HomeKit-enabled, WiFi-connected iLuv Rainbow8 bulbs now available

Don't know if we blame it on supply or demand, but there's already a one to two month wait over on Amazon.

Underneath the Lights section on Apple's new HomeKit page several bulbs claim to be coming soon. The iLuv Rainbow8 bulb just beat the others to the punch. The Rainbow8 is a WiFi-connected, HomeKit-enabled bulb that's a lot like the Philips Hue White and Color bulb.

See at Amazon

You keep saying WiFi-connected. Why is that important?

One of the things that sets this bulb apart (and one of the things iLuv keeps mentioning in its promotional copy) is its WiFi connectivity. Most smart bulbs use either Bluetooth LE or a bridge to send and receive communications. When you issue a command to your Philips Hue bulbs, you're actually issuing a command to the Philips Hue bridge. The bridge then tells the bulbs what they need to do. For Bluetooth LE, you're using a potentially less-reliable Bluetooth connection to control your bulbs — WiFi seems to handle interference and distance far better than Bluetooth LE.

OK, gimme the specs!

The iLuv Rainbow8 bulb is a 60W equivalent lightbulb — that means you're looking at a light output of 800 Lumens. And, just like any other LED bulb, you can count on upwards of 20,000 hours of bulb life. The bulbs can dim and change color. iLuv says there are more than 16 million possible colors to choose from.

And cost?

The Rainbow8 bulb costs $49.99. That's comparable to a Philips Hue White and Color bulb, but there's something important to consider in comparing prices: A single Philips Hue White and Color bulb costs $49.99 but you still have to buy the Philips Hue bridge to control said light. When you buy the $49.99 Rainbow8 bulb, that's all you need to buy — it's one complete package — bulb and connectivity — per bulb.

Got it. Anything else I should know?

I'm kind of in love with iLuv's method for communicating status. Here are a couple status messages and the way they're communicated with bulb colors:

  • Searching for WiFi network: pulsating white color
  • Reset WiFi router info: flashing five colors (red, yellow, green, blue and purple) then change to white color
  • OTA firmware upgrade success: flashing green color
  • OTA firmware upgrade failed: flashing red color

So what do you think?

Do you prefer the hub-based Philips Hue bulbs? Are you all-in on Bluetooth LE? Do iLuv's WiFi-connected bulbs excite you? Let us know in the comments!

Mikah Sargent

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.