Father of the iPod reinvents the thermostat

The creator of the iPod has developed a new must-have gadget, a – wait for it – thermostat.

Nest Labs, headed by Tony Fadell, is launching a device that remembers your usage patterns, knows whether you’re in or out, and even responds to weather forecasts.

The aim is to make programming the heating much easier and more intuitive – and speaking as somebody who’s still living with the previous homeowner’s settings, this can only be a good idea.

The Learning Thermostat is a simple, round dial with a little LCD screen, meaning the temperature can be adjusted by twisting it or by using the on-screen menus.

If you don’t fancy programming it, it can track the changes you’ve made manually all week, and echo those in the future. It’ll ignore one-off changes, but if you adjust it two days in a row, it’ll remember and alter its programming accordingly.

And because it connects to a home Wifi network, it can be controlled remotely through a phone, tablet or computer.

“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,” says Fadell.

“And we started from scratch with design, so it’s beautiful. Gorgeous hardware, easy install, fully integrated software, remote control from your smartphone.”

Fadell claims that it can deliver significant energy savings – an average of $173 from an average $2,200 annual bill. It will go on sale next month – and it’s easy to install yourself, says the company – for $249.