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Signify today announced a variety of expansions of its Philips Hue smart lighting category. The HomeKit-compatible smart lighting collection now includes a reimagined Iris table lamp, a new gradient lightstrip, and more.
First off, Philips Hue has reintroduced its Philips Hue Iris table lamp. This was one of the original Philips Hue ambient lighting products, and it’s been given a notable update today:
The updated Philips Hue Iris ($99.99) puts a new spin on an iconic design. Available starting October 19, 2023, the stylish table lamp will be reintroduced, offering richer colors, lower-than-ever dimming, and a significant increase in brightness(up to 570 lumens)when using white light, as well as a fabric-wrapped cord. Place the Iris lamp anywhere in your home; use it to wash the living room walls with colorful light or set it on a bedside table for a gentle nightlight. You can control it instantly via Bluetooth in a single room or pair it with a Hue bridge to unlock the full suite of smart lighting features.
Here’s a look at the Philips Hue Iris in action:
Philips Hue also continues its trend of adding Bluetooth connectivity to its range of smart lighting products. This time around, the Philips Hue E12 candelabra bulbs in White and Color Ambiance ($49.99 for a single pack) and White Ambiance ($24.99 for a single pack) have been updated with Bluetooth. Note that you’ll still need the Philips Hue bridge to use HomeKit control.
Philips Hue is also introducing larger sizes of its popular filament bulb, as well as its smallest ever Hue bulb. More information about these will be available soon on the Philips Hue website.
Perhaps the biggest announcement from Philips Hue today is the new Philips Hue Play gradient lightstrip. While Philips Hue already offers a variety of different lightstrip options for indoor and outdoor use, the new gradient lightstrip is slightly different. It’s designed to mount around the back edges of your TV and is available in specific sizes for 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch TVs.
The Philips Hue Play gradient lightstrip features 45-degree light projection and a blended gradient of light. This is made possible by the series of individually addressable LEDs, which let you set different colors for different zones on the strip and blend them together. When paired with the Philips Hue Sync Mac app or the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync box, the gradient lightship can also match what is displayed on your TV or computer.
These features come at a cost, though. The pricing details for the Philips Hue gradient lightstrip are available below. It will be available starting October 16, 2023, in the US. Pre-order now.
55-inch (fits TV sizes 55-60 inches): $199.99
65-inch (fits TV sizes 65-70 inches): $219.99
75-inch (fits TV sizes 75-85 inches): $239.99
Finally, Philips Hue is also teaming up with August to provide deeper integration between Yale and August smart locks and Philips Hue lighting products. Signify says that this partnership will begin later this month and allow users to set up automatons to automatically turn on lights when a door is unlocked, to grant light access to guests, and more.
You can find more details about the Philips Hue and August partnership here.
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Smart home lighting is one of the key use cases for any smart home platform. There’s nothing that makes you feel like you’re living in the age of The Jetsons than having lights automatically come on and off based on motion control and voice assistants. The Philips Hue Go light is a worthy addition to your HomeKit environment if you want a portable light for an outdoor area.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
A Philips Hue setup is one of the best investments you can make when building your smart home. When I first began to invest in HomeKit products a few years ago, a Hue Starter Kit was one of the first things I bought, and I’ve continued to rely on it daily. I’ve found that the Hue lightbulbs are some of the best-looking LED lights on the market, and the company has been quick to add new HomeKit features like Adaptive Lighting when released by Apple. Philips makes some incredible floodlights that are HomeKit compatible, and they’re a key part of my outdoor HomeKit light setup.
Since the summertime is when many people spend extended time outside, I recently picked up the Philips Hue Go light to use on the porch instead of using floodlights to have outdoor lighting. When you’ve got a Hue Hub on your network, Philips products are an easy add-on because they’re easy to onboard into your Hue bridge, which then automatically show up in HomeKit.Onboarding to HomeKit
Because my Hue bridge is already connected to HomeKit, once I added the serial number of the Philips Hue Go light into the Hue iPhone app, it was immediately available in HomeKit. It had been a while since I had added any Hue products, so I actually forgot how easy this process was. It seemed like they would be an additional step, but there wasn’t – once I launched the Home app, it was at the bottom of my favorites list where I could rename it and assign it to a room.Philips Hue Go with HomeKit Automations
Once you charge up the Go light, it’ll be ready to be placed outside. After a full charge, it can last up to 18 hours on the cozy candle setting or 10 hours on the ambient light setting. This product is really useful when used with an outdoor motion sensor paired with HomeKit. Let’s say that you charge it up and place it on your covered back porch. You can then use a HomeKit automation to turn it on when motion is detected after sunset. If you have a door sensor in HomeKit, it could be configured to where when the door is opened after sunset, the light turns on. Even without using it with an automation, you’ll have full access to the light with Siri and the Home app to turn it on, off, dim, change colors, etc.Wrap up on Philips Hue Go
If you’re in the market for HomeKit outdoor lighting that’s easy to install, portable, and can last for many hours, Philips Hue Go will make a great addition to your home for less than $100. In addition, it supports HomeKit Adaptive Lighting, can easily brighten up a dark area, and is highly reliable.
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Plus, new features are coming via software updates later this year to the Philips Hue Bridge and Hue app that’ll increase customisation and control over lighting.
Don’t forget that to unlock all the features of the lights, you’ll need a Hue Bridge ($59.99/ £49.99). The bridge will let you sync your lights, control them remotely, set up automations and use voice control.
The light panels won’t be available in the US but the software updates might. We’ve asked for further information but hadn’t heard back at the time of publishing this article.Philips Hue E14 Luster bulb
The brand’s most compact bulb is now available in both White Ambiance and White and Colour Ambiance. If you have a mini light fitting or teeny tiny lamp you haven’t yet been able to add to your smart home setup, this could be your chance.
The White Ambiance bulb has a wide range of colour temperatures, with 50,000 shades of natural white light, from warm to cool.
For more mood lighting options, the White and colour Ambiance bulb offers millions of colours across the spectrum.
E14 Luster White Ambiance bulb – £29.99 (Philips)
E14 Luster White and Colour Ambiance bulb – £54.99 (Philips)White and Colour Ambiance Surimu panel
The Surimu is getting an update as well. The Surimu is a coloured panel that sits flush with the ceiling and emits a soft, diffused light more suitable for creating a club vibe than illuminating the table while you’re engrossed in a particularly challenging puzzle.
It’s currently available in a square 60 x 60cm and rectangular 120 x 30cm form (each £294.99 from Philips) but you can now get a half-size square panel, as well as a circular model.
White and Colour Ambiance Surimu Panel 30 x 30cm – £209.99 (Philips)
White and Colour Ambiance Surimu Panel (round) 39.5cm diameter – £219.99 (Philips)Philips Hue White Ambiance Aurelle panel
There are additions to the Aurelle range as well. The four current models (see them at Philips) have a white frame but if this doesn’t match your colour interior palette, there’s good news. Or, at least, it’s good news if black will match. The four new Aurelle panels are framed in a “premium black finish”.
Alas, if you’re hoping to light your home like a John Wick fight scene, the Aurelle is not for you. It’s a White Ambiance light only.
White Ambiance Aurelle with black frame:
60 x 60cm – £219.99 (Philips)
120 x 30cm – £219.99 (Philips)
30 x 30cm – £149.99 (Philips)
39.5cm diameter – £159.99 (Philips)
One of the issues with grouped lights is that it’s hard to dim bulbs of differing brightness to the same level. But Philips Hue is launching a fix. Its brightness balancer will give you more precise control of different lights that you’ve grouped together as your “Entertainment area”.
If you’re listening to music, film watching, or gaming, you can individually adjust the related Hue lights to illuminate an area, or bring down higher-lumen bulbs to a suitably dim level for popcorn munching and movie viewing.
The update will arrive via the app in Q3 (July – September) but note that this works only for lights you’ve specifically grouped together in the app in the Entertainment area, which usually means light bars, light strips, accents lights and more.
A Hue Bridge update that’s expected at the same time will also hugely increase the flexibility of your motion sensor programming. Currently, the motion sensors have two time slots – daytime and night – so you could set up a bright light to come on when you open your front door in the daytime and a low-level light at night. This could be a bit limiting if you’d like a different level of brightness at, say, 10pm and 3am.
But the number of time slots will be increasing to ten, so you can customise your lighting to the time of day. This raises the interesting possibility of setting a sunny orange glow to accompany your early morning cornflakes or a vivid red 10am light to alert you to your morning meeting.
If you’re interested in this feature, have a look at our review of the Dyson Solarcycle Morph, which has a natural daylight setting and see our round-up of the best light alarms we’ve tested, which will wake you up gently by slowly brightening the light in your bedroom.
One of the very first smart home products I purchased for my home was one of Belkin’s Wemo switches. Back before Apple had developed HomeKit, I was already envisioning a smart home. Up until now, there’s only been a single option for an outdoor HomeKit adapter, but late last year, Belkin released a new outdoor Wemo outlet that’s compatible with HomeKit.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
There are multiple reasons to use outdoor HomeKit switches. Especially around Christmas, automating your outdoor Christmas lights is an easy reason to add this product type to your HomeKit environment. But it’s still a useful device for anything you want to control the power to on the exterior of your home outside of the holiday season.
I have a pretty interesting outdoor lighting setup that an outdoor HomeKit outlet is the perfect product for. Because of where the builder installed our floodlight, the vast majority of our yard is pitch black at night. It was frustrating for my kids to play at night, but it became more challenging for me when taking the dog out. I wanted to add a floodlight that was HomeKit enabled and wire it up without using an electrician. I knew I wouldn’t fish it to a light switch, so I needed to get more creative with my lighting setup, and an outdoor HomeKit switch is a perfect product for the situation.
I would have preferred to use a native HomeKit floodlight, but our trim is white, so it needed to match, and most models I found didn’t. My solution was I bought a generic floodlight in the right color and planned to wire it to an outdoor HomeKit plug. I mounted the floodlight near my gutter, ran the outdoor electrical cable behind the gutter and under my porch. I have the wire through the deck near the wall, put an outdoor plug on it, and have it plugged into the Wemo outdoor outlet.
The outlet (marked as a “light” in the Home app) is connected to a HomeKit automation where it comes on at night for 15 minutes if the backdoor is opened. I can also use my HomePod to say, “Hey Siri, turn on/off the backyard lights.”Installing Outdoor HomeKit Switch
Installing the switch highlights one of the reasons I love HomeKit. I plugged it up outdoors, opened the Home app, and scanned the HomeKit code. Since it’s an outdoor product, I took a backup picture of the code to store in iCloud. Alternatively, you could use an app like HomePass to keep your HomeKit codes.
Once the outlet is in HomeKit, you’ll be able to control the plug using manual control inside the Home app or configure it to turn on based on automation or sensor data from other types of sensors. One downside to the Belkin Wemo Outdoor Outlet over the Meross Outdoor Outlet is that you can’t control the individual outlets. There is only a single switch to turn on both outlets. Even inside the Wemo app, both outlets are covered by a single switch.Wrap-up on Wemo Outdoor Outlet and Use Cases
Depending on your HomeKit needs, you either have a clear use case for a HomeKit outdoor switch, or you don’t. Not everyone has outdoor items they want to control via a smart outlet outdoors, where almost everyone does indoors. If you do need to control outdoor lighting or want to kill power to an outdoor TV when you’re not using it, you’ll love having the ability to automate it all using HomeKit with the Wemo Outdoor Outlet.
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During the keynote address at Share19 in New York, BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu announced a new technology that could make a major difference for digital marketers.
The patented technology, called BrightEdge Autopilot, completely automates certain SEO tasks — it will be available in early 2023, and if it does everything Yu says it will, it’s a game changer.
Specifically, BrightEdge Autopilot will identify and perform SEO tasks that don’t need a human touch, including:
Duplicate content issues
It’s SEO running in the background, 24 hours a day, in real time.
“This was really, really hard technology to build,” said BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu. “We’ve been building it for 12 years.”
He and CTO Lemuel Park came up with the idea of making certain aspects of SEO autonomous by listening to their clients.
“Time and again we heard the same thing: digital marketing teams were challenged by limited resources and organizational silos — and their own bandwidth was limited thanks to repetitive, laborious, and soul-crushing repetitive tasks.”How BrightEdge Made SEO Autonomous
Yu likens BrightEdge Autopilot to a self-driving car.
“You have to drive a car millions of miles to develop self driving capabilities, and it’s the same thing with creating autonomous SEO,” Yu said.
“We’ve been testing and tuning different algorithms for 12 years,” he said.
During those 12 years, they’ve studied 345 petabytes of data — to put that into perspective, that’s 57 times the size of all the photos on Instagram.
They’ve also crawled 500 billion pages – meaning that if every single person in the world had a webpage, each of those pages would have been crawled 71 times.
Put simply, they’ve tested, tested, and tested again, across different industries and businesses. They’re currently running BrightEdge Autopilot on more than 1,700 sites.
On average, the customers using BrightEdge Autopilot have seen:
60% increase in page views per visit
21% more keywords on Page 1 rankings
2X increase in conversions
28% improvement in ad quality score
“Large sites with tons of pages really benefit from the self-healing aspects of BrightEdge Autopilot. It helps whenever things get broken. And, of course, even as you fix things, other things get broken again — but the self-healing is always running in the background to address issues like orphan pages and duplicate content,” Yu said.
Meanwhile, he said smaller sites are benefiting from the mobile performance improvement and self-linking pages.
Autopilot ensures that your site is always (automatically) promoting the right content, driving users to related content, and optimizing your site flow.
BrightEdge Autopilot provides three main solutions for businesses of all sizes across all industries by:
“With BrightEdge Autopilot, you can compress the time it takes to do the SEO tasks you need to do so you can stay ahead — and focus on innovating and creating,” Yu said.BrightEdge Autopilot in the Wild
Campbell’s Soup Company has early access to BrightEdge Autopilot.
At the Share19 conference in New York, Campbell’s Global SEO Manager Amanda Ciktor shared the impact of BrightEdge Autopilot.
Ciktor reported that she was able to get BrightEdge Autopilot up and running within a day — and the results speak for themselves.
4,000 keywords moved to Page 1.
75,000 images were compressed automatically.
35% pages earned a faster mobile page speed.
There was an overall 5 second load time improvement.
And it’s not just Campbell’s that is seeing success.
Brands across numerous industry verticals have seen dramatic performance improvement with up to and over 65% immediate uplift.
Featured Image Credit: Kristi Kellogg
How to Warp a Gradient in Text with Photoshop
Photoshop’s Warp Text command is great for bending text into different shapes. But when you warp text that’s filled with a gradient, the gradient ignores the warp. So here’s the trick to warping text and the gradient together in Photoshop!
Written by Steve Patterson.
Have you ever filled text with a gradient in Photoshop, and then applied a warp to your text, only to find that the gradient did not warp along with the letters? In fact, no matter what shape we bend and warp text into, the gradient inside the text does not warp at all.
So how can we warp the gradient so that it matches the angles and direction of the text? In this tutorial, I’ll show you a simple trick that lets you warp your text and the gradient together!
Here’s an example of the result we’ll achieve. Notice how the angle of the gradient bends along the word to match the warping of the text:
The text and gradient warping together in Photoshop.
Let’s get started!
Download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!Which version of Photoshop do I need?
I’m using Photoshop 2023 but any recent version will work. You can get the latest Photoshop version here.Step 1: Add your text
Start by adding your text to the document. I’ve gone ahead and added some text which is currently filled with white. So to make the text visible against the white background, I’ve added a couple of layer effects.
There is a thin black stroke around the letters, and a drop shadow behind them:
Adding some text to the document, with a stroke and a drop shadow applied.
In the Layers panel, the Stroke and Drop Shadow effects are listed below the type layer:
Any effects applied to a layer are listed below it.Step 2: Add a Gradient Overlay to the text
And choose Gradient Overlay:
Choosing Gradient Overlay from the list of layer effects.Choosing a gradient
And instantly, the gradient fills the text:
Photoshop fills the text with the selected gradient.
Related: The New Gradients and Gradients Panel in PhotoshopSetting the gradient’s Angle and Style
I’ll leave the Angle of the gradient set to 90 degrees. But I’ll change the Style from Linear to Reflected:
Leaving the Angle at 90 degrees but changing the Style to Reflected.
Changing the style to Reflected moves the bright orange part of the gradient to the middle of the letters, making it easier to see that the gradient is running through the text in a straight line:
The result after changing the gradient’s style to Reflected.Closing the Layer Style dialog box
And here is the text and gradient so far:
The text filled with an orange-to-red reflected gradient.
Back in the Layers panel, the Gradient Overlay appears below the type layer, along with the Stroke and Drop Shadow effects I added earlier.
The Layers panel showing the Gradient Overlay added as an effect.How Photoshop applies layer effects
Notice that the gradient overlay appeared between the stroke and the drop shadow. That’s because Photoshop applies layer effects in a specific order. A drop shadow is always at the bottom. Then the gradient overlay is applied on top of the drop shadow, and then the stroke is applied above the gradient:
Layer effects have a specific order in which they are applied.What normally happens when we warp the text
Now that we’ve added our layer effects, including the gradient, let’s see what happens when we warp the text. One way to do that is to go up to the Type menu in the Menu Bar and choose the Warp Text command:
Choosing the Warp Text command from the Type menu.
Or if you have the Type Tool selected in the toolbar:
Selecting the Type Tool from the toolbar.Choosing a warp style preset
And choose one of the preset styles from the list. I’ll choose Arch:
Choosing Arch from the Style menu.Adjusting the Bend amount
I’ll leave the direction of the arch set to Horizontal so the text is warping upward, but I’ll lower the Bend value from 50 percent down to 30 percent:
Lowering the Bend amount to 30 percent.The gradient does not bend with the text
The gradient did not bend with the text.
Then in the Layer Style dialog box, I’ll lower the Scale of the gradient from 100 percent down to 10 percent:
Lowering the gradient’s Scale value to 10 percent.
And now we can clearly see that the gradient has no warping applied to it at all:
A better view of the problem.Undoing the Warp Text command
Then I’ll undo the text warp by going up to the Edit menu in the Menu Bar and choosing Undo Warp Text:Step 3: Convert the type layer into a smart object
So how can we make the gradient follow the same bend and warp as the text? Here’s the trick. All we need to do is convert our type layer in the Layers panel into a smart object.
But first, make sure you have applied your Gradient Overlay, along with any other layer effects, to the text before converting it to a smart object. We need the effects to be applied directly to the type layer:
Add the Gradient Overlay to the text before converting it to a smart object.
Then make sure the type layer is selected:
And choose Convert to Smart Object:
Choosing the Convert to Smart Object command.
It won’t look like anything has happened to the text itself. But in the Layers panel, we see that Photoshop has placed the type layer and its layer effects into a smart object, indicated by the smart object icon in the lower right of the thumbnail:
The icon in the thumbnail indicates a smart object.Step 4: Choose the Warp command
Now since we are no longer working with the text directly, the Warp Text icon in the Options Bar is grayed out:
The Warp Text icon is no longer available.
And so is the Warp Text command under the Type menu:
The Warp Text command is also not available.
But we can still access the same warp options by going up to the Edit menu, choosing Transform, and then Warp:Choose a warp style preset
Photoshop will place a warp grid around the text:
A warp grid appears around the text.
And all of the warp styles we saw earlier in the Warp Text dialog box can be accessed from the Warp option in the Options Bar. By default, Warp is set to Custom:
The Warp option in the Options Bar.
Choosing Arch from the Warp options.
And right away, because we converted the type layer into a smart object, we see the gradient now bending with the text:
The gradient and the text now bend together thanks to the smart object.Using the Bend handle
If I wanted to adjust the amount of bend like I did earlier in the Warp Text dialog box, I could enter a specific value into the Bend option in the Options Bar:
The Bend option is now found in the Options Bar.
But a nice feature of the Warp command is that it includes a Bend handle that you can simply drag up and down to adjust it. Here I’m dragging the handle downward to reduce the bend amount:
Drag the Bend handle to adjust the amount of bend manually.Choosing a different warp style
You can try other styles from the Warp option, like Flag:
Switching from the Arch preset shape to Flag.
And no matter which style you choose, the gradient and the text always warp together, again thanks to the fact that we converted the text into a smart object:
The result after switching the Warp style from Arch to Flag.Step 6: Commit the warp
And there we have it! Be sure to check out my other Text Effects tutorials for more creative ideas. And don’t forget, all of my tutorials are available to download as PDFs!
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