Apple Enters Thermostat Market By Offering ‘Nest’ Online
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
What happens when people leave the Apple team to start other projects? Some try to revamp old, outdated retail chains, some go on to design social networks, and some try to innovate and take over the yawn-worthy market of HVAC.
Case in point, so-called “Grandfather of the iPod” Tony Fadell, who left Apple in 2010 to work on the Nest project, a different take on the common home thermostat.
Now, it seems as if Apple will throw some business Fadell’s way as they have begun to offer the Nest thermostat via their online store.
Rumors began to surface last week that Apple would begin to sell the Nest in their brick and mortar stores.
Then, while CEO Tim Cook was on stage at the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D conference last night, the Apple store was taken offline, often a sign of new products to come. While many on Twitter hoped for new MacBooks or anything other than maintenance, the store returned 9 hours later, with the Nest thermostat included in its offerings.
As of this writing, the Nest thermostat is not easily found or given any front page real estate on the website. Unless someone is explicitly searching for a learning thermostat, it’s likely they won’t find it.
The Nest thermostat is currently selling for $249.95 on Apple.com, a markup of $0.95 from suggested retail price.
The Nest was released last October and works by learning your heating and cooling habits in order to do these tasks automatically without being set every day. The Nest also works on a Wi-Fi network, allowing it to be controlled by any iOS device, PCs and even some Android devices.
Users can adjust the scheduling of their Nest thermostat, change the temperature and even check the weather remotely, via the smartphone and web apps. Nest claims to help its users save money and conserve energy by letting the thermostat take on the task of adjusting the temperature by itself.
After news broke earlier this week about the Nest’s pending arrival at Apple retail stores, 9 to 5 Mac immediately confirmed these claims, posting a picture of what the packaged Nest will look like from a trusted source.
In February, Nest was sued by co-thermostat-maker Honeywell for patent infringement. According to the lawsuit, Honeywell said, “Many of the key features of the Nest Labs thermostat are, in fact, Honeywell inventions.”
Richard Lutton Jr., vice president at Nest fired back, saying in a statement, “Honeywell has a pattern of trying to stifle new market entrants with unfounded legal action.”
“Instead of filing lawsuits, Honeywell should use its wealth and resources to bring innovative products to market.”
The addition of Nest among the products Apple sells in their online and physical outlets is a bit odd; Though the thermostat can be controlled via iOS app, it still can’t be considered an accessory to any Mac or iOS device.