Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Apple Stores will begin selling the first HomeKit-connected thermostat today

Apple's smart home platform is gaining another member: the Ecobee3 smart thermostat, the first connected thermostat to work with HomeKit. The Ecobee3 goes on sale today through Apple Stores across North America. It costs $249 and is essentially an alternative to Nest's thermostat: it detects a home's temperature and whether anyone is actually around and then adjusts heating and cooling accordingly, with the goal of saving homeowners some money. The thermostat can even be made a bit smarter by buying additional sensors (a pack of two costs $79) that can allow it to detect temperature and presence in other rooms of a house — one sensor is included with the thermostat itself.
A separate version of the Ecobee3 is already on sale, but this new version adds HomeKit support, which means it can be controlled by Siri. It's certainly not a reason to throw out an existing connected thermostat, but it's a nice convenience that becomes a lot more compelling as more HomeKit-connected products are added to a home. Any product that supports HomeKit can be controlled by Siri and grouped into scenes that allow a home to be quickly set into certain states, whether it's for arriving home, going to bed, or watching a movie. Right now, there aren't a whole lot of products available, but a number of additional devices should be coming out this summer and through the end of the year.

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