Lifx smart bulbs to work with Apple HomeKit this February

HomeKit compatibility -- and the Siri voice controls that come with it -- is coming to new Lifx bulbs this February.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
2 min read
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This just in: the color-changing Lifx smart bulb is jumping aboard the Apple HomeKit bandwagon, with compatibility set for early 2017.

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Coming soon: HomeKit compatibility for your Lifx smart bulbs.

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HomeKit is the set of smart-home protocols programmed into iOS devices. Smart-home gadgets that follow those protocols can enjoy native compatibility with Apple's "Home" app, which lets you group devices, program automated smart home scenes, and turn things on and off right from the iOS control center.

The other big HomeKit advantage: Siri controls. Once Lifx is officially onboard, you'll be able to ask Apple's virtual assistant to turn your bulbs on and off, dim them up and down, or change their color. That's the same as what we've seen from Lifx rival Philips Hue, which is also compatible with HomeKit.

Lifx tells us that the current third-gen bulbs, including the Lifx Plus, will be repackaged and sold with the "Works with HomeKit" badge for easy identification. That'll happen in February.

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You can change the color or the white-light color temperature of each Lifx bulb with easy-to-use selector dials.

Ry Crist/CNET

As for the existing third-gen bulbs already on store shelves, Lifx tells us that it's trying to find a way to get them in with HomeKit, too. No word on how or when that will happen, but it will likely require some fresh firmware at the very least. All the same, holding off until February to buy new bulbs might not be the worst idea.

After debuting as a crowdfunding darling just a few years ago, Lifx has risen to become a prominent player in the smart lighting category, and a top competitor for Philips Hue. The bulbs use built-in Wi-Fi radios to connect directly with your home network. Once everything is synced up, you'll be able to control them on your Android or iOS device. The bulbs are bright, too, putting out well over 1,000 lumens at peak settings -- roughly as much light as you'd get from a 75W incandescent.

Watch this: Philips Hue vs. Lifx: A color-changing smart home showdown

Lifx bulbs have consistently left us impressed, enough so that we crowned them as the best color-changing smart bulbs money can buy in a recent smart home showdown with Philips Hue. It's a distinction that's only strengthened by the addition of HomeKit compatibility -- the No. 1 request from the Lifx user base, according to company COO Tim Peters.

Aside from HomeKit, Lifx bulbs are already compatible with the online automation service IFTTT, with the Nest Learning Thermostat, with the SmartThings connected home platform, and with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Color-changing third-gen bulbs start at $60 each (about £45/AU$80), with the night-vision-enhancing Lifx Plus LED selling for $80 (£65/AU$105).