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Smart Home

Elgato's Button can control your Apple smart home at CES

Press the Elgato Eve Button to activate your HomeKit scenes.

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Ry Crist/CNET

Press a button and you can prep for movie time by rolling down the shades, dimming the lights and locking the doors. Apple's smart home platform HomeKit has always allowed you to control multiple compatible devices at once through Scenes. The new Elgato Eve Button at CES will allow you to activate three of those scenes with a press.

The $50 Bluetooth-enabled Button syncs to your HomeKit devices through either your Apple TV ($249 at Apple) or an Apple iPad ($429 at Mobileciti Online) acting as a hub for your smart home. Once you set up the button, you'll be able to use it to activate a different scene with a single press, a double press or a long press. The $50 US price converts to roughly £35 and AU$60. 

You'll need to set up the scenes through Apple's Home app, which allows you to control all of your smart-home devices that work with the company's HomeKit software. You can customize your own scene, or tell the app what you'd like to happen with preprogrammed options such as "Good Morning" or "Good Night."

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Once your scenes are ready, you can control them with a press on the app or via a voice command to Apple's digital assistant Siri on your phone. Elgato's buttons allow your family easier access to scenes without needing access to your phone or without you needing to share your HomeKit account info with everybody.

The Eve Buttons could add a lot of convenience to an Apple-centric smart home, but I wonder if they'll be rendered obsolete by Apple's upcoming HomePod ($499 at Apple) smart speaker -- which will allow anyone in the family to control your smart home with a voice command. The $50 price could keep the buttons in the picture for those who don't want to spend $350 for the HomePod.

Even so, $50 is a little steep as comparable Bluetooth buttons from Flic are only $25. Eve's Button looks bigger and more polished than the pocket-size Flic. If you're interested in a HomeKit specific-button, look for the Eve Button on Amazon and the Apple store by the end of this month.

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