Elgato is releasing the first in-wall light switch with support for Apple’s HomeKit. The device replaces a standard light switch and can be used to control either smart light bulbs or any normal bulbs that happen to be screwed into the outlets it controls.
While a light switch isn’t necessarily the most exciting new product, this is a pretty meaningful addition to the HomeKit ecosystem. HomeKit has plenty of smart light bulbs, but you’ve (largely) been stuck turning them on and off through an app. For something that’s supposed to be “smart,” that’s pretty inconvenient — sometimes, it’s just much, much easier to flip a light switch on or off.
A smart switch may be more important than a smart light
That’s now possible in a natural way, since Elgato’s Eve Light Switch plugs directly into the wall. That’s also important because it means a room’s smart lights and light switch will always be in sync: if you connect a smart light to a regular light switch, turning the bulb off at the switch means it can’t be turned on again through an app — not until the switch is flipped.
The Eve Light Switch is a flat, touch-sensitive panel — there’s no dedicated on and off position. You just tap it, and the switch is supposed to shift between on and off. Notably, the switch does not have Wi-Fi; it only has a Bluetooth connection, which means there’ll need to be some sort of HomeKit hub (be it a new Apple TV or an iPad left nearby) in order to control lights from outside the home. The switch goes on sale today for $49.95.
This isn’t the first in-wall switch to be announced for HomeKit, but it is the first to make it to market. Back in January, iDevices announced an in-wall switch, as well as an in-wall power outlet, but neither have gone on sale yet — its website lists both as coming by the end of the year. It was also possible to connect in-wall switches from other systems, like Lutron, to HomeKit, but it wasn’t a native integration; you’d need that system’s hub in order to make it work.