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Apple and Philips Release "Smarter" Lightbulb

Control from your mobile device

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Nov 5, 2012  |  Updated 7:07 PM PDT
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The newest thing to buy at an Apple store is a light bulb called Hue. Scott Budman explains why it is Apple worthy.

The newest thing to buy at an Apple store is a light bulb called Hue. Scott Budman explains why it is Apple worthy.

The next time you walk into an Apple store, you'll be able to buy more than just a smartphone. You'll be able to buy a smart light bulb - at least, smarter than whatever's currently lighting up your home or place of business.

Don't expect Apple fans to camp out to get the bulbs, though. They're actually made by electronic giant Philips, and they're being sold -exclusively - at Apple stores.

The bulb is called Hue, and Philips calls it the world's first LED light system that works with the web.  That is, you download an app (not just exclusively iOS, by the way .. these work with Android devices, too), and then you control the bulb from your mobile phone.

If this sounds something like the Nest Thermostat, it kind of reminds us of that, too.  Taking Apple-like design principles, marrying them to a mobile device, and shaking up the market.  To be fair, Hue is not the only light bulb trying to be disruptive - Silicon Valley is also home to SWITCH, which, like, Hue, is more expensive, longer lasting, and more environmentally clean than the typical bulb.

With your phone, you can control the brightness, color, and timing of your light bulb.  The bulbs come in a set of three for about $200. Too much of a revolution too soon?  We'll see. As someone who actually went around changing the bulbs in his house to the squiggly kind a little more than a year ago, I'm ready to see what's next.

Scott, who loves bright ideas, is on Twitter: @scottbudman

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