Philips has launched a brand new Hue Bridge 2.0 with HomeKit support, bringing HomeKit compatibility to existing Hue bulbs and lamps. With the Hue Bridge 2.0, its line of Philips Hue lights are able to work with Apple's home automation platform, allowing all existing and future Hue bulbs to be controlled with Siri voice commands.
Further, the new Bridge supports other connected home platforms so it’s future-proof, while the original round-shaped Bridge will continue to be supported with software updates. Ironically, existing Hue users will need to purchase a brand new bridge as the existing bridge is not compatible with HomeKit.
The integration of the Hue connected lighting system with HomeKit allows users to control their Hue lights through Siri on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch.
After installing the new Hue bridge and updating the app, you can ask Siri a few things to customize your lights, such as “Hey Siri, turn all lights yellow” or “Hey Siri, set the living room lamp to 20 percent.”
The company writes "You can ask Siri to ‘wake up’ your home, turning on your Philips Hue lights and setting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature helping you and your family have a pleasant start to the day."
“At night you can ask Siri to recall light scenes you’ve created using the Philips Hue app, or set your home to ‘night mode’ turning off your lights and locking your front door.”
Currently, the Philips Hue app only supports the Siri part. As a result, you cannot integrate Hue lights with other products. However, this could change in a future software update. If your other product supports pairing with HomeKit products, you can actually add Hue lights from their apps.
"Lighting is the most accessible aspect of the connected home, and as the lighting expert for the Internet of Things we are taking connected lighting to the next phase," said Eric
Rondolat, Chief Executive Officer at Philips Lighting. "By integrating Philips Hue with Apple HomeKit, we are broadening people's experience of light beyond what has been previously possible, providing seamless interoperability with other connected home devices."
HomeKit device makers include ecobee3, Elgato, iHome, Insteon, Lutron, iDevices and Schlage. Other manufacturers are still working on updated software or hardware products.
The original Hue Bridge will not be updated with HomeKit compatibility, as it does not have the necessary hardware, but Philips plans to continue to support it with software updates.
The new bridge doesn’t have any additional feature. It has a new app icon-shaped design and still comes in white.
The new Hue Bridge 2.0 looks similar to the existing Hue Bridge, but it is square like the Apple TV rather than round. Along with the new bridge, Philips is also debuting a new set of lights. The new Hue bulbs are somewhat brighter at 800 lumens instead of 600 lumens. The white bulbs also have a new brighter variant at 800 lumens instead of 750 lumens. The LightStrip was also updated. All these new bulbs come with “increased internal storage.”
The square shaped Hue Bridge 2.0 is controllable via the Philips Hue app, which has been refreshed with full support for HomeKit and iOS 9. The new Hue Bridge 2.0 costs $60, and existing Hue owners can get a $20 discount. The connected home accessory will be available in Europe and North America from Tuesday, October 6, 2015 as a standalone product, or in a package with updated Hue light bulbs.