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Philips releases Hue 'Gen 2' app with Routines, Rooms & other improvements

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Philips on Thursday released a "Gen 2" Hue app for iOS, updating the tool for its HomeKit-enabled smartbulbs with new features like Routines, and extra options for controlling rooms and scenes.

Routines are schedules based on activities, and specifically geared towards different temperatures and intensities of white light. A "Wake Up" routine, for instance, will gradually increase brightness as the sun rises, while "Nightlight" will output dim warm light so as to make it easier to go back to sleep.

The new app can also control all the lights in a room simultaneously. After grouping lights into custom-named collections in Settings, people can then use voice control keywords to make instant changes.

Scenes, an existing Hue feature, have been improved with the ability to extract color palettes from photos, using five color picks to generate a new scene. Alternately people can build their own scenes, or pick from an assortment of new presets.

Also added are Notification Center widgets. Up to 10 of these can be used to control lights, each supporting multiple rooms and/or scenes.

Finally, the app can now be set to turn lights on or off based on device location. Lights can turn off when an iPhone or iPad has left home, or on when a person returns.

Hue Gen 2 is a free download from the iOS App Store.