The latest gadget to come to the Apple Store is not a tiny tablet or a giant phone but a ‘smart' lightbulb.
Philips Hue iPhone app ©Apple
The Philips Hue lighting system will be available to buy from Apple stores from Tuesday, October 30 and is the latest entrant into a growing market for affordable ‘smart home' technology.
Like GreenWave Reality's Connected Lighting System and Belkin's WEMO system, Philips pairs a product with a wi-fi connection and a smartphone or tablet app to give users a new level of control over their homes and appliances.
The Hue system differs from other lighting solutions in that it is directly available to the public rather than through a utility company and the technology on offer isn't limited to simply being able to remotely turn a light on or off at certain times of the day. Hue bulbs can generate a host of different colors and therefore lighting moods to suit the dweller's taste or décor or the type and strength of light at any given time of the day.
A standard set includes three bulbs and a wi-fi bridge that users connect to their wi-fi router plus iPhone or iPad app for $199, while additional bulbs cost $59 each.
Opening the app gives users a choice of 12 preset lighting effects which can be designated to different rooms at different times of the day. Philips claims that these presets are based on research into the biological effects that lighting has on the body. What's more, as well as blending effects to create custom settings, users can access a photo on their handset as a palette guide around which to create further effects. Essentially a complete remote control, the app also allows users to set when and for how long lights come on in different rooms at different times of the day and the type or mood of lighting for any given moment.
Though the first lighting system, it is not the first piece of ‘automated home' technology to find its way into the Apple Store, suggesting to many that Apple is about to take a major step into what is still a fledgling market and is planning on putting its mobile devices at the heart of it.