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Honeywell takes on Nest with a HomeKit thermostat

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If thermostats can be cool, Nest certainly makes the coolest. Its connected thermostat is the iconic smart home product, and traditional home companies have raced to catch up. Honeywell, one of the industry's leaders, unveiled its answer a couple years back: the Lyric smart thermostat. And now, the Lyric is getting a key upgrade; a new version is being unveiled today that integrates with Apple's HomeKit. It's available to preorder for $249.99, with units expected in stores around February 1st.

The only addition to this model is HomeKit integrationAdding HomeKit support is a small but significant difference. Like the Nest, the prior version of the Lyric thermostat could be controlled from an iPhone app, letting you set the temperature, be alerted when your system needs maintenance, and automatically inform the thermostat when you leave and arrive back home. By adding HomeKit support, those actions can now all be integrated with other smart home products connected to the HomeKit system, so you could theoretically set up separate air monitors to trigger turning on the air conditioning, or have your lights shut on or off based on when it detects that you're home or away.

The Lyric isn't otherwise changing and will continue to work with Samsung's SmartThings, too. But this update will still help to position Honeywell as the HomeKit system's answer to Nest, since Nest — now owned by Google — seems unlikely to join. And while there are a few other HomeKit-connected thermostats out there already, most are ugly and new to the thermostat game. The HomeKit system needed a better option so that people didn't feel like they were missing out on Nest, and it might now have one.

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