A year-and-a-half after it was first set to go on sale, the August Smart Lock is now on the market and available through Apple Stores. The smartphone-controlled home lock is the startup company's first foray into its larger smart-home development goals.
Priced at $249.99, the August Smart Lock is available at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores across the U.S. starting Tuesday. It will also be available through Apple's online store sometime this week.
August was co-founded by Swiss designer Yves Béhar -- who has helped create, among other things, the wearable Jawbone technology and the One Laptop per Child XO computer -- and entrepreneur Jason Johnson, who is also a managing partner of the startup incubator Founders Den and chairman of the Internet of Things Consortium. Based in San Francisco, August is backed by more than $10 million in venture capital funding.
Integrating with Smart-Home Hubs
We reached out to August to learn more about what changes have been made to the smart lock since it was first announced in May 2013.
A spokesperson for the company said the smart lock now includes two new features: EverLock, which automatically locks a home door when the user leaves, and Auto-Unlock, which senses a user's approach and automatically unlocks a door without the need to take out a smartphone.
August is also working to make the smart lock compatible with Apple's HomeKit, a framework for smart-home device connectivity. August announced that work with Apple this past summer, and has since expanded the partnership to include the sale of smart locks through Apple's online and offline stores.
The spokesperson added that August is also working to integrate its smart lock technology with a few other smart-home-related hubs.
Not Yet Remotely Operated
For now, however, the August Smart Lock relies on Bluetooth technology for its operations, which means a smartphone user needs to be within a few feet of the device to lock or unlock it. Consequently, it doesn't yet offer the full smart-home experience that would enable a user to, for example, remotely check whether a door is locked or send a command to lock a door from a distance.
August's founders describe the smart lock as a "safe, simple and social way to manage your home's lock." Users with Android or iOS smartphones can send out invites and specify when and how often others have access to their home. The technology also keeps a log of who has accessed a home, when, and for how long.
Rather than replacing a traditional door lock, the August Smart Lock is attached to a door's deadbolt and can be installed in 10 minutes or less, according to the company. The device uses four AA batteries that need to be replaced about once a year.
If the batteries run out or if the user loses his or her phone, the door can still be unlocked using the standard key lock.
"August is an important step towards the invisible home interface; the way we come and go becomes a seamless process," Béhar said.
Posted: 2014-10-20 @ 7:52pm PT
Any new fangled "Smart Lock" should at least be able to fit on the door. Apartments, condos, and other multi-family dwellings often have a "keyless deadbolt", in addition to the regular deadbolt mounted on the door. A keyless deadbolt is typically mounted 4 to 5 inches above the existing deadbolt, and only appears as a "thumb-turn" on the inside of the door. There is no place to put a key when you are looking at the door from the outside. In fact, the State of Texas re-wrote the Property Code and made it mandatory for all landlords to install these. Finally -- if your apartment door has a keyless deadbolt, there is no physical space to mount the interior portion of just about all smart locks. My front door's deadbolt locks and unlocks from 80 feet away, and uses a key fob with encrypted RFID -- just like garage door openers and automotive key fobs have for decades. Don't spend over $50.
Posted: 2014-10-15 @ 12:19pm PT
And then the vicious dog you have eats them alive and you're sued even though they broke into your home :)
Posted: 2014-10-15 @ 9:36am PT
Who would trust a company as unscrupulous as August? They left thousands of pre orders dangle for more then a year, claimed to have started shipping just this August but no one has received anything and then went for a money grab with the Apple retail channel. Trust them with my front door? Never!
Posted: 2014-10-15 @ 5:18am PT
Agree with @matchu.
Those complaining of a "complete fail" like @jim simply have unrealistic expectations.
Like everything Apple is involved with, expect convenience first. Often there is a trade-off between convenience and security and this gadget is all about convenience.
What is the point of Fort-Knox grade security at the door if a brick thrown at a window is enough to break in?
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 5:52pm PT
This is a complete fail! Even if it was free -- complete garbage.
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 1:31pm PT
just a thought:
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 12:53pm PT
This has a keyhole so it suffers from the same flaws as a deadbolt, this is just a simple way to walk in and out for the homeowner, no real increased or decreased security.
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 12:38pm PT
@alabi2k-deadbolts or locks in general were probably one of the first devices to get hacked. Today it's known as picking.
@no thanks-ever hear of losing your keys?
Thanks for the good laugh guys!
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 12:28pm PT
"Hurry, unlock the door, I need to go bad. Where's the phone?"
"Ummm . . . inside on the kitchen table."
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 12:13pm PT
It's worth pointing out that there are already a number of products on the market that can do this and more. I just installed myself one last week for $160. I guess this is news because Apple is selling it in its store. But the argument that someone could use your phone to open your door also has always applied to your keys. At least with a smartphone people aren't likely to know they can use it to gain access to your home.
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 12:01pm PT
How is this better than the Kwikset Zwave lock set? At least the Kwikset Zwave lock set is compatible with home automation. And, hey, I can unlock the door from anywhere.
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 11:59am PT
Good old fashioned manual deadbolts can't be hacked. Who needs this?
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 11:58am PT
I think this is a good step towards something we'll see in many homes over the next 20+ years. As with other products that can be manipulated from our phones, security will be a constant issue but I don't take seriously the concern about lost phones. The same could be said about lost keys but standard locks seem to have worked well enough for several hundred years and they don't have passcodes to keep others from using them.
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 11:42am PT
An expensive and virtually useless product with so many obvious problematic shortcomings that it belongs in an Apple store.
Posted: 2014-10-14 @ 11:29am PT
So... someone steals your phone (or you simply lose it and someone finds it), figures out where you live and is able to walk right into your house, Or some jerk at work takes it from the charger on your desk, rushes over to your place while you're in a long meeting, then snoops around and/or sets up a practical joke inside your home.