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  • Former Apple Employees Develop New Smart Thermostat
Technology Articles > Computers > Apple > Former Apple Employees Develop New Smart Thermostat

It can be a difficult task to try and wrap our heads around the degree of innovation Apple products have brought to daily life. Obviously, the impact changes from person to person, but there is no denying that smart phones and similar devices developed and perfected at Apple have changed the way we interact with the world. Some of the great minds at Apple have moved on from the world of smart phones and PCs, and applied their skill set to environmental concerns.

When most people think of a great mind at Apple, they think of the late CEO, Steve Jobs. There is no questioning the impact Jobs' mind had on the company and the development of its revolutionary devices, but he obviously wasn't alone in developing these innovative products. Tony Fadell was an Apple executive who led the development team for the iPod and iPhone devices from 2001 to 2009. Fadell's interests shifted over time from high-tech, if not revolutionary, toys, such as the iPod, to the limited resources of our planet Earth.

After spending some time studying green technologies, while building a home for his family in Lake Tahoe, California, he was particularly intrigued with the quite out-dated thermostat technology. Fadell noted the thermostat's poor design, which is responsible for wasted energy, and began working on ideas for this household device, which hasn't seen innovation in decades. After some time developing the ideas on his own, Tony Fadell eventually pitched his idea for a modern, ecofriendly thermostat to Matt Rogers.

At the time, Rogers was an Apple employee, leading a team of some 30 engineers in the iPod department. Fadell and Rogers first discussed the idea in October of 2009, and by May of 2010, they had founded Nest Labs together.

Nest Labs is based in Palo Alto, California, and has plans to launch the $249 modern thermostat next month. According to sources who've tested the product, it meets the high expectations one would associate with a thermostat designed by former iPod developers. It is stylishly designed with impressive technological capabilities.

For example, this thermostat has motion sensors which can detect whether or not people are in a given room, and can adjust the temperature accordingly. The device is promising to bring the thermostat into the 21st Century, but time will tell if it's affective.

Nest Labs isn't the first company to identify problems with the modern thermostat. There are already a few similar products on the market, but they have yet to catch on. Hopefully, the former Apple leaders will be able to bring their marketing savvy and appeal to consumers in a way that the previous competition hasn't been able to. Heating and cooling homes accounts for more than 10 percent of the total energy consumption in America.

A difference of one degree in temperature can add up to five percent energy savings. That means that a difference of only four degrees in temperature, could save families up to 20 percent in energy costs. If the green thermostat catches on, it could mean a huge difference in energy consumption.