Boring, you say. Bring on the gadgetry. It’s 2017. I want to boss my watch: “Siri, unlock the front door!”
Apple fans who want to play with the company’s vision of the connected home should look at the latest generation of the August Smart Lock, which is enabled for Apple HomeKit. The August turns your smartphone into a virtual key, with an app to create more virtual keys and an activity log to track when they’re used.
August works with your existing dead bolt, replacing the inside plate and lever but leaving the outside unchanged. This is a relief compared with the not-so-sleek look of the Schlage keypad, plus it’s a nice security feature to have the hackable smarts hidden from plain view on the exterior. Installation takes just about 15 minutes with a screwdriver, and the lock secures satisfyingly into place with two wing latches that are easy to undo if you want to move the August to another door in the future. (Check to confirm your dead bolt is compatible.) You’ll have to judge the August’s aluminum bulkiness for yourself—it has four AA batteries inside along with a motor to turn and calibrate the dead bolt—but we find the industrial design, by co-founder Yves Béhar, to be handsome, like an oversize men’s watch.
The August communicates wirelessly over Bluetooth to nearby phones and can be set to lock and unlock automatically as you come and go. To remotely control the August over the Internet, you add the separate August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge (an Apple TV can also play this role). An optional keypad allows you to add entrance codes for guests who may not want to bother with the August app—think kids who don’t have smartphones yet—and a doorbell camera, both of which also work well with the slick app. You can review motion-triggered video recordings or get real-time notifications of activity. August is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Nest. Of course, with voice control come new quandaries. As of last summer, Alexa is reportedly smart enough to ignore unlocking commands, so you can’t shout through the front door, “Alexa, unlock the house!”
Add connected, Apple-friendly smarts to your existing dead bolt, replacing the inside plate and lever but leaving the exterior of the door unchanged. Great for those who don’t want the outside of the house to say gadget. Add-on accessories include Doorbell Cam, Keypad, and August Connect. An innovative upstart.