There were some interesting developments in the Apple Home world again this week, including new products and significant updates. Netatmo has introduced smart control for air conditioners and heat pumps, Apple is planning to upgrade to Thread 1.3, and the first HomeKit-compatible recirculating fan has been released by Smartmi. In addition, Aqara released a Matter Firmware for another hub, Netatmo released an update for its own weather status app, and WiZ introduced a new camera.
New air conditioner and heat pump controller from Netatmo
Netatmo this week unveiled a new smart controller for air conditioners and heat pumps that integrates easily with Apple HomeKit. Compatible with any air conditioner or heat pump that has an infrared remote control with display, the control uses omnidirectional infrared technology and has a long range.
The controller automatically generates a customized, energy-efficient weekly schedule for automatic control based on five simple questions and has an ECO Assist mode that automatically turns off the air conditioner when no one is home. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are also supported. The new device is now available on Amazon.
Apple plans upgrade to Thread 1.3
Apple could switch from the Thread 1.2 to version 1.3 with the upcoming software version 16.5, as a code discovered in the beta of tvOS 16.5 suggests. This change could therefore already take place before the launch of iOS 17 in the fall.
Thread 1.3 brings significant improvements, including seamless communication between Matter, IP reachability of Thread, and automatic simultaneous firmware updates for Thread.
HomeKit recirculating air fan from Smartmi looked at
Smartmi has released the first HomeKit-compatible recirculation fan. The new fan offers “AI-based dynamic breeze”, with automatic horizontal and vertical air circulation. It is easy to mount and comes with a 5200 mAh battery that provides up to 24 hours of wireless operation.
The fan can be operated via physical buttons on the device as well as via an included remote control. The integrated battery is charged via a magnetic charging pad. In addition to HomeKit, the device can also be controlled via the Smartmi Link app, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The price is 174,95€.
Curiosity: PCI Express card enables HomeKit control for PCs
A quirky new addition to the world of HomeKit is the Punxasl PCIe Computer On/Off Remote Switch, a PCI Express card that makes PCs controllable via Apple HomeKit. This product is aimed at a very specific target group: HomeKit users who use PCs instead of Macs and want to turn their system on and off via HomeKit.
The card does not require a driver and connects to HomeKit over the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi for easy PC power on/off. Despite a prominent “Works with Apple HomeKit” logo, the device probably did not go through an official certification process.
Aqara releases Matter support another hub
Aqara has extended its support for the Matter smarthome standard and provided a corresponding firmware update for the Smart USB Wall Socket H1. The device, which is currently only available in China, serves as a normal wall socket with an additional USB port, consumption metering and a ZigBee 3.0 hub.
The company plans to offer Matter support a variety of its hubs, including the M1S, P3, G3, G2H Pro and the E1 hub, as well as an upcoming M3 hub. The updated Aqara Home app will then allow Matter from other manufacturers to access the Aqara ecosystem.
VOCOlinc releases new humidifier
VOCOlinc complements its product line with the affordable VHI humidifier. Equipped with a 2.5-liter water tank, the VHI is suitable for rooms up to 40sqm and provides 12 to 20 hours of operation. The new model, which automatically turns off when the tank is empty, has more physical buttons for direct control.
Despite the low price, the VHI offers advanced features such as an integrated humidity sensor. The device is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and available on Amazon (DE / US).
Orvibo MixPad D1 and Govee String Light receive Matter
Five new devices received Matter this week, including the Orvibo MixPad D1 wall switch and the Govee String Light outdoor light chain. The MixPad D1 for the US market has a display for showing information and performing various actions. The Matter on the product page indicates that the integration should already be available.
The Govee String Light is already available, but it remains unclear whether Govee will provide a firmware update for Matter support or require new hardware. Other Matter devices this week include the Qihang Smart Plug-in Unit, an Plug outlet and a Silicon Labs SoC for colored lights.
Netatmo updates Weather Status App
The popular Netatmo weather station, compatible with HomeKit and expandable with additional sensors, now offers advanced features with the updated Weather Status for Netatmo app. The app offers a quick and clear view of the weather data and, since December last year, also a widget.
The latest version 1.2 brings improvements including selection of time period for graphs, display of rain as bar graph, display of module details and low battery warning. The app is available for free on the App Store, but some features require a subscription or one-time purchase.
WiZ introduces new camera without HomeKit
WiZ, a subsidiary of Signify, has introduced a new indoor camera. Since Matter does not currently support cameras, the camera will not integrate with HomeKit like many of the manufacturer’s lighting products.
The new WiZ Indoor camera offers a 120-degree field of view, SD card slot, two-way audio, motion detection and night vision via infrared. It will be available exclusively on Amazon from May 15, 2023. A subscription for extended functions costs an additional 3.99 euros per month or 44 euros per year. As a HomeKit user, we recommend reaching for a HomeKit Secure Video camera.