Gadgets for humans

Meet Philips Hue: The smart LED light bulb exclusively hitting Apple Stores on October 30


Philips has set its sights on disrupting the home automation market, today launching its new “Hue” smart light bulbs, which are to be sold exclusively in Apple Stores worldwide from October 30.

Update: They are now on sale on the US Apple Store.

The electronics giant becomes the latest company to launch a web-enabled LED light bulb, capable of interacting with smartphones and tablets to automate lighting in the home using integrated wireless technology.

Providing easy ways for users to set lighting patterns or make it look like someone is home while they are out the house, Philips also looks set to infringe on the turf of the popular LIFX Kickstarter project, which has already raised more than $1.3 million to launch effectively the same lighting product.

Philips Hue will launch in Apple Stores from tomorrow, including a starter pack of three bulbs (600 lumen or 50 watt equivalent) that will work with the lamps in your home. Also included is a bridge, which connects the bulbs to your wireless router and with each other using the open ZigBee Light Link standard. This also means other products could possibly integrate with them.

Once connected, the bulbs can be set up in minutes to link with the Hue smartphone and tablet apps. Using the apps, users can personalise their lighting settings, program times and utilise “LightRecipes” which can match the mood of the house or the room at a specific time.

It’s going to be a big blow for LIFX, which offers very similar features but has taken the crowd-funding route. LIFX has already reached its funding goal, but shipments will reach customers from March 2013 onwards. Philips, on the other hand, launches with one of the world’s most popular brands in Apple, from tomorrow.

Philips Hue supports up to 50 bulbs, integrates with both iOS and Android devices and offers up to 80 percent less power than a traditional bulb (lasting as long as 15 years or 15,000 burning hours).

It will be available from $199/£179, with additional bulbs costing $59/£49.

Philips Hue

Published October 29, 2012 — 11:24 UTC