Nest shows the importance of planned business models for IoT devices

There’s good news for Nest Cam IQ indoor owners today: The smart cameras now have Google Assistant capabilities built in. The feature is optional — you can enable or disable it — and there’s no additional charge for the functionality. If you choose to enable it, you now have another microphone and speaker for home control, informational queries, setting reminders, and more. I wouldn’t suggest playing music through the small speaker found in the Nest camera though.

Nest also expanded its Nest Aware subscription offering with a new five-day plan costing a dollar per day. That’s perfect for non-subscribers or folks who don’t want to pay for a monthly plan if they’re only going on vacation for a few days. Person Alerts are also new for the suite of webcams, helping to identify a person compared to some other moving object in your Activity Zones. Again, no charge for this new feature.

This news reminds me of a recurring theme that we discuss on the IoT Podcast: When it comes to IoT are you buying hardware, services or both? More often than not, the answer is the latter.

But if you bought a Nest Cam IQ, did you expect new services like Google Assistant or not? If you were promised a future service but never got it for your next IoT device, would you be upset? (You probably would and so would I.) Lastly, if you bought an IoT product and the service offerings were scaled back or changed from free to paid services, how would you feel?

All three of these examples highlight the importance of IoT companies clearly defining and communicating their business models, both internally and externally. If they don’t, they run the risk of quickly upsetting loyal customers or failing to account for their true operational costs.

Making sure the Canary is secure costs quite a bit.

Take the recent case of Canary, for example. Last October, the company removed some of its free service features from customers who bought the hardware with an understanding that they’d have such features, even without a paid service plan.

Night Mode, which captures video from motion detection at night when you’re home and presumably sleeping, went from free to paid. Video recordings were limited to just 10 seconds under the scaled down free plan. And downloading or sharing video clips was eliminated unless you decided to now pay the monthly service fee.

That’s a very different approach from the recent Nest news. Some of it very likely has to do with resources. Since Canary isn’t in the business of running cloud servers for its services, it has to pay for Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure in order to provide these capabilities. Being part of Google, Nest has “in-house” cloud services to use.

But that’s irrelevant to the people buying IoT devices: To them (and me, since I’m a Canary owner), they don’t want to feel like they’re in for a “bait and switch” when purchasing a connected home hub, sensor, webcam, door lock, or what have you. That’s why if you plan to sell any type of connected device with some type of service, you have to plan ahead early in your design process. And if you commit to a level of free services, but later have to change them, existing customers should be grandfathered in, if possible.

I’d argue that Nest has done a better job at this than most. And the Canary example is more of an outlier than the norm, thankfully.

However, I’d bet a month’s worth of my Nest Aware subscription that Nest planned for Google Assistant capabilities when designing the Nest Cam IQ before it launched last May. This way it would make sure that the hardware could handle Assistant queries and be loud enough for responses, while at the same time lining up the necessary software to hook into Google’s cloud for digital assistance.

Besides the hardware and software though, Nest surely did the math on costs for Google’s cloud. Maybe those are free or maybe they’re an internal transfer for the accountants. I suspect it’s the latter, along with analysis of how much of the cloud costs could be recouped through growing hardware sales based on new or additional features.

The point is: If you’re in the IoT device business, service planning may be the most important aspect of your product’s life-cycle. Make sure to do your homework well before the product hits the shelves and begin with the customer in mind.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Documents suggest that Apple will release two new iPad models soon

Apple new iPads 2018

Apple coverage has alternated back and forth between the iPhone and the HomePod in recent months, but it looks like another product line will soon steal the spotlight. This week, French blog Consomac spotted filings which indicate that Apple has been granted approval by the Eurasian Economic Commission for two new devices identified as A1954 and A1893. The devices are described in the filings as “tablet computers,” suggesting they are new iPads.

Although new iPads with Face ID functionality are rumored to arrive before the end of the year, there’s a good chance that the devices referred to in these documents are far less exciting. As 9to5Mac explains, all signs point to the “tablet computers” being mundane refreshes of the standard iPad line, rather than brand new iPad Pros.

When it comes to Apple products, filings often turn up days or weeks prior to the actual unveiling of the devices. For example, mentions of the iPhone 7 and AirPods appeared just two weeks before the keynote in 2016. Plus, the latest MacBooks were discovered in the EEC database in May before making their debut at WWDC in June.

If the trend continues, the new iPads would be revealed within the next several weeks, which would be months before either WWDC 2018 or the inevitable iPhone event this fall. Consomac believes that this is a sign that Apple will hold a special press event in March to show off the new tablets, but it seems far more likely that Apple will simply roll out the refreshed iPad models without any fanfare, as it has on multiple occasions in the past.

In the end, this is all speculation based off of vague filings, but don’t be surprised if a couple of updated iPad models quietly find their way on to Apple’s online store within the next month or so, perhaps with lower price tags.

Apple – BGR

Apple international regulatory filings hint that two new iPad models are imminent

Article Image

Apple has obtained permission to sell two new iPads in several Eurasian countries, suggesting that the company is planning to announce them in the near future.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Apple is now selling certified refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 models for $50 off

Apple Watch Series 3 refurbished

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to pick up the latest Apple Watch (and would prefer to save a few dollars in the process), you should check out Apple’s updated list of refurbished products. Spotted by 9to5Toys on Wednesday, two Apple Watch Series 3 models have been added to Apple’s list of certified refurbished devices.

The first of the two refurbished watches is the 38mm Gold Aluminum Case with Pink Sand Sport Band, which sells for $ 279.00 ($ 50 off the price of a new Apple Watch). The second Apple Watch is the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band, which will run you $ 309.00 (also $ 50 off the suggested retail price).

The only downside is that both refurbished watches are GPS-only models. If you want an LTE-capable Apple Watch, you’ll have to look elsewhere or buy new. That said, if you don’t care about making phone calls on your Apple Watch, picking up a refurbished model and saving $ 50 seems like a no-brainer.

On the store page for the discounted models, Apple notes that all of its refurbished products are tested, certified and include a one-year warranty. All refurbished models come with a magnetic charging cable and a new white box too, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything by buying used. Finally, as with all of Apple’s refurbished products, supply is limited, so there’s no telling how long these models will be available for purchase.

Apple – BGR

Apple Now Selling Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 Models

Apple today updated its online store for refurbished products in the United States to add a selection of Apple Watch Series 3 models, marking the first time Apple’s newest wrist-worn device has been available from the refurbished store since its September 2017 release.

As of the writing of this article, there are two refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 GPS-only models available at a $50 discount, which equates to 13 to 15 percent off of the regular price. No LTE models or models with stainless steel or ceramic cases are available at this time.


A 38mm Gold Aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 with Pink Sand Sport Band is available for $279, down from $329, and Apple also has a 42mm Space Gray Aluminum model with Black Sport Band available for $309, down from $359.

The Apple Watch Series 3, first introduced last September alongside new iPhones, is the first Apple Watch model to offer an option for LTE connectivity. Compared to earlier Apple Watch versions, the Series 3 also comes equipped with a faster dual-core S3 processor and an Apple-designed W2 chip for 85 percent faster Wi-Fi

Apple Watch Series 3 refurbished stock is limited at this time, but Apple refreshes available units on a regular basis, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the refurbished store if you’re looking for a discount on a particular model.

All of Apple’s refurbished products go through a rigorous refurbishment process before being offered for sale, which includes inspection, repairs, cleaning, and repackaging. Refurbished Apple Watch models come with a one-year warranty that can be extended with an AppleCare+ purchase.

For tips on purchasing a refurbished product, make sure to check out our guide.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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