HomePod 12.0 Firmware Version Released

You can now install HomePod 12.0 firmware version after Apple released it today for its smart speaker. Here are the details on it. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

You can now install HomePod 12.0 firmware version after Apple released it today for its smart speaker. Here are the details on it.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Download: iOS 12 Siri Shortcuts App Released

You can now download iOS 12 Siri Shortcuts app for your iPhone or iPad from the App Store. Here are the details on it. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

You can now download iOS 12 Siri Shortcuts app for your iPhone or iPad from the App Store. Here are the details on it.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Everyday home gear made smart

If you only have one smart home device, it’s likely something simple and fun like a voice-controlled speaker or color-changing LED light bulb. As you expand your smart home setup, you can begin to swap out gear that isn’t as flashy but you still use everyday.

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

If you only have one smart home device, it’s likely something simple and fun like a voice-controlled speaker or color-changing LED light bulb. As you expand your smart home setup, you can begin to swap out gear that isn’t as flashy but you still use everyday.

Switching to connected locks, power outlets and smoke alarms are all simple installs that can improve your safety and comfort in your own home. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite essentials made smart for anyone looking to upgrade.

Smart lock: Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen

The Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen is the most versatile smart lock that we’ve tested. Whether you prefer to use a wireless fob, smartphone app or key, you’ll be able to control the lock with all of them. When we compared it to similar models, the Kevo’s Bluetooth-activated tap-to-unlock mechanism was the easiest to use.

The second generation of the Kevo improved on security and has all-metal internal components for better protection against forced break-in attempts. With the optional Kevo Plus upgrade, you’ll add the ability to control the lock remotely and receive status-monitoring updates.

Photo: Liam McCabe

Robot Vacuum: iRobot Roomba 960

If cleaning is neither your forte or preferred pastime, a robot vacuum will come in handy. Our upgrade pick, the iRobot Roomba 960, is one of the most powerful models that we tested. It can be controlled through the iRobot Home app and uses a bump-and-track navigation system that helps vacuum an entire floor without missing spots.

If its battery is running low during a session, it’ll return to its dock to power up before finishing the job. It’s easy to disassemble for maintenance and is equipped with repairable parts that make it worth its price over some of our less serviceable picks.

Photo: Rachel Cericola

Plug-in Smart Outlet: Belkin Wemo Mini

We tested 26 smart outlet models over more than 45 hours and chose the Belkin Wemo Mini Wi-Fi plug as our top pick. If you’ve ever thought it’d be nice to remotely turn on or off home essentials such as lamps, air conditioners and fans from your smartphone, plugging them into a smart outlet makes it possible.

The Wemo Mini has proven to be reliable throughout long-term testing, it doesn’t block other outlets on the same wall plate and it’s compatible with iOS and Android devices and assistants, including HomeKit/Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. The interface of the Wemo app is intuitive and easy to use. You can view all of your connected devices on one screen, set powering timers and from anywhere power on or off a device plugged into the Wemo outlet.

Photo: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

Smart Thermostat: Nest Thermostat E

For a smart thermostat that’s affordable and doesn’t require extensive programming, we recommend the Nest Thermostat E. After about a week, it creates a schedule after learning cooling and heating preferences that you’ve set. It isn’t compatible with as many HVAC systems as similar Nest models, but it’s easy to install and doesn’t lack any features we expect.

It does come with Eco Mode — an energy-saving geofencing feature that detects when your home is empty (or when your smartphone is nowhere near your house). The Nest app uses the same technology to set the thermostat to a preferred temperature when it senses you’re on your way home. If you don’t have your smartphone on hand, you can still operate the Thermostat E by turning its outer ring and pressing selections on its touchscreen.

Photo: Michael Hession

Smart Smoke Alarm: Nest Protect

A smoke alarm is one of the most relied-upon safety devices in every home. Nonetheless, it’s easy to forget to do routine checks to ensure it’s in tip-top shape and functioning properly. With a smart smoke alarm like the Nest Protect, we found that its simple app, self-tests, monthly sound checks and consistent alerts are enough to keep fire safety worries at bay.

It isn’t difficult to install, has a sleek design and integrates with other smart home devices like the Nest Cam (which can record video of a fire) and the Nest Learning Thermostat (which shuts down HVAC systems that may be the cause of a fire). It’s sensitive to fast- and slow-burning fires, plus it monitors homes for both smoke and carbon monoxide.

These picks may have been updated by Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

New HomePod Firmware Update To Add Phone Calling, Multiple Siri Timers, Search Music By Lyrics Feature, More

Apple used the end of its September 12 “Gather Round” media event to not only recap on all of the large announcements pertaining to iPhone Xs / Xs Max and Apple Watch Series 4 but to also confirm that an update to HomePod firmware is coming in the next…

Apple used the end of its September 12 "Gather Round" media event to not only recap on all of the large announcements pertaining to iPhone Xs / Xs Max and Apple Watch Series 4 but to also confirm that an update to HomePod firmware is coming in the next few days.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Ikea May Be Working On HomeKit-Enabled Smart Blinds

Swedish furniture outlet Ikea already has its own line of smart lighting and now it looks like the same company is getting ready to launch its own line in HomeKit-compatible smart blinds. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Swedish furniture outlet Ikea already has its own line of smart lighting and now it looks like the same company is getting ready to launch its own line in HomeKit-compatible smart blinds.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Nanoleaf’s New Square HomeKit-Enabled “Canvas” Light Panels Get A Release Date

We now have a release date for the Nanoleaf Canvas – the company’s new square HomeKit- and touch-enabled light panels. Here’s when you can buy a set. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

We now have a release date for the Nanoleaf Canvas - the company's new square HomeKit- and touch-enabled light panels. Here's when you can buy a set.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Philips Hue Siri Shortcuts And New Self-Powered Hue Wall Switches Arriving This Year

Philips Hue Siri Shortcuts and a new self-powered Hue wall switches will be arriving this year. Here’s everything we know so far. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Philips Hue Siri Shortcuts and a new self-powered Hue wall switches will be arriving this year. Here's everything we know so far.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

How To Use AirPort Express As AirPlay 2 Adapter With Any Speaker System

Here’s how you can use AirPort Express as AirPlay 2 adapter with any speaker system without using its WiFi router capability. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Here's how you can use AirPort Express as AirPlay 2 adapter with any speaker system without using its WiFi router capability.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

AirPort Express Gets AirPlay 2 And Home App Support With Firmware 7.8 Release

Apple AirPort Express has added AirPlay 2 and iOS Home app support with the release of firmware 7.8 today. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Apple AirPort Express has added AirPlay 2 and iOS Home app support with the release of firmware 7.8 today.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Home Automation Deal: Get 20% Off Apple HomeKit-Compatible Philips Hue Bulbs Right Now

Smart home enthusiasts, sit up straight and take note! A decent selection of Philips Hue smart home bulbs are being offered for sale. The sale means that you can instantly save 20% on some of the best bulbs that exist within the Hue range. [ Continue r…

Smart home enthusiasts, sit up straight and take note! A decent selection of Philips Hue smart home bulbs are being offered for sale. The sale means that you can instantly save 20% on some of the best bulbs that exist within the Hue range.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]