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All the new HomeKit gear unveiled at CES 2018

2018 January 16
by RSS Feed

CES 2018 has brought many new goodies for Apple fans, but one of the most prolific categories has been HomeKit. We saw more than a dozen new HomeKit products debut here, and we rounded them all up into one place.

2018 will bring new HomeKit accessories in all categories, including several new cameras, new buttons and switches, and many faucets.

Check out the video to see them all for yourself, or peruse the list.

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Orbit

Orbit has announced they are bringing HomeKit support to their B-Hyve watering systems. It will first be coming to the B-Hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer and the B-Hyve Indoor Watering System.

The timer and hub will be available throughout the US and Canada this January for $69.99.

Elgato

Elgato has added two products to their Eve lineup. An updated version of the Eve Room, and the new Eve Button.

The Eve Room 2 has a new aluminum body and an e-ink display, while also ditching the AA batteries.

The Eve Button allows you to easily control lights and scenes with the press of a button. Instead of replacing a wall switch, these are movable and have up to three different functions built into them. A single press, a double press, and a long hold.

Kohler

Kohler introduced their new Kohler Konnect program that brings HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant to several of their smart home products.

The first pair of products to support HomeKit include the Kohler Konnect Sensate Faucet and the Kohler Konnect DTV+ Shower System.

The faucet lets you dispense precise amounts of water on your command, and the shower system allows you to set different shower scenes with your lights, temperatures, and more. How handy will it be to tell Siri to start warming up the shower for you?

Moen

Similar to the DTV+ Shower System, HomeKit will be coming to the U by Moen Smart Shower System.

Each user can have their own profile, and you can use Siri and HomeKit to set scenes and control the water/temperature.

Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf’s got a pair of new products set to debut throughout 2018.

The first is the Nanoleaf Remote. This 12-sided dodecahedron is capable of controlling your Nanolead lights. You can twist it clockwise/counterclockwise to increase/decrease the brightness, or switch sides to change the light patterns.

What’s more, since it works with HomeKit, you an use it to trigger any HomeKit scenes you’ve got configured. So that could be your morning scene that opens the garage, raises the blinds, adjusts your thermostat, starts your shower, makes your coffee, and turns the lights on, or any others.

The second is their next generation lighting panel.

These are now square shaped, and touch sensitive. You can press on them to turn them on with a variety of different effects. This new technology will also be coming to their next iteration on the popular Aurora triangle shaped lighting panels.

Koogeek

Koogeek has added a new LED lightship to their lineup.

It can change to millions of colors, and is extendable if you’d like some extra length.

Unlike others, it also has a handy button on the relatively small controller module to turn on and off without your phone.

It is actually available now, though appears out of stock on Amazon.

Abode

Abode has released a new version of the Iota Camera with HomeKit built in, and will retroactively be adding it to their previous Iotas already in customer’s hands.

It has Z-wave, Zigbee, and Abode RF built in to work with a variety of other smart home platforms and accessories. What is really useful, is it can work with a SIM card, and the integrated backup battery to still stream footage even when you lose power.

The iota will be available in the first quarter of 2018 for $329.

Belkin


The new Belkin WeMo Bridge will bring HomeKit support to the variety of WeMo sensors already on the market. This was announced by Belkin some time ago, but it is now finally available.

It is already out, and available on Amazon for $39.99 for WeMo users.

Philips

Philips has announced two new pieces of information for Hue users.

First, they will be working with Razer for new lighting features for Hue. Second, they will be introducing the Hue Entertainment app for your computer. This will allow you to sync whatever is your screen to your Hue lights.

ConnectSense

ConnectSense has updated their fine SmartOutlet to version 2 at CES, bringing with it more reliability, easier remote access, and support for other virtual assistants.

They’ve also announced a new in-wall outlet to make your smart home more seamless, and less reliant on external adapters.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but they are looking to undercut their competitors like iDevices and Elgato, and are targeting a Q3 release this year.

Fibaro

The Button from Fibaro was announced at CES, bringing multi-scene control to this adorable button.

It comes in several different colors, and has a delightful retro look. It is battery-powered so it can be hooked up anywhere.

If you prefer other home platforms, the Z-wave version has up to 7 commands, above the 3 allotted for HomeKit.

It will start shipping in Q1 of this year for $59.99.

Netatmo

Netatmo’s quartet of HomeKit devices includes a smart outdoor camera and light, a smoke detector, a radiator valve, and a thermostat.

The smoke detector was actually announced last year, but has been met with delays. It is finally ready for primetime and will be released soon.

The radiator valve and thermostat also seem to have been around for a little while now and have a similar design aesthetic to one another.

The outdoor spotlight cam is relatively new and started supporting HomeKit just a few weeks ago according to the Netatmo rep I spoke to.

It has a light, as well as a camera, and the camera uses AI to discern between people, pets, etc. We saw a demo of this out at CES and it looked very cool and accurate when detecting people. It also has free storage using the built in SD, dropbox, or your own FTP server.

The outdoor camera joins their other indoor HomeKit camera.

Brinks

If locks are more your speed, Brinks has you covered. They’ve announced pre-order of the Smart Deadbolt, as well as the introduction of the ARRAY Chek lock.

They’ve also previewed the Smart Light that has a camera built in as well.

The Smart Deadbolt is slated for the first half of 2018 for $249, while the rest is expected “sometime” in 2018.

First Alert

What may turn out to be my favorite HomeKit product of 2018 is the OneLink Safe & Sound from First Alert.

This combo smoke and carbon monoxide sensor also includes a premium AirPlay 2 speaker. HomeKit support is included for both sensors, as well as the subtle color LED light that makes it easy to light up hallways at night.

If that wasn’t enough, it has built-in microphones and Amazon’s Alexa. You can literally speak to the smoke detector to control your home, or any other Alexa functions.

When released, it will retail for $249.

iDevices

iDevices has announced a pair of new HomeKit switches for 2018.

The first is a smart ceiling fan switch, that was developed in partnership with their new parent company, Hubble.

Second, the cooler product, is the iDevices Instinct switch. It works as a HomeKit switch, but also has a built-in speaker/microphone set to support Amazon Alexa.

Like the Safe and Sound, you can speak to Alexa for a variety of different functions.

Both products are set to be released this year, though no pricing or date has been announced.

Netgear

HomeKit will also be coming to Netgear’s line of Arlo baby cameras.

Aside from just being a camera, they have several other sensors baked in, and many adorable outfits to make them more kid friendly.

Fortunately, it will be coming to previous models through a firmware update, so there is no need to pick up a new one.

They are currently available on Amazon for $235.

iCreation

iCreation is a new company in the HomeKit world. They have a whole new lineup of homeKit products set to debut in waves, starting with their smart outlet.

It is worth noting that their products do require a bridge, so if that is a dealbreaker, I’d say keep looking.

Their full lineup includes a wall switch, outlet, motion sensor, water sensor, contact sensor, temperature sensor, smoke detector, carbon monoxide sensor, and two separate locks.

Their first products are set to hit shelves early this year.

Wrap up show

That brings us to the end of our HomeKit product list from CES 2018. There is well over two dozen HomeKit accessories ready to hit the market throughout this year, and we are happy to be covering them.

It is an exciting time to be scouting new HomeKit accessories, and I’m sure more products will be unveiled throughout the year. This seems to be the year that HomeKit hits its stride with a record number of new products on the horizon.

It remains to be seen for sure, but right now, I think I am most looking forward to the Safe + Sound from First Alert, as it appears to be a truly unique product we haven’t seen in the past. Plus, it is one of few AirPlay 2 speakers ready to hit the market!

Let me know which of the new products is your new favorite, down in the comments.

Be sure to check out all our other CES 2018 coverage.

Source link: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2018/01/16/new-homekit-products-ces-2018/

Workers describe harsh conditions at Apple supplier Catcher’s facilities

2018 January 16
by RSS Feed

Apple supplier Catcher Technology has been accused of dire conditions for its employees who produce machined aluminum casings for iPhones and MacBooks at a manufacturing complex in the Chinese industrial city of Suqian, about six hours’ drive from Shanghai.

Based on findings by advocacy group China Labor Watch (CLW) and Bloomberg interviews with Catcher workers, the upcoming report highlights harsh working conditions.

Many workers are reportedly so exhausted after their shift ends that they fall asleep in a factory cafeteria after standing for up to ten hours in hot workshops where they are handling noxious chemicals, sometimes without proper gloves or masks.

“My hands turned bloodless white after a day of work,” one of the workers told Bloomberg. “I only tell good things to my family and keep the sufferings like this for myself.”

According to the Chinese advocacy group, the supplier has violated Chinese law regulating owed wages for departing employees. They also found “major issues” with scheduling, pollution and occupational safety, but no incidents of child labor.

From the Bloomberg report:

Goggles and earplugs are not always available, a problem when some factory machines are noisy and spray tiny metallic particles or coolant, according to Bloomberg interviews with workers. CLW said the noise was about 80 decibels or more.

That’s roughly equivalent to an average factory or a garbage disposal, according to IAC Acoustics, an industrial noise-control specialist. Hundreds throng a workshop where the main door only opens about twelve inches. Off duty, they return to debris-strewn dorms bereft of showers or hot water. Many go without washing for days at a time, workers told Bloomberg.

China Labor Watch interviewed 50 Catcher employees for its impending report.

An Apple spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the Cupertino company sent its own team to audit Catcher after learning about CLW’s damning report. After interviewing about 150 people, the Apple team found no evidence of violations of its standards.

“We know our work is never done and we investigate each and every allegation that’s made,” said an unnamed Apple spokeswoman. “We remain dedicated to doing all we can to protect the workers in our supply chain.”

Workers hired by Catcher make a little over 4,000 yuan per month, which works out to about $2 an hour. Apple also has its own employees at Catcher facilities.

Catcher gets almost two-thirds of sales from Apple.

The Cupertino firm conducted a record 705 comprehensive site audits in 2016.

Image: Workers sleep in a Catcher factory cafeteria, via China Labor Watch

Source link: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2018/01/16/workers-describe-harsh-conditions-at-apple-supplier-catchers-facilities/

Facebook admits Messenger is “too cluttered,” promises massive streamlining this year

2018 January 16
by RSS Feed

In the words of David Marcus, who is Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging products, the company’s official mobile Messenger app for iPhone and iPad has become “too cluttered.”

In a blog post published Tuesday morning, the Messenger leader also promised massive changes to streamline the app and make it less cluttered and more intuitive.

The ultimate goal is to make the app the best way to spend time together when you’re apart or to make plans to spend more time together in the real world.

Here’s the full quote:

Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.

1.3+ billion people are actively using Messenger every month.

For starters, Messenger is getting way more visual, which Marcus says is where the industry is heading. The apps’ customer service will evolve in 2018 to become a true customer care channel for participating businesses (200,000+ bots are currently live on Messenger) while marketeers should be happing learning that Facebook plans more investment in rich messaging experiences to support both global brands and small businesses.

Other upcoming enhancements: new group chat and real time communications features.

He summed it up nicely:

2017 was a challenging year for all kinds of reasons. I’m happy that despite all the things that sometimes divide us, we still mainly want to connect and genuinely spend quality time with one another. Ultimately, we want to make Messenger the easiest and most delightful way for people to spend time together in happy and harder times.

The major update to the app is coming later this year.

According to Facebook’s official stats, 500+ 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs were sent through Messenger in 2017, in addition to 17 billion video chats (two times as many as compared to 2016). 100+ million people interacted with M suggestions in November alone, across 10 countries and four languages.

A recent post from the Messenger team offers a look back on the Messenger platform in 2017.

There’s no denying that Messenger has become way too cluttered. It’s so bulky now that the team built a lite version for Android device owners in developing countries which brings only basic messaging features without any extra stuff or recent additions such as Stories, Snapchat-like selfie lens effects or games.

How about Messenger Lite for iOS, please?

Facebook Messenger is a free download from App Store.

Source link: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2018/01/16/facebook-messenger-too-cluttered/

Free Apps to Download TODAY ONLY 01/16/2018

2018 January 16
by RSS Feed

Emoji Names , Braintoss , Funnel and more

iPhone:

Braintoss ( $1.99 → Free ) Braintoss B.V. Braintoss helps empty your brain. Just speak, snap, or type out your thoughts and the app will automatically send whatever it is to your inbox. When snapping content, you’re able to turn documents, receipts, and business cards into searchable files. You’re voice messages will also be turned into transcribed text. Braintoss also allows you to send content to multiple email addresses at once.

Funnel ( $0.99 → Free ) Mathias Nilles Funnel provides an overview of what’s happening all around the world. You’re able to choose from seven news sources including BBC, NPR, VOA, and CBC. Funnel will then provide you with hourly audio news summaries that can be played in the background. The app is also able to send notifications when new content is available.

Universal:

Emoji Names ( $0.99 → Free ) Cal Stephens Have you ever looked at an Emoji and wondered just what in the world it’s supposed to be? Emoji Names takes the guesswork out of this unique situation. Simply launch the app and the Emoji keyboard. Then tap on any Emoji and it will be boldly displayed within the app along with its official name. You’re able to view high resolution versions of both the system Emoji and Twitter Emoji. You’re also able to share customized versions of the Emoji.

History Events ( $1.99 → Free ) Monkey Taps Want to drop knowledge bombs on friends and family? Download History Events and learn about important events that occurred around the world. Each event includes a short description, date, and the ability to share. Set up a daily reminder window along with how often you want to receive the push notifications. When a push comes through during the day, give it a swipe and view a new event.

Source link: http://appadvice.com/apps-gone-free

Apple seeds fifth beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3

2018 January 16
by RSS Feed

Apple on Tuesday seeded the fifth beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 to developers. The update can be installed by registered developers using the Mac App Store’s update mechanism.

Updating…

Source link: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2018/01/16/apple-seeds-fifth-beta-10-13-3/