iPod Creator Turns to Building a Better Thermostat

Like the boxy mp3-players everybody hated a decade ago, the digital thermostat has long been low-hanging fruit in terms of redesign potential. Tony Fadell, the former Apple senior vice president in charge of the iPod and iPhone division, decided to snatch that fruit with the launch of his new learning thermostat, Nest. It looks and works, unsurprisingly, kind of like an iPod with a click wheel-like ring that serves as the main controller. Inside, smartphone-like guts power a set of algorithms that learn about your preferences, optimizing your home's heating and cooling performance to save energy (and the environment, Fadell hopes). You can even communicate with Nest using your smartphone, tablet or laptop as the thermostat is WiFi-equipped. For now are pretty pricey: they cost $249 each (plus another $119 to install) and the Nest's website says they'll start shipping on Nov. 14.

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