Apple didn’t attend last week’s gadget show but its presence was felt. Many companies have designed “smart” home products that integrate with Apple’s HomeKit, an emerging technology for controlling lights and appliances through a mobile app. There are other efforts to unify smart-home devices, but many of them rely on individual partnerships. That approach is slower than simply having everyone use a common set of tools — in this case, HomeKit.
The easiest way to start is with a HomeKit power plug, such as ones that iHome, iDevices and Grid Connect soon plan to sell for $40 to $80 each. Your appliance hooks into that plug, which then goes into a regular electric outlet. The HomeKit power plug has a HomeKit-certified chipset with a wireless connection to get instructions from the app.