Tony Fadell didn’t invent the iPod by himself, but he played a major part in its creation. However, since leaving Apple in 2008 he has moved on to the next great invention. It is called the Nest Learning Thermostat.
But not just a thermostat–the iPod of thermostats: a device so desirable and intuitive that it’ll turn home energy management into a must-have symbol of sustainable living. Fadell told Co.Design he intends the Nest Learning Thermostat, which will retail for $249.99 starting in November, to be “a jewel on the wall… most people try to hide the thermostat, but we’re trying to make it sexy and coveted so that you cherish it, and at parties people ask you about it and you’re proud of it.”
The Nest thermostat actually is iPod-like: The display and primary interaction are instantly intuitive and physically irresistible. To adjust the temperature, turn a ring on the rim of the device–if you’re making it cooler, the display turns blue, and if you’re making it warmer, it turns red. The temperature itself is displayed in a clear, bright numeric readout–no more squinting at tick marks on a dusty dial. There’s also a little green leaf that appears on the screen to guide to you into tweaking your settings for optimal energy savings. And Fadell, no stranger to the importance of a good “unboxing” experience, even went so far as to include a high-quality, custom branded screwdriver with every unit. “When you take it out of the box you want it to be easy to install,” Fadell says. “Apple taught me not to cut corners, and that you don’t give up on user experience–ever.”