Apple's HomeKit is slowly trying to bring the connected home into the mainstream, one smoke detector and Nest knock-off at a time. Of course, this is CES, so it's also time for things to get weird — and Hunter Fan Company is taking the opportunity to introduce what can only be described as two "smart fans" into the marketplace. The two models, named Symphony and Signal, feature built-in Wi-Fi so they can hook into HomeKit and be part of the system's automated auctions. If you want to have a fan that automatically turns on when you get home, Hunter has you covered.
"They're beautiful, affordable, high-quality pieces of decor that bring state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology where it might not be expected: the ceiling fan," Hunter CEO John Alexander said in the kind of statement you often hear at CES. "As we celebrate 130 years, we have several exciting developments to share with our customers, and are proud to kick off 2016 at CES with Symphony and Signal."
This idea is cooler than it sounds
The two models differ primarily in aesthetics: At $329, Symphony is an all-white plastic model, while Signal has a nickel-and-wood look that will run you $50 more. While controlling a fan with your Apple Watch or a Siri command may seem silly at first blush, we're also talking about devices that have historically been controlled by tiny, swinging pull chains, or hideous, chunky plastic remotes. As someone that's struggled with both options in the past — I usually lose the remote on purpose and just deal with the fumbly chain — having a fan remote built right into my phone is a surprisingly welcome and sensible option, something that other manufacturers are also realizing with more forward-thinking takes on the fan. Symphony and Signal are expected to ship this spring.