Latest Philips Hue bridge adds Apple HomeKit, Siri support

"Hey Siri, set the family room lights to dicso night mode." Yup, you can do that with Philips Hue bulbs and your iOS device, but only if you buy the updated Hue hub for your smarthome.

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Starting this month, you'll be able to control Philips Hue light bulbs using Siri on your iOS device. You will, however, need to purchase a new Philips Hue bridge because the currently available model isn't compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform.

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Philips announced the second-generation Hue hub on Monday, showing how you can say "Hey Siri, wake up" and have all lights in your home switch on in the early morning. Since Hue also offers color tunable bulbs, you can command Siri to change the color or brightness as well, either on a per-bulb basis or through customizable themes.

The new Philips Hue hub -- spotted over the weekend at ZatzNotFunny -- retails for $60. For those folks (like me) that own the prior model, Philips is offering a 33 percent discount during November and December, bringing the price down to a more palatable $40.

Unlike other smarthome hubs, such as the Wink that I'm currently using with my Amazon Echo, the Hue hub only controls lights from Philips Hue and other brands, hence the relatively inexpensive price.

You don't need a Hue hub to use the connected bulbs, but if you want the full experience, you'll need it. I can't, for example, change the colors or brightness on my Hue bulbs using my Wink hub through the Amazon Echo: I can only turn the bulbs on or off. I can do so directly in the Wink app. And of course, I can't use Siri to do so at all since I have the older Hue hub.

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