smart Outlet is one of the better space saving plugs on the market, even though it's not exactly small.

Other options from companies like iHome or Wemo take up similar amounts of space, but offer just one smart outlet. There are some smaller single plug options on the market that are better picks if you only need a single smart outlet, but Satechi's is a good way to connect two devices.
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TP-Link’s Kasa Smart Plug Mini Won’t Support HomeKit After All

TP-Link today announced that it has abandoned its plans to add HomeKit support to its Kasa Smart Plug Mini.


From a new support document on TP-Link's website via Reddit:
Due to changes in our roadmap, the Kasa Smart Plug Mini (HS105) smart plug will not offer support for Apple HomeKit. Despite the change in direction for this specific SKU, our team is committed to the development of innovative smart home solutions that will continue to delight our customers around the globe.
TP-Link originally planned to add HomeKit support to the smart plug in early 2019, a promise that it has now broken.

Fortunately, HomeKit-enabled smart plugs are quite common, with a wide variety of options available from brands such as Eve, iDevices, iHome, and Wemo. They can be used to conveniently turn on and off TVs, lamps, coffee machines, and other household objects with an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch.


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