In 2015, the first HomeKit products with Apple’s MFi (“Made for iPhone”) certification went on sale or up for pre-order. The MFi certification ensures that these smart home devices have an authentication chip and have undergone rigorous testing to get Apple’s official seal of approval. At the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 13, the company announced its app, called Home, which debuted with iOS 10. Home lets you control all your HomeKit-compatible devices through the app or by using your iPhone’s Control Center.
At WWDC two years ago, Apple announced major partners for its smart-home platform, including Philips, Haier, and Honeywell. Devices from these manufacturers have slowly trickled out since then. Now, you can ask Siri to turn on your Philips Hue lights or check to see if your August door lock is secure. However, if you want to control these remotely, you’ll need an Apple TV or an iPad to server as an external bridge.
At Apple’s September event this year, Tim Cook said Apple is expecting 100 more compatible devices to be released this year, with more to come in the future. Could we finally see a HomeKit-enabled security camera? You’ll find our comprehensive list of all HomeKit-certified devices below — we’ll update it as more products come to market.
Yale announced the Yale Real Living Assure lock with HomeKit at CES 2107. The lock is currently compatible with iOS and Android via Bluetooth LE, and will receive HomeKit integration later in March. This upgrade will be made possible via a slide in module.
So you’ve got your brand new Philips Hue 2.0 Bridge in front of you. It’s a bit less shiny and decidedly more square than version 1. You also have an iOS device running iOS 10 and possibly an Apple TV as well (more on this later). You just want to say “Siri, turn on my bedroom lights”, so lets get to it.
While shopping at Target last night for Tootsie Roll Caramel Apple Lollipops, the one thing I went in to get, I walked by the iPhone dock isle. I’m not really interested in iPhone docks, nor have I purchased one before. The only one to perk my interest over the years were the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, which was a 30 pin dock and upgraded immediately to Lightning after the release, and the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Z2 with AirPlay. When I auditioned the Zeppelin Air it was overly bass heavy and had a scooped out mid-range, at that price point I decided I didn’t need to own one and life went on. Which brings us back to last night, most of the iPhone docks seemed cheap or poorly designed, the usual 90’s alarm clock with a dock connector molded on top. However one stood out, the Philips DS1155 Dock with Lightning. A black ring resembling a small overturned bundt cake pan, the center contained the dock with a clear stand to support the phone and underneath that a wooden control panel with what looked like touch controls. The box said it would auto sync the clock from the iPhone and it was also an LED nightlight, this one had to end up on my nightstand.
Now that it’s on my nightstand, here are my thoughts on it:
The packaging: It’s exactly what you’d expect from Philips, a cardboard box with the dock wrapped in foam and slid into some wings to center it in the box.
The hardware: Once unwrapped the fit/finish is very nice, the speaker grill is flush to the body, and the clock is invisible when its off. The only ports are the Lightning dock connector, a USB port, on the back and the small power adapter input from the wall wart (which only covers one outlet due to its horizontal orientation). The wood control panel looks great but is not touch sensitive as it looks, it has 4 physical buttons with a solid click when pressed. Clock (3 levels of dimming), light (off/low/high), volume up, and volume down. I plugged it in and placed my phone in the dock, it fit perfectly even with my case (a Tech21 D3O Impact). The clock took 3 seconds to sync and 1 more for me to hit play on the home screen.
The sound: If i had to guess the dock would have a few 1″ laptop speakers under the grill. That’s exactly what it sounds like. It sounds like the highs are rolled off over ~6kHz and lows are rolled off under 150Hz. Whats left plays loud and without distortion up to volume level 20 (whatever that translates to). It was loud enough to hear in multiple rooms on the same floor of my house. I’d actually like to see what the frequency response looks like from this dock to confirm my suspicions.
The lighting: Honestly this is perfect, the amber LED clock has 3 dimming levels, almost off, a bit brighter, and perfect. The nightlight can be off, warm glow from under the clock, and I can make out the other items on my nightstand. It is completely unobtrusive and the amber LEDs in the clear ring under the dock make it appear to float at night.
Overall: I think this is a great dock for $70. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another for any other bedroom. The design is great and it feels like a quality product. The sound matches the price even though it could be better if they put as much into that as the aesthetics.