Welcome to another edition of our smart home news update! This week we’ve got rumors of new voice assistant devices from Amazon and Google, some news about the Ecobee and Nest thermostats, and more.
If there’s one technology that needs to either die or radically change, it’s the TV remote. Have you ever stopped to think about how much of a usability nightmare the average remote control is? They have a million buttons–most of which you never use–and each one is laid out differently. If you lose the remote or it stops working, you lose access to the vast majority of your TV’s functionality.
It’s even worse if you have a full home entertainment system with a TV, speakers, and more. You’re forced to perform an elaborate sequence of operations to ensure everything is turned on in the right order and configured to the right input settings for whatever you are trying to watch. It’s crazy that we all just accept this as a fact of life. What other tech product do we use in 2017 that requires this much concentration to use on a daily basis?
The Apple rumor train has been picking up speed as we get closer to the fall, and we’ve started to hear some interesting things about the Apple Watch. Specifically, there seems to be a strong indication that the next version of the Watch will have an LTE cell radio. You might be wondering why Apple would want to put a cell radio in a watch, but I think it’s an exciting possibility. Let’s take a look at what this feature means and how Apple could use it to make the next version of the Watch better.
The smart home industry is still growing rapidly, and it seems like every week we hear about a new product announcement or feature. It can be hard to keep up, so I’ve collected a few of the more interesting news items here. Read on to find out what’s new!
If you’re ready to get in on the home voice assistant craze, you are immediately faced with a difficult decision: which assistant should you sign your life away to? Every manufacturer wants to sell you an entire ecosystem of products that are designed to work together, so you have to commit to a single system to reap the full benefits. But how do you make that choice?
File this under the category of “it’s about time”: whole-home music playback is finally coming to the Amazon Echo. Reports indicate that Amazon has completed its testing of the feature, so we can probably expect to see it in a software update any day now. Finally!
One of the constants of tech news is that there will be iPhone rumors, and this year has been no exception. 2017’s iPhone may actually be one of the most anticipated yet, with it being the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone’s release. What’s been interesting about it this time around is that while there have been plenty of rumors floating around, there hasn’t been much evidence to support any of the claims. For the most part, we have no idea what to expect from Apple this fall.
However, this week we’re starting to see some evidence that lends credence to a few of the rumors, and it came from an unlikely source: firmware for the Apple HomePod.
I first got my feet wet with the Amazon Echo line of products with an Echo Dot in December of last year, and since then it’s become one of my most often used gadgets when I’m at home. Between using it to control my lights, checking the weather, and asking Alexa to play music, I find myself regularly using the Echo Dot. No, it doesn’t do anything that I can’t do with an app on my phone, but when I’m doing things around the house, the convenience of voice commands is great.
But, of course, the catch is that the Echo is only useful if it’s nearby and listening.
Eero just announced a few new products in its lineup that should be interesting if you’re considering upgrading your home WiFi network. With an improved version of their router as well as a new smaller product designed to act as a wireless access point, Eero is expanding their capabilities and potentially making their products more affordable for consumers. Let’s take a closer look at the new stuff.
At the WWDC conference last week, Apple announced its long-awaited entry into the home voice assistant market: the Apple HomePod. In traditional Apple fashion, it’s beautiful and expensive. But unfortunately, it’s not going to be available until December. So the question is: should you hold out until the HomePod is released, or go with another option now, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home?