Philips Hue's smallest HomeKit bulb gets more colorful alongside big app upgrades

Philips Hue Luster bulbs in lamps
(Image credit: Signify)

Philips Hue has announced that its smallest-ever bulb now supports millions of colors and shades of white for the first time, giving HomeKit smart home fans a new way to light their homes.

Alongside the new, more colorful bulb, the announcement also confirms that the iPhone Philips Hue app is now more capable than ever, especially if you've ever wished that your different types of Hue bulbs would all show the same brightness.

That new brightness balancer feature and more will make the Philips Hue app better than ever, but not for a few months yet.

Philips Hue E14 Luster bulb

The Philips Hue E14 Luster bulb is around the size of a golf ball, making it perfectly suited to smaller lamps. Now, those lamps can also benefit from the kinds of color options that weren't previously available.

"The Philips Hue E14 luster bulb, the brand's smallest bulb, is now also available in millions of shades of white and color light to help you fill the tiniest corners in your home with the perfect light," Philips announced via an email to iMore. "About as big as a golf ball, this bulb’s size and shape fit even the smallest fixtures in your home and connects them to the comprehensive Philips Hue ecosystem."

Whether you're using that bulb or any others, a new feature that will be of benefit to iPhone users is called color balancer, and it promises to make a big difference to users of multiple types of Hue smart bulbs.

"The brightness balancer allows you to customise the relative brightness of individual lights in an Entertainment area, instead of controlling the lights as a group.," Philips' statement says. "This new feature was developed following requests from Philips Hue's users, many of whom wanted to have enhanced control of their lights while watching a movie, listening to music, or gaming." The system is designed to help those whose systems have more than one type of Hue bulb installed.

"Using the brightness balancer, you can make lights that have higher lumens dim lower than lights with lower lumens — you get to decide which part of the room gets the spotlight when you are syncing your lights to your TV, movies, games, or music."

On top of that, the app will give motion sensor owners more options for customization and automation. "Based on popular requests and feedback, the number of time slots for the motion sensors to activate the desired lighting will increase from the current two to ten."

The Philips Hue offerings are some of the best HomeKit bulbs around, and these upgrades to the Hue app are sure to be welcomed by many. The new features are expected to become available to Hue app users in the third quarter of the year.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.