Chances are you already own an iHome accessory--most likely a speaker or iPhone dock. Now the company is expanding into smart home accessories with the new HomeKit-compatible iSP5 SmartPlug, which promises to make your dumb appliances more intelligent without a hub.
The $40 wall plug is iHome's first entry into smart home products. It uses Wi-Fi to let you control any small electronic device under 1800 watts--that includes lights, home audio set-ups, window air-conditioners, coffee makers, etc. Using the iHome Control app for iOS (or Android), you can create "scenes" that let you control all of the smart plugs in a room. You can toggle on an away mode in a scene to turn off all the devices that are plugged in, or you can manage each plug individually. The plugs are designed to stack on top of each other, so you can use two per standard wall outlet.
iHome is aiming to work around the biggest barrier to smart home adoption: high up-front costs. Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a hub and accessories that might not simplify life at all? You can start with one plug and add more if you like it, and because the plugs use Wi-Fi, there's no need to buy a hub. HomeKit compatibility means you can control your devices with Siri.
The iSP5 is one of the many HomeKit-compatible products we saw at the International CES in January that are just now starting to trickle out to the public. We liked what we saw then, but we're going to put the smart plug to the test in an upcoming review.
The iSP5 goes on sale Thursday on iHome's website and Amazon, and will soon roll out to retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.
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