A startup hardware company is finally ready to sell its smart locks with a little help from Apple. After receiving more than 60,000 pre-orders after announcing its product in May 2013, the electronic locks from a company called August will now be available at the Apple Store and website.
The August Smart Lock operates with a smartphone Bluetooth technology, and an iOS and Android app that allows the owner to virtually open and lock their door automatically.
Those who don't feel safe giving keys to house guests, babysitters, dog walkers and the like, can track who is coming and leaving their house in a logbook featured in the app.
Owners can give three levels of access for guests who have a set of these virtual keys: always, reoccurring on set times and days, and temporary key access for a limited timeframe. Guests simply download the app, and they too can automatically unlock your front door.
"A lot of single guys and girls are like, This is perfect— a one-time key,'" says co-founder Yves Béha.
The Smart Lock uses four AA batteries that can last up to a full year before needing to be replaced. Competing with other lock gadgets, August's smart lock takes only 10 minutes to easily install. The lock fits over the existing deadbolt lock, which eliminates users having to replace their current lock and deal with complex installation and rewiring.
"There are a lot of services coming to your home now," says Béhar, who is known for designing the Jawbone UP24 and the smart lock's aluminum exterior.
In June, Apple announced HomeKit, its new platform to integrate smart technologies and its iOS system. This means HomeKit could be used to let August Smart Lock users remotely lock and unlock their doors using their iPhone or iPad.
"There are these little devices that are beautiful and magical in what they do," Silicon Valley entrepreneur and August co-founder Jason Johnson says. "As a retailer, Apple has recognized that."
Though many users are saying that the smart lock is not very useful and is perhaps only worth it for people with a disposable income. Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times states that you cannot log on to the app to check if your door is locked if you're more than few feet away from your door. This seems to be a major oversight, seeing as the "did I look my door?" question plagues most people pretty often.
The smart lock will be sold at Apple stores for a retail price of $249.