The week in smart home: HomePod 2 rumored for 2019 reveal

All the rumors and smaller stories from the week

HomePod 2 rumored for 2019 reveal

Here we are then: back for another look at the recent going-ons in the world of the smart home. The last seven days have seen their ups and downs. It was a week where we remembered that the smart home is vulnerable, with a disturbing story revealing how connected devices have become tools of abuse. Google Home users were also thrown into a 24-hour blackout, giving rise to chaos as millions of people suddenly had no idea how they used to check the weather forecast.

But there was plenty of good news too. Honeywell's home security system went up for pre-order, Google Assistant learned to speak Spanish, Alexa got better on phones and tablets, and there was good news for the smart apartment.

But what of the smaller stories from the week? Let's take a look.


The week in smart home:

The HomePod 2 - here's everything we don't know

Bloomberg dropped the Apple leak motherlode this week, and while new AirPods and over-ear headphones were the main event, there was also talk of a HomePod 2. According to the report, Apple is working on a new version for the speaker that could come as early as 2019. It may also turn away from Inventec and to a new supplier for the new model. Sadly that's all we know, but if all of this is to be believed then Apple is about to get more serious about its audio strategy.


The week in smart home:

New Wi-Fi update will make you harder to hack

This week the Wi-Fi Alliance announce the new WPA3 security upgrade, the first big update to the security standard in over a decade. WPA2, which was introduced in 2004, has got very long in the tooth. WPA3 makes it harder for hackers who are making multiple attempts to guess your password - one attempt and the data will become useless to them. There's also a protection that stops hackers accessing older data, should they manage to access any information being transmitted. There's a special business-focused version too, with some different improvements.

Of course, a new standard means devices need to support it, so you'll (hopefully) see existing devices updated to support WPA3, but in some cases you may need to get new WPA-3 compliant hardware to take advantage of the new protections. This will take place over a matter of months and years, so it'll be a slow-moving process.


The week in smart home:

August opens door for better Airbnb convenience

If you've ever used Airbnb, you'll know that actually getting entry to your temporary home is where things are most likely to go wrong. August is hoping to help solve this problem by teaming up with Airbnb to send guests a code over email and through the app. Then, you'd just need to enter the code when you get to the property. Obviously in this scenario the place you're staying will have an August smart lock, and the code will expire after a set amount of time for safety reasons.

August is already a member of the Airbnb Host Assist program, so we expect we'll see this all rolling out pretty fast.


The week in smart home:

Google apologizes for outage in mass email

Following the Great Google Home Blackout of 2018, the company sent an email to all its Home users to apologize for the glitch. The note, which came from Google Home lead Rishi Chandra, read as follows:

"You may have noticed a problem with yourGoogle Home yesterday morning. We found a glitch with one of our backend systems and spent the day working hard to get everyone back up and running. It's frustrating when technology doesn't work the way it should, especially when you're depending on it. We're sorry that this happened."


Top smart home deals

Every week we scour the web for the best smart home deals – check out our pick of this week's biggest bargains below.

Deals of the Week

Echo Look - Save $80
Echo Look - Save $80
Amazon
$119.99
Kwikset Kevo smart lock (2nd Gen) - Save $30
Kwikset Kevo smart lock (2nd Gen) - Save $30
Best Buy
$199.99
Arlo Pro 2 security cam - Includes free Echo Spot
Arlo Pro 2 security cam - Includes free Echo Spot
Best Buy
$$249.99
Philips Hue white and color LightStrip - Save 20%
Philips Hue white and color LightStrip - Save 20%
Amazon
$$71.99

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