Philips this week launched an official developer program for its Hue lighting system, in response to the growing number of enthusiasts who have already created their own apps for the customizable LED array. As TechCrunch reports, Philips' developer program includes open APIs, an SDK for iOS developers, and guides for both hardware and software makers.

Amateur developers have already created a variety of apps that integrate Hue's lighting system with music or other gaming apps, but Philips' official kit should make that process a lot easier. It should broaden the range of hardware applications, as well, allowing hardware manufacturers to integrate Hue's ZigBee home automation standard into thermostats, motion detectors, or other products.

"We want to help grow and encourage this community."

"We’re now at a point where there are already about 10 applications that have been shared and built from the unofficial developer community for new applications around Hue," George Yianni, Hue system architect, told TechCrunch. "Now what we want to do as Philips is we actually want to help and grow and encourage this community, and give them tools and proper documentation. Also, we want to give them commitment that this is the API and we’re going to support it and it won’t change overnight."

The Philips Hue three-bulb starter kit is available now on the Apple Store for $199.95, with additional bulbs priced at $59 a piece.