Welcome to this secret beta Issue 0 of Apple Home Weekly. This newsletter will go out on Saturday mornings US time, and will dive into Apple home related topics that I find easier to cover here instead of YouTube. I'll also link to noteworthy stories and videos related to Apple and smart home tech that you might have missed. The plan is for this newsletter to be free, but I might add additional paid content here on Substack down the road. Stay tuned next Saturday for the official launch of this newsletter.
Your Apple powered home is bigger than HomeKit
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have had a profound impact on our houses and apartments. Our homes have become our work place, gym, movie theater, restaurant, place of worship, and so much more! Surely not all of these roles will last and some might have already left home. The important part here is that inevitably we've all seen new ways to live, and our living spaces will have to transform to serve a larger set of roles going forward. I used to be an avid gym goer, but since the pandemic, I do all my workouts at home with a variety of tech to make that possible.
For years, Apple smart home tech was synonymous with HomeKit, and I have certainly used the term a lot in my own YouTube content. But as the options of tech in and around our homes continues to expand, it's impossible for one app or framework to capture everything about an Apple powered home.
HomeKit might be able to turn on your TV, but it doesn't control how you are watching or hearing the content. HomeKit can set the LED lights behind your home office desk, but what desk are you using and what else is there to help your virtual meeting go well? Underneath all this is the way you connect to the internet in your home. HomeKit does have router control options with supporting hardware, but it's only one piece of the bigger category of home networking. And as you become more advanced with home automation, you might be using something like Homebridge, HOOBS, or Home Assistant as a glue between HomeKit and other tech.
At some point along the line, you've decided to buy into Apple's ecosystem for the tech you use on a regular basis. I want this newsletter and my YouTube channel to focus on exploring how to use Apple's products, combined with other tech, to optimize for your life at home. A lot of that is directly with Apple HomeKit compatible products and clever automations. But the decisions in adjacent parts of your home and technology stack are just as important. While this is true today, I think it will only continue to grow as more technology advancements make our home lives more efficient, effective, and fun.
Why start a newsletter?
As I start to rack up a queue of topics I want to talk about on my YouTube channel, there are many ideas I have that I don't think fit well in YouTube videos. I also think that, for some people, quickly reading through a newsletter and browsing some links might be more enjoyable than tuning into a YouTube video. I think the pandemic drew a lot of people to YouTube who don't have as much time to watch when they aren't in lockdown.
A YouTube video is often just about one specific topic. Each issue of this newsletter has the flexibility to be more than that. Apple Home Weekly also gives me a regular place to curate, comment, and link other content for you too.
My thoughts on Amazon's big event
Amazon had their big fall event on Tuesday and announced some iterative and some head turning new products. I'm really excited about the new Blink doorbell. Blink's low power technology means this doorbell can have “long lasting” battery life from two AA batteries. And did I mention that it starts at $50? There's a Homebridge plug in to connect Blink cameras with Apple HomeKit. Given this new doorbell's price, battery power, and Homebridge potential, I'm tempted to preorder it for a video on the channel. What do you think?
I do find it funny that Amazon is keeping Blink as a brand alongside Ring. This story by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy on The Verge does a convincing job positing Blink is there to be a value or low-cost brand.
I also really like the look of Amazon's new Echo Show. As I mentioned in my 2021 HomeKit Wishlist video earlier this year, Apple could do such a good job making this kind of a home display product!
My video this week:
Christopher Lawley on his Focus Modes
Christopher shares some great ideas in this video about Focus Modes. These are a powerful new feature across all of Apple's operating systems this fall. Setting your iPhone to a blank home screen when you're working on certain tasks is genius! Personally, I hope to talk more about connecting focus modes to home automations soon.
Stalman Podcast Episode 111 on iPhone 13 Cameras
If you want to hear about the nerdy details of the camera improvements in iPhone 13, or you just want to hear behind the scenes of how much happens when you take a photo on ANY iPhone, this interview with folks from the Camera team at Apple is exceptional.
Disclaimer: Some product links in this newsletter might be affiliate links where I might earn a small commission on them at no cost to you.