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I explained in my first HomePod Diary piece that there was one smart home issue we needed to address: while I’m happy to use Siri to control everything from my Apple Watch or iPhone, my partner would often find that she wanted to switch lights on or off while her phone was in another room. We’d partially addressed this with Hue dimmer switches, but wanted more flexibility.

In my HomePod Diary, I’ve been focusing mostly on music, but I’m also happy to report that the smart speaker has also passed the Steph Test …

Steph has no interest in an Apple Watch, and her clothing doesn’t all have pockets – meaning her phone can easily be in one room while she’s in another.

Since almost all our lighting is Philips Hue, which is platform-agnostic, my first thought was that we could place an Amazon Echo Dot in the living-room – which I hoped could be heard from the glazed balcony as well as the alcove kitchen. These are cheap enough that it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to sprinkle two or three of these about the apartment if needed.

But one other thing missing from our smart home setup was timed automation. We don’t have a TV of any kind, so an Apple TV isn’t an option. An older iPad would have done the trick, but a colleague then pointed out that this could be a cheap way to get a HomePod.

However, Zac pointed out yesterday that HomePod could instead be the hub. Since we’d get almost two-thirds of the cost by selling her old iPad, and we’d be saving another £50/$50 by not having to buy an Echo Dot, the net cost would actually be rather low. We’d be buying a HomeKit hub and voice control system and getting a speaker thrown in for a small premium.

I’ve always found Siri a reliable and convenient way to do things, but the big question was whether Steph would feel the same.

The good news is that she does. She told me a couple of days ago that she liked HomePod as a way to control lights, and she’s found it as reliable as I have at hearing her voice from almost anywhere in the apartment.

The only issue she’s hit is remembering what the various lights are called. Right from when I named the lights at my old place, I hit on the idea of ‘lights’ for ceiling lights and ‘lamps’ for floor-standing or table lamps, so that was part of the trick.

But I’ve also created some fake ‘rooms’ to make life easier. For example, despite having a combined living-room and dining room, so far as HomeKit is concerned the indirect lighting is in the living-room while the ceiling lights are in the dining room. ‘Switch on the living-room lights’ or ‘switch on the dining-room lights’ makes an easy way to choose the lighting you want.

Similarly, HomeKit thinks that our bedroom wardrobes are separate rooms, so we can easily switch off the Hue Light Strips used in those if we want to do it manually rather than waiting for the motion-sensor to time-out.

iRad smart(ish) heating

Smart(ish) because there’s only a web app rather than a native iPhone app, but we’ll get to that …

Heating was another issue we needed to address in the new apartment. We previously had gas central heating, controlled by Tado. This was great, but our new apartment has electric radiators, which Tado can’t control.

The electric radiators installed in the flat were also rather bulky and inefficient, so we wanted to replace them with smaller, slimmer, more efficient models. I naturally gravitated toward ones offering app control. Nobody seems to do anything HomeKit-compatible, as you can’t use anything designed for central heating, but I found the next best thing.

This is iRad, which uses wireless thermostats as controllers, with built-in receivers on each radiator. (You can also get separate receiver boxes to attach to non-smart radiators.) If you want one temperature and timetable for the entire home, then you can use a single controller. But for us, it made more sense to have one heating zone for the living-room, and separate ones for each of the office and the bedroom – so two extra thermostats.

The radiators themselves are great. Much slimmer than the originals, heat up faster and put out more heat. They should also save a noticeable amount of money in use.

We ordered them in white, and they have a featureless design which really blends in to the white walls. They are just white metal boxes aside from a light-up power switch and a small LED used to indicate heat output, and also used during pairing – of which more in a moment.

To control the heating, you wirelessly pair one or more radiators to a standalone battery-powered thermostat. Each thermostat controls one ‘zone.’ We have ours configured as:

Living-room (two radiators paired to one thermostat)

Bedroom (one radiator paired to one thermostat)

Office (one radiator paired to one thermostat)

That’s because we want different heating times in each zone. The bedroom heats briefly in the morning and evening, the office heats in the day and the living-room heats in the evening.


Set-up is horrible. First, you need to pair each radiator with its thermostat. To do this, you need to put the radiator into pairing mode. Instead of the usual pin-hole microswitch, you switch the radiator off, then on for exactly three seconds, then off, then on again.

Do it for 2.9 seconds or 3.1 seconds and nothing happens. It took about five attempts to get the first radiator into pairing mode. The second one wouldn’t play ball at all, and we had to go through a reset procedure – which again involves timed switching on and off – before trying again. Once done, it then took another three or four goes before it went into pairing mode.

The third one took about a dozen attempts. By the final one, I must have been getting the hang of the timing, as I managed that on take two.

Once you do finally get the radiator into pairing mode, indicated by the LED flashing, you press a button on the back of the thermostat. Thankfully, there’s no crucial timing there: you have a leisurely 30 seconds to do it before the radiator drops out of pairing mode.

Finally, when you have a thermostat and radiator(s) paired, you have to add them to the gateway – a small box much like a Philips Hue or Tado one that connects to power and then by Ethernet cable to your router. This process is even worse. The gateway flashes various light patterns, and you have to cycle through patterns in the web app to find a matching one. You do this multiple times before it accepts that you own the thermostat. (Adding subsequent thermostats doesn’t make you repeat this, thankfully.)

So, yeah, terrible set up. But this is a one-off process. I think the reason for it is that the designer was going for as featureless a look as possible, so didn’t want to add a pin-hole to the casing.


Fortunately, using it is vastly easier than configuring it.

First, you can manually adjust the temperature on the thermostat using up and down buttons. But mostly you’ll want timed control, of course, and this is done via an app.

The marketing materials and packaging both show an iPhone app, so I was a little annoyed to find that this no longer exists. Instead, there’s a web app.

This does feel clunky in comparison, and it’s not exactly pretty on an iPhone screen. But it actually works pretty well. Let’s take another look at that top photo:

The app shows the current temperature of each room (in Celsius, as we’re in the UK), and the target temperature, showing also when the next change is due. In this case, I’m taking the photo on a sunny afternoon when the sun is heating the flat to well above the target temperature, although I’m currently skeptical about the exact temperatures measured.

If you want to over-ride the current setting, you just tap the target temp and a slider appears that allows you to easily set a new target to within half a degree.

Setting those targets is done on an even clunkier-looking screen:

But it’s easier to use than it looks. Tap a segment, and you can quickly set a new start time and target temp. Set things up for Monday, and the hamburger menu icon offers you a Copy Day function that allows you to copy it to the rest of the week. It took just a couple of minutes to configure each room. (Thursday is different as that’s when Steph usually works from home, in the living-room, so we want heat throughout the day.)

The radiators have three modes, indicated by the small LED:

Off (zone at or above target temperature): green LED

Low (close to target temperature): yellow LED

High (heating up to target temperature): red LED

The same off/low/high settings are shown on the paired thermostat.

Really the only thing it lacks compared to the Tado system I had before is presence detection. The system has no way to know whether or not we’re home, so you do have to manually adjust when away.

We’ve noted the electricity readings on day one and will be comparing energy usage with the old units.

Nanoleaf Rhythm

The final item on the smart home to-do list was my Nanoleaf light panels. I mostly wanted these in the office, to serve as a bit of background interest in product videos, but thought it would also be fun to have them in the living-room for parties. I hit on the idea of mounting them on a piece of white hardboard, and then hanging them on the wall like a picture-frame.

I’ll report back next time on how well this works, but so far so good. The white board on a white wall doesn’t stand out too much. It does mean I can’t use ducting for the cable, but by keeping this taut it doesn’t look too untidy.

I also fitted the Nanoleaf Rhythm module which the company launched back in September of last year. This is a small device that plugs into any spare slot in one of your Nanoleaf panels, and contains a microphone. This listens to ambient music, and you can then use a Rhythm scene to have the panel react to your music.

As with standard scenes, there are a number of these built into the app, and you can download more.

I love this. It’s the one feature I felt the light panel should have had from the beginning, and I think it adds a lot to the appeal of the product.

We also had a dance tutor here yesterday who was really impressed with it, and is even considering using it as part of his teaching. Watching the way the lights respond to the music could, he thinks, be really helpful in getting those new to dance to really get a feel for how sound can be turned into movement.

Oh, and more lights

I should have predicted this …

I’d originally said that as we mostly use indirect lighting, we were happy to have the overhead lights remain dumb ones. Er, yeah. It got annoying.

So now all the lights are smart bar the bathroom and hall ones, which are 12V bulbs. Those will have to wait for a UK-fitting HomeKit-compatible switches.

And we’re not quite done. One of the reasons we wanted to lose the bulky original radiators was to create more room for additional bookshelves (did I mention that we have a lot of books, despite both offloading hundreds of them before the move?). Once those are in, then we’ll add some more Hue Light Strips along the top of them.

But then that really will be it. Honest.

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Top Smart Home And Homekit Tech Of Ces 2023 (Video)

There’s a very clear message delivered on the CES 2023 show floor: Smart home tech is definitely a thing. There is a ton of tech/accessories being showcased at CES that are designed to make your home life easier through connectivity. We’ve roamed the show floor searching high and low to bring you a roundup of some of the best smart home tech that was announced…

Most of the smart home tech that we’ve seen is controlled via apps that are available for iOS and Android, but there were a few that also featured integration with Apple HomeKit which will allow you to control these smart devices with your voice via Siri. Either way, it’s exciting to see what’s coming to market over the next year and we hope to see all of this available in the near future.

Check out our “top smart home tech” video below:

First up we stopped by Belkin and discovered a handful of new Wemo devices that work alongside other accessories in that lineup. Belkin is doing some really cool stuff with Wemo and launching a window/door sensor, keyring sensor, motion sensor, and an alarm sensor. There are even some home appliances like a coffee maker and crockpot that are smart and connected within the Wemo family. If you’re a fan of Belkin’s Wemo devices, you’ll definitely want to take a closer look.

Along our smart home journey, we also came across Ring, which is a video doorbell with one-way video and two-way audio communication. This will deliver a video stream from your front door when someone rings the doorbell. As mentioned, you can also communicate with the person on the other side which can be helpful in many different situations.

A lot of these devices make your life easier, but what about keeping you safe? Well First Alert recently introduced the OneLink Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector (available now for $109) and we got a closer look during ShowStoppers. This smart smoke alarm features integration with Apple HomeKit and has apps available for iOS and Android. The best part is, you don’t have to worry about changing its batteries. First Alert says its product’s battery will last for a solid 10 years.

Kwikset also launched a companion subscription service called Kevo Plus to go along with its smart lock. The service provides you with a free secured router that creates the cloud connection and allows you to utilize the smart lock features from anywhere in the world. Along with that you’ll get unlimited free “Anytime Keys,” and all of this can be added to an existing Kevo device without purchasing a new lock. Kevo has also been integrated with Nest thermostat and allows for temperature-based user profiles depending on who unlocks the doors.

HomeKit seemed to be a big theme in the smart home category this year. iDevices gave us a closer look at its new connected plug called Switch. This features full HomeKit integration which will allow you to control the device using Siri on an iOS device. iHome has also joined the HomeKit party with its SmartPlug featuring similar functionality, and we even have Elgato on board with the Eve lineup of connected devices.

For more details and a closer look at all of the new smart home and HomeKit devices mentioned, check out the above video. It looks like technology is moving towards making smart house technology very consumer friendly and reasonably affordable. We’re excited to see what else is around the corner in 2023, but for now everything is off to a good start.

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Concept: How Apple Could Turn Homepod Mini Into A Delightful And Adorable Smart Display

Apple’s home strategy has been all over the place, but the company appears to finally have a hit with the HomePod mini. Rumors have been floated about Apple making a HomePod with a display, but word on the street is that the product being tested looks a lot like an iPad mounted to a speaker. Instead of making a Frankenstein product very similar to Google and Amazon’s products, Apple should take the blueprint it’s laid out with HomePod mini and use it as a basis for a unique ambient smart display.

An angled circular display

The top surface of the HomePod mini lights up with colorful Siri animations, but it can’t actually display any sort of content or controls. In fact, the HomePod mini has volume controls printed on the surface, which would obstruct any visuals. HomePod mini’s design, however, is a lovely complement to nearly any space. And the vibrant colors introduced last year help add a pop of fun to drab rooms.

HomePod mini’s light-up surface is on the top of the device, but I propose that Apple angle the surface and add a proper touch display. The new angle would allow users to more easily use controls and view content – it’d be far better and add more utility to the product.

Touching the HomePod touch’s display

HomePod mini is already powered by Apple Watch’s S5 chip and it runs a variant of iOS called audioOS. The technology is already in place to power a small smart display. The software for this smart display could be based on watchOS and even feature faces from the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch faces

The ‘HomePod touch,’ as I like to call it, could start with a customizable clock that lets you choose from a handful of circular Apple Watch faces. Below you can see what Utility and the Mickey Mouse faces would look like on HomePod. This new functionality would turn the HomePod mini into a particularly good bedside alarm clock.

Utility and Mickey Mouse clock faces

Controls for apps

But a clock isn’t the main reason HomePod mini should gain a display. It should gain a display for utility. You could ask Siri to show home controls for lights and other accessories. HomePod mini is great for calls since it offers vastly improved audio. A display could show the name of the person you’re talking to, a mute button, an end button, the length of the call, and more.

The space gray HomePod touch would have a consistent black background that works perfectly with watchOS user interfaces. The white HomePod touch could use a persistent white background that complements the physical design of the product. I imagine the HomePod touch with an LCD rather than an OLED to allow for the persistent bright colored backgrounds, particularly since the display would be on at all times removing any sort of fear of burn-in and keeping the price low.

HomeKit lighting controls & a phone call

Media controls

Music controls and podcast controls

Fun, fresh colors

The new colors that Apple introduced for the HomePod mini in November gave the product a breath of fresh air. The yellow and orange colors in particular really light up a space. The colors have been very difficult to get and have helped the HomePod mini grow in popularity.

For the HomePod touch, Apple could offer green, blue, and pink options as well as white and space gray. They’d all have matching braided cables like the standard HomePod mini and rubber bottoms to stay in place on a table.

Green, blue, pink, white, and space gray HomePod touch models

Pricing strategy

The HomePod touch would effectively be the current HomePod mini and its great speaker coupled with a small Retina display. The current HomePod mini is priced at $99 and the HomePod touch would effectively add a built-in Apple Watch. You can look to the Apple Watch Series 3 at $199 and remove all of the health sensors, water proofing, and more expensive materials. HomePod touch would ideally be priced at $199 and be an obvious step up from the HomePod mini.

The display and added functionality would make a good case to any consumer shopping for a simple home smart speaker. And customers who already have HomePod mini could seamlessly add a HomePod touch into their current setup. You could even create stereo pairs with HomePod touch and HomePod mini.


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Top 10 Smart Home Technologies That Will Make Your Life Easier

Smart home technology can make your life easier and more enjoyable.

Although all these new smart house technologies can seem daunting and complicated at first, it has become much easier to accept the artificially intelligent assistants (and voice control) that have been introduced.

This is a list containing the most essential smart home devices that work with smart-home technologies.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies Google Nest WiFi

Works with: Google Home

If you are looking to make your home smarter, or if your smartphone can be used in every room, a mesh Wi-Fi router is a great choice.

The mesh Wi-Fi router is made up of one or more hubs that you can plug into your house. They eliminate dead zones and transmit Wi Fi signals evenly throughout the home, no matter how thick or complicated the layout.

The Nest Wi-Fi from Google is a wonderful addition to any smart house. Google’s Home app allows you to control everything using your smartphone. There are also parental controls that let you turn off your children’s access.

This is great for getting everyone at the table on time. This is one the most useful smart home devices. It can work with smart home technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Abode Smart Security Kit

Uses Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit

Adobe Smart Security Kit is one of the most popular smart home devices. Abode, a reliable DIY security system for your home with unlimited smart house features, is an excellent choice.

Also read: Best Oculus Quest 2 Accessories To Bring Home (Its Upgrade Time For Meta Quest 2)

Arlo Video Doorbell

Works with: Alexa, Google Home

Arlo Video Doorbell is another smart home device. Smart doorbells use a microphone, camera, microphone, motion sensor and an internet connection to detect visitors and activity at your door. The camera can record a message or view live video from your smartphone.

It works like voicemail for your front door. Arlo Video Doorbells are a great option, as they offer a wide range of high-end capabilities. It distinguishes between people, animals, cars, parcels, and at a very low cost.

Nest Protect Smoke & CO

Uses: Google Assistant

Smart smoke alarms are one of the best home automation devices. Although it isn’t the most exciting device, it is one of the most important because it could save your home.

Because it’s packed with smarts and sensors, the Nest Protect Smart Smoke & CO Alarm may be the best gadget. It can wirelessly link with other alarms to activate them all in case of an emergency.

Also read: The Top 10 Digital Process Automation (DPA) Tools

Philips Hue, Lutron Caseta

Works with: Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit

Smart lighting is the star of the smart house. It’s simple, fun, and very beneficial. Lutron Caseta’s range works with nearly any wiring configuration and is compatible with Alexa, Google and HomeKit. Instead of relying on Wi-Fi at home, it uses Lutron’s wireless protocol (through an hub).

The smart bulb series by Philips Hue is the smartest, most reliable and cost-effective alternative. This extensible smart lighting system features bulbs and fixtures that can be used in any situation.

It also includes wireless switches for physical control when necessary and motion sensors that adjust lighting according to the time of day. This is a smart home device.

TP Link Kasa Mini, Eve Energy

Uses Alexa and Google Assistant

This extensible smart lighting system includes bulbs and fixtures that can be used in any situation. It also features wireless switches to allow physical control when necessary and motion sensors that adjust lighting according to the time of day.

The TP-Link Kasa series smart plugs from TP Link are a great choice if you don’t need a separate smart house system to manage them.

Also read: Top 10 Programming Languages for Kids to learn

Sonos One

Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2

Because it can be used with both Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Google Assistant, the Sonos One smart speaker is among the best. You can choose between these voice assistants. It has amazing sound quality and can connect to Sonos’ wider world of wireless music.

It can also be used with Apple’s AirPlay system. This allows you to stream music from your iPhone or iPad directly and then group it with other AirPlay2-compatible speakers. This smart home device is also available.

Google Nest Hub Max

Uses: Google Assistant

Because it packs a lot of functionality into a 10-inch display, the Nest Hub Max is a smart screen. The Nest Hub Max can identify who is using it, and provide customized information without you needing to say anything.

It also has a camera built in that doubles as a security camera. This takes the smart speaker to the next level. It also makes use of smart home technologies such as artificial Intelligence.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant

Nest Learning thermostat now can regulate hot water. A Heat Link is available that connects to your boiler to communicate with the thermostat and allows you to turn on the heat, adjust the heat and set an intelligent schedule for your boiler.

Also read: Top 7 Work Operating Systems of 2023

Roomba I3+

The Roomba i3+ vacuum cleaner is affordable and self-emptying. It returns to the external bin when its onboard bin gets full to collect all trash. Instead of emptying it twice per week like non-emptying robots, you will only need to empty it once every three months.

Also, the i7+ model is a good choice. Because it can do clever tasks like cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming the living room, the i7+ model is more expensive than the i7. You can use only a few words to instruct Alexa and Google to clean, pause or return home. This smart home device is also one of its best.

Save Up To 60 Percent On Smart Home Devices This Fall

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Upgrading your home this fall doesn’t have to stop with Halloween decorations. If you want to keep it up-to-date, you may want to install smart gadgets to make your life easier. Adding smart devices here and there can make your home nicer to live in, and it can even help you save on time and energy.

Lo and behold, here are 10 options on sale:

You can turn nearly any appliance into a smart one with this smart outlet that’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. When connected with your lights, appliances, and other devices, you can easily control them either via voice or smartphone app. Formerly $49, you can get it on sale for $17.99.

This refurbished (see also: good as new) Amazon Echo speaker enables you to use your voice to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, answer questions, set timers and alarms, and more. With immersive, 360-degree Omnidirectional audio, you can fill your room with the music you love. It’s usually $99, but you can get it on sale for $54.99.

Upgrade any room with this floor lamp that has an integrated LED and lets you choose from infinite light mode options to suit any mood or occasion. With the accompanying app, you can select a color, adjust the brightness, and create the perfect atmosphere with just a few taps. Bring one home for only $129.99.

Named as Amazon’s Choice with 4.7/5 stars, this plug allows you to voice control your lights, fans, coffee makers, and more. You can use it with any Alexa-enabled device, including the Echo, Fire TV, Fire tablet, Sonos One, or even just the Alexa app. Feel free to create helpful routines to make your life easier, like scheduling lights, fans, and appliances to turn on and off automatically. Get it for $24.99.

The Portal Mini is a smart video calling display that will make you feel as though you’re in the same room as your friends and family while video calling. The built-in camera pans and zooms to keep up with the action, and when someone enters the room, it automatically widens to keep everyone in view. There’s even a smart sound feature that enhances the voice of whoever is talking, while also minimizing background noise. Get it on sale for $128.99.

Create the perfect environment that allows for a good night’s sleep with this white noise machine. It generates 10 nature sounds, 7 animal sounds, and 8 sleep sounds, providing a calming effect for anxious infants. With the built-in light, it also emits a relaxing dimmable glow. It typically retails for $39, but you can get it on sale for $29.99.

Significantly cost your home’s energy costs with the SOLUS⁺, an infrared heater that warms the space with up to 30 percent less energy than traditional electric heaters. Designed to be used free-standing or wall-mounted, you can install it in any room, including your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom. It usually goes for $599, but you can get it on sale for $479.20.

Keep your beverage warm from the first sip to the last drop with this smart mug warmer. It’s covered with a layer of thermal conductive glass, so it can transfer heat to stainless steel, ceramic, and glass mugs. With the timing feature, it allows up to 9 hours of keeping your mug warm. Typically $79, you can snag it on sale for $32.99.

Prices subject to change.

Editor’s Desk: Inside The New Mac Pro, Apple’s New Smart Home Alliance

Apple news making the editor’s desk this week include first impressions of Apple’s new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, Apple’s joint effort with Amazon, Google and others to solve smart home interoperability issues, and our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.

Apple news making the editor’s desk this week include first impressions of Apple’s new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, Apple’s joint effort with Amazon, Google and others to solve smart home interoperability issues, and our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.

Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR in the news

Mac buyers began to take ownership of their new Mac Pros and Pro Display XDRs after the new gear went on sale last week. In typical fashion iFixit did a teardown as soon as they could get their hands on one. They declared it a “masterclass in repairability,” because it can be disassembled easily with common tools – a far cry from most other Macs, but perhaps not entirely unexpected from a computer designed to be as modular as the Mac Pro.

Initially, Mac Pro customers were limited to 4 TB of factory-installed internal SSD storage, but that changed this week once Apple began offering 8 TB as an option. It adds a cool $2,600 to the price of your Mac Pro.

If you want expand your Mac Pro’s internal storage after the fact, you can’t just yank the factory-installed SSD – it’s socketed, but it’s Apple’s own connector rather an an industry standard like M.2, and it’s mated to Apple’s T2 security chip.

The good news is the Mac Pro has gobs of internal expansion thanks to PCI Express expansion slots. And this week long-time Apple peripheral maker Other World Computing introduced the Accelsior 4M2 SSD, its fastest-ever PCIe-based SSD. The new card sports data transfer speeds of up to 6,000 MB/s. Inside is an array of four M.2 SSDs, configured as a RAID using included SoftRAID software. The card also works with 2012 and 2010-era Mac Pros as well as compatible PCs. Soon you’ll be able to hook it up to any Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac using OWC’s forthcoming Helios 3s chassis. OWC is selling the new card in 1 TB – 8 TB configurations starting at $479.99.

The $4,999 Pro Display XDR was in the news, as well. The new 6K display from Apple is going toe-to-toe with studio reference monitors that run for several times its price, and it’s coming out favorably. Reviewers love the brightness, color accuracy, extreme contrast and detail. Apple maintains a list of Mac models that can support the new display, but it turns out that it also works with other Apple devices that aren’t on the official list, including the iPad Pro and older MacBooks. What’s more the iMac Pro can use the Pro Display XDR as long as you’re willing to accept 5K resolution.

Apple, Amazon, Google, others partner for smart home alliance

The burgeoning market smart home appliances continues to grow rapidly but it’s heading for a crisis, thanks to competing standards from different manufacturers, security concerns and more. That’s what Apple, Amazon, Google, and others hope to solve with the newly-announced Connected Home over IP working group. The group promises a royalty-free connectivity standard for smart home appliances with the goal of making devices that are secure and interoperable.

Apple’s own HomeKit initiative doesn’t have nearly the marketshare or consumer mindshare as Amazon or Google, so the company is smart to ally itself with those rivals to help shape the future of smart home connectivity. The other big force in the working group is the Zigbee Alliance, a consortium of hundreds of companies building smart products for the home, including the likes of Samsung.

No sooner had Apple announced involvement in the Connected Home over IP working group than it also open sourced portions of its HomeKit Application Development Kit (ADK). Developers can now use the ADK to prototype non-commercial smart home accessories. What’s more, Apple noted that it will contribute its HomeKit Accessory Protocol (HAP) to the new working group.

Of course, none of these efforts make a difference right now – like all industry working groups, it’s going to take time before anything actually happens. Apple and the others in the Connected Home over IP group hope to have a draft specification and a reference implementation by late next year.

Last-minute holiday panic?

Today is the first day of Chanukah and Christmas is in just three days. If you’re still looking for some gifts for folks on your list or you need some stocking stuffers, make sure to check out iDownloadBlog’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.

Our Cody Lee has worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to bring you some phenomenal and cool deals from all over the Web. We’ve broken the guide into some practical categories, like Great gift ideas for your parents, Gifts for iPhone & iPad users, Apple Watch gifts and accessories, Gift ideas for Mac users, Great gift ideas for kids, Great gift ideas for gamers, Health and fitness gift ideas, and Great gift ideas under $20.

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