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CES

iDevices shows off 'Switch' connected plug for Apple's HomeKit

Apple fans will soon be able to control some lights and appliances with Siri, as Apple accessories partner iDevices has announced its new "Switch" HomeKit-compatible connected plug at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.




Switch sits between an appliance and the wall outlet, meaning that nearly any electrically-powered product can be controlled after connecting Switch to the home Wi-Fi network. Switch itself is managed by a companion iOS app and integrates with Apple's HomeKit home automation framework.

Thanks to the HomeKit integration, users can also bypass the companion app and instead control Switch using their voice; for instance, telling Siri to "turn off the lights in the living room" could do just that.

Each Switch contains both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules, and connects directly to the network without a central hub. iDevices says that each Switch is small enough to occupy only one outlet in a wall plate, allowing multiple Switch units to be plugged in next to each other.




iDevices— best known for the iGrill line of Bluetooth cooking thermometers— has also designed a "custom IoT cloud" for Switch, allowing owners to control the devices while away from home.

Apple announced HomeKit alongside iOS 8 at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference. The framework is designed to bridge the gap between various home automation schemes, making it easier for users to implement and manage the "internet of things" in their homes.

In addition to iOS devices, which are used to issue commands to HomeKit-enabled accessories, the Apple TV has been drafted into service to facilitate the HomeKit rollout. A late October update to the set-top box added features that allow it to work as a remote access hub for HomeKit devices, though it is unclear if iDevices is taking advantage of this functionality with Switch.