After the iPod, ex-Apple engineers built world's coolest thermostat

Apple, Google workers build smartphone controlled, WiFi enabled thermostat

So what do you do after you've helped build the IPod? Build wicked cool thermostats of course.

That's what ex- Apple engineer Tony Fadell, who is now the founder and CEO of Nest, which this week rolled out its Learning Thermostat.  Fadell is considered the creator of the iPod.

The $249 Nest Learning Thermostat looks and acts different from your basic small white or beige plastic box hanging on most walls.  It is round and made of brushed stainless steel that uses an iPod-like control wheel for manual setting.  But the real difference is its smarts and ability to be controlled via an iPhone or Android device via WiFi.

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According to Fadell, the thermostat "learns" your daily routine via a machine learning program and can adjust itself based on your  preferred temperatures and schedule.   It can for example sense when you come home and push up the A/C or heat  for example. And it can give you tips and feedback on your energy use.

From Fadell's blog: "Turns out you change the temperature in your house 1500 times a year. 1500! Our thermostat learns what temperatures you like so it can program itself. It senses when you're out and turns itself down.  As much as the refrigerator, lighting, TVs, computers, and stereos combined. In fact, 10% of all U.S. energy is controlled by thermostats. That's the equivalent of 1.7 billion barrels of oil per year. Everyone's thinking green, switching their light bulbs, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to what your thermostat could save. And when you realize that over 10 million thermostats are sold each year in the US alone..."

The device is expected to be available by the end of the year.  Preorders are being taken on the firm's website and Best Buy.

According to the San Jose Mercury News: At Apple Fadell led the teams that developed the first generations of the iPod and iPhone, and is generally credited with the idea of linking a digital music player with an online music store -- the concept that became Apple's iPod and iTunes. Matt Rogers, Nest's other co-founder, oversaw iPod software development from concept to production. The Nest team also includes Yoky Matsuoka, the vice president of technology, a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient who was formerly Google's head of innovation.

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