Flipping the switch
Apple introduced HomeKit, a framework that puts iOS in your connected home accessories, at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. We’ve seen sneak peeks of HomeKit-compatible devices over the last six months, but buyers couldn’t get their hands on these products until Apple gave manufacturers the go-ahead.
On Tuesday, the first wave of HomeKit accessories finally went on sale. You can buy them today, though some are just available to preorder and won’t hit store shelves until July.
One hub to control them all
The Insteon Hub will act a bridge between its own smart home gear and HomeKit-compatible products from other companies. With the hub, you can control all of your accessories from the Insteon+ app.
The hub uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to bridge Insteon's dual-band technology to your existing home network. That means Insteon’s products, based on its mesh network, can talk to other wireless HomeKit devices. You won’t have to swap out an existing Insteon setup to buy all new HomeKit-certified devices.
Price: $150 Availability: On sale now at Smarthome and Amazon
Light it up
Lutron just baked HomeKit into its Caseta lighting system, so you can use the Caseta app and a little help from Siri to control your lights room-by-room.
The company is selling its HomeKit-enabled Wireless Lighting Starter Kit, which includes a Smart Bridge, two plug-in dimmers, and two remote controls, in Apple Stores starting today. You can buy an additional wall dimmer for $60 each, and more remote controls for $15 each.
If you already own the Caseta lighting system, Lutron is selling a new Smart Bridge as a stand-alone device. Just swap your existing bridge out and replace it with the new $119 version, which will make it HomeKit-compatible. A $200 Pro version will make your lights compatible with other connected home systems.
Price: $230 Availability: On sale at Apple Stores now
A more comfortable home
Elgato’s Eve line of HomeKit-compatible sensors are designed to make the rooms in your house more comfortable by monitoring everything from air quality to energy consumption.
The four types of sensors, Eve Room, Eve Weather, Eve Door & Window, and Eve Energy, collect information about their respective areas and show you every detail in the Eve app. With Eve Energy, a sensor you place between your power outlet and an electrical device, you can can use Siri to turn off the connected device remotely. You don’t need a hub or a bridge—the sensors connect to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth and the Eve app and Siri will give you all the control.
Price: Ranges from $40-$80 Availability: You can preorder now, and Apple will begin selling the sensors online in July
Siri, it's cold in here
Fans of Ecobee’s Wi-Fi smart thermostat will have to shell out more cash for the upgraded Ecobee3, but for some, HomeKit integration will be worth paying for.
The new thermostat and its sensors give you hyper-local, room-by-room control over the temperature in your home.
You’ll be able to set heating and cooling schedules in the Ecobee app and control the thermostat with Siri. The Ecobee3 will also work with other HomeKit devices, so you can shut down entire rooms when you leave, or wake up all of your devices when you walk in the door.
Price: $249 for thermostat and sensor, $79 for additional sensors Availability: Goes on sale in July at Apple Stores
Power up your dumb devices
iHome is giving you remote control over any electrical device with its new HomeKit-enabled smart plug. The iSP5 SmartPlug fits into any standard wall socket, so you can plug in lamps, fans, or other appliances just as you normally would. The iHome Control app lets you group multiple plugs into a scene, like a living room or bedroom, so you can turn on all of your devices when you enter a room. The app also supports schedules so you can automate even your dumbest electrical devices.
iHome has more HomeKit-compatible accessories waiting in the wings, but the iSP5 SmartPlug is the first to go on sale.
Price: TBD Availability: Preorders begin June 15
Just getting started
The five HomeKit accessories announced Tuesday are just the first wave. We saw a slew of compatible devices at this year’s International CES, like iDevice’s Switch (pictured to the left), that haven’t yet been given launch dates or prices. Now that Apple has flipped the switch, smart home accessory makers are surely putting their plans in motion.
Apple is also expected to unveil an overhauled Apple TV at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which could position the device as a HomeKit hub with an accompanying app as part of iOS 9.
The smart home is finally coming together. We’ll find out more June 8, so stay tuned.