'C by GE' Smart LED Light Bulbs Will Support HomeKit This Summer

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GE today announced that its connected LED light bulbs C-Life and C-Sleep will gain Apple HomeKit compatibility this summer.


A new C-Reach hub with HomeKit support will allow homeowners to turn on and off their "C by GE" lights, dim them, and control bulbs individually or in groups by rooms with Siri voice commands. The lights also should be able to be controlled with the Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later.

GE said the C-Reach hub will sell for less than $50 and will be available at a discount when bundled with some lights, according to The Verge.

GE describes the C-Life as an "everyday" light bulb that provides "optimal daytime light," while the C-Sleep light bulb is supposedly "warm and calm at night" and "crisp and vibrant in the morning." A starter pack with two C-Life and two C-Sleep light bulbs is available for $74.99 plus shipping in the United States.

Article Link: 'C by GE' Smart LED Light Bulbs Will Support HomeKit This Summer
 

macsplusmacs

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Nov 23, 2014
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....right....

bought at launch a long time ago, cause they said HomeKit support would be here shortly. Shortly did not happen.Then after a bad sync. 2 would not work at all. they could not be seen by app.

GE tech support stop responding after two emails.

fool me once GE, shame on me. fool me twice...

Phillips Hues has a line of white bulbs for $15 each. No reason to go with CE brand which promised HomeKit a long time and is only now going to deliver on that "promise" maybe. They don't have the experience and support of Phillips.
 
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SkippyThorson

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Jul 22, 2007
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GE goes over the head and right around their former Wink partner with this one; interesting. Even with the starter kit. The former Link bulbs and Link hub starter kit was $49. Then you could step up to the full Wink hub if you wanted. This bypasses it entirely. Huh.
 

rgunther

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May 4, 2017
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GE goes over the head and right around their former Wink partner with this one; interesting. Even with the starter kit. The former Link bulbs and Link hub starter kit was $49. Then you could step up to the full Wink hub if you wanted. This bypasses it entirely. Huh.
I wouldn't expect to see much more Wink stuff from GE. I suspect that relationship largely fizzled after Quirky's demise.
 

oneMadRssn

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Sep 8, 2011
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What I find fascinating about the whole light bulb market historically (talk a snooze-fest topic, but bear with me) is how it has evolved from a throw-away commodity to proper consumer electronic that people actually care about and research and shot for.

Before, especially in the incandescent days, you would just buy a big box of whatever brand is on sale for the lowest price. This was partially because the light bulb makers all got together and chose to make light bulbs not last very long, but also to make them very cheap. Yes, there was a light bulb cartel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebus_cartel

Now with LEDs, they last for nearly the length of a mortgage, can be had with all sorts of nifty automation features, color spectrum, and other value-added gimmicks. They're also not so cheap. Now people cross-shop brands, compare features, and really research this stuff.

10 years ago if someone asked me what brand of light bulb I prefer, I would look at them funny. Today, a conversation cab had.
 
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rdogg125

macrumors newbie
Feb 15, 2017
7
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....right....

bought at launch a long time ago, cause they said HomeKit support would be here shortly. Shortly did not happen.Then after a bad sync. 2 would not work at all. they could not be seen by app.

GE tech support stop responding after two emails.

fool me once GE, shame on me. fool me twice...

Phillips Hues has a line of white bulbs for $15 each. No reason to go with CE brand which promised HomeKit a long time and is only now going to deliver on that "promise" maybe. They don't have the experience and support of Phillips.
What do you mean companies that "promise" homekit support but have still yet to deliver? Oh... You mean like Ring, Canary, Dlink, Chamberlain... I could go on and on.. I'm happy with my hue bulbs, which actually replaced my GE Link bulbs that didn't work half the time...
 
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ignatius345

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The main thing holding me back from these things, as with every "connected" bulb I can find -- is that they're all around 800 lumens. That's weak, like a dim old 60 watt bulb.

I'm lighting our living room right now with a lamp that has two 1600-lumen dimmable LEDs. They tend to "warm" color as they're dimmed, which is nice. Late at night, we dial it back pretty far, but if we want the light in that room on a cloudy day or whatever, it's there.

I love the idea of being able to adjust color temperature between day and night (F.lux for the home, if you will), but I can't afford to drop FOUR dim smart bulbs into a lamp fixture just to light up a room decently.
 

tigres

macrumors 601
I bought into the Wink, some time ago. Have about 10 bulbs, 2 nest, I schalage lock and a lutron dimmer. I have to say at the beginning it was a little wonky- but over the last two years it has been actually great.

I have all timers that work every day, all day. I can remote into my lock and add or remove codes, unlock and lock the doors- etc.

I like Wink personally. Still on the Gen 1 hub too, not sure why I would fix what is not broke going to Hub 2.
 
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SkippyThorson

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I wouldn't expect to see much more Wink stuff from GE. I suspect that relationship largely fizzled after Quirky's demise.
Unfortunately, I would agree. Wink is now, thankfully, its own entity. Quirky is still out there... Doing something...

I bought into the Wink, some time ago. Have about 10 bulbs, 2 nest, I schalage lock and a lutron dimmer. I have to say at the beginning it was a little wonky- but over the last two years it has been actually great.

I have all timers that work every day, all day. I can remote into my lock and add or remove codes, unlock and lock the doors- etc.

I like Wink personally. Still on the Gen 1 hub too, not sure why I would fix what is not broke going to Hub 2.
I am in love with my little Wink ecosystem. Since going from the tiny Link hub (in the original starter kit) to the Wink Hub 1, life couldn't be better. I also have schedules for my lights each day, and I have a switch on an old dumb air conditioner to turn it off while we're away.

Interesting note - the firmware of each bulb itself was updated when the Wink Hub joined the party. The Link Hub did nothing but control them. That was odd. Wonder how few people knew about that.

The Wink Hub is fantastic. I agree as well - the gen 2 hub is wired; why would I upgrade from my wireless gen 1 when it works just fine? I'm sticking by it for a while!
 

MrX8503

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Sep 19, 2010
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What a bunch of marketing fluff.

I had to read it a few times to come to the conclusion that the Life bulb is daylight only and Sleep is soft white only. To maintain a normal circadian rhythm, having bulbs that does all temperatures of white is essential.

I bought into the Hue system recently and I feel much better after having the right light temperature to wake me up and to put me to sleep. Philips also sells semi smart bulbs that change color temperature by quickly flipping the light switch. At $6 a piece it was a cheap effective alternative as filler bulbs.

Philips has a proven track record of HomeKit support, so I went with them after doing some research.

The main thing holding me back from these things, as with every "connected" bulb I can find -- is that they're all around 800 lumens. That's weak, like a dim old 60 watt bulb.

I'm lighting our living room right now with a lamp that has two 1600-lumen dimmable LEDs. They tend to "warm" color as they're dimmed, which is nice. Late at night, we dial it back pretty far, but if we want the light in that room on a cloudy day or whatever, it's there.

I love the idea of being able to adjust color temperature between day and night (F.lux for the home, if you will), but I can't afford to drop FOUR dim smart bulbs into a lamp fixture just to light up a room decently.
I think the limitation is due to heat.
 
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ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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I think the limitation is due to heat.
I guess. I mean, there are decently bright 1600 lumen LEDs out there, though, so it sure would be nice if they could beef up the output on some of these Hue bulbs and the like. Maybe the added heat makes it harder to engineer the "smart" components into the bulb without them getting cooked. The cynical take on all this is that by keeping the bulbs dim, you have to buy more of them...

Philips also sells semi smart bulbs that change color temperature by quickly flipping the light switch. At $6 a piece it was a cheap effective alternative as filler bulbs.
Saw those too and was intrigued. The dimmable ones I'm using (Philips as well) get a bit warmer temperature-wise as they get dimmer. I'd love more range between warm and cool there, but it's not bad, and they're $12 each and at 1600 lumens, quite decently bright.

I bought into the Hue system recently and I feel much better after having the right light temperature to wake me up and to put me to sleep.
At the risk of this turning into one big Philips ad, I've been using one of their dedicated bedside wakeup lamps for a few years now. It brightens over the course of maybe 20 minutes, and at the top end really lights up the room. It's not a bad way to wake up. The user interface is not very intuitive, but otherwise it's excellent.
 
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MrX8503

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I guess. I mean, there are decently bright 1600 lumen LEDs out there, though, so it sure would be nice if they could beef up the output on some of these Hue bulbs and the like. Maybe the added heat makes it harder to engineer the "smart" components into the bulb without them getting cooked. The cynical take on all this is that by keeping the bulbs dim, you have to buy more of them...
Most certainly. If you've ever held a hue bulb, it's considerably heavier than a regular LED bulb. I'm sure it's jam packed with components, which doesn't leave much room for cooling.

At the risk of this turning into one big Philips ad, I've been using one of their dedicated bedside wakeup lamps for a few years now. It brightens over the course of maybe 20 minutes, and at the top end really lights up the room. It's not a bad way to wake up. The user interface is not very intuitive, but otherwise it's excellent.
Interesting, I had no idea Philips had such a product. I'll have to check it out. Currently I use a Philips light strip behind the headboard for waking up and going to bed.
 

nutmac

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Mar 30, 2004
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$74.99 for 4 light bulbs that does not require a hub is pretty darn good (Hue starter includes only 2 for $69.99).

On the other hand, I am skeptical that Bluetooth is a suitable wireless radio for light bulbs. The range is only 50 feet maximum, so controlling them remotely via single Apple TV would be challenging to setup in many homes. GE is working with other vendors to build a hub for them, but I don't really want to purchase and place hubs every 40 sq. ft. or so to get coverage.

Philips Hue uses ZigBee. Spec allows 300 ft. maximum but Hue itself has 100 ft. range, allowing much greater flexibility.

And finally, GE should've just made a single model. Their FAQ states:

C-Life: Optimal daytime light which is clear and clean
  • 11 Watts
  • 800 Lumens
  • 2700 Kelvin
  • Life: 22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
C-Sleep: Sync with your sleep cycle (3 settings for: nighttime, morning, and in between) with automatic transition that goes between calm light in the evening and vibrant light in the morning
  • 11 Watts
  • 730 Lumens
  • Varying Kelvin
  • Life: 22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
 

MrX8503

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Sep 19, 2010
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$74.99 for 4 light bulbs that does not require a hub is pretty darn good (Hue starter includes only 2 for $69.99).

On the other hand, I am skeptical that Bluetooth is a suitable wireless radio for light bulbs. The range is only 50 feet maximum, so controlling them remotely via single Apple TV would be challenging to setup in many homes. GE is working with other vendors to build a hub for them, but I don't really want to purchase and place hubs every 40 sq. ft. or so to get coverage.

Philips Hue uses ZigBee. Spec allows 300 ft. maximum but Hue itself has 100 ft. range, allowing much greater flexibility.

And finally, GE should've just made a single model. Their FAQ states:

C-Life: Optimal daytime light which is clear and clean
  • 11 Watts
  • 800 Lumens
  • 2700 Kelvin
  • Life: 22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
C-Sleep: Sync with your sleep cycle (3 settings for: nighttime, morning, and in between) with automatic transition that goes between calm light in the evening and vibrant light in the morning
  • 11 Watts
  • 730 Lumens
  • Varying Kelvin
  • Life: 22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
I believe the Hue starter does all color temperatures though.

I used to be against hubs, but now I'm ok with it because of the range and reliability it provides.
 
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2457248

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personally, with ikea selling LEDs at 2.5 to 8 bucks a piece, depending on lumens, i find it hard to justify such high prices. i have some and they aren't even that bad (compared to the crappy energy saving bulbs they used to sell, i'm impressed).
i'd like sone dimmable lights in some locations though, and they aren't.

also, isn't this whole hub thing a bit overcomplicated for the average joe? i'm not talking about enthusiasts of course.
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

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Jul 10, 2008
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The idea (and requirement) to be HomeKit is that it shouldn't require a hub (other than an Apple device). Having to buy their hub in addition to having an AppleTV really defeats the convenience. A hub for your lights, a hub for your security system, a hub for your hub for your hub....
 

Take Flight

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May 18, 2011
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The idea (and requirement) to be HomeKit is that it shouldn't require a hub (other than an Apple device). Having to buy their hub in addition to having an AppleTV really defeats the convenience. A hub for your lights, a hub for your security system, a hub for your hub for your hub....
I don't really see the benefit of these smart bulbs if they are still at the mercy of a 'dumb' switch on the wall. A smart switch that can be controlled manually at the source or remotely makes much more sense.

I can see the draw for some of the smart color changing lights if you have that need, but for pure on/off home automation needs, it seems clunky to make the individual bulb the point of contact.
 

RMo

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Aug 7, 2007
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And finally, GE should've just made a single model. Their FAQ states:

C-Life: Optimal daytime light which is clear and clean
  • 11 Watts
  • 800 Lumens
  • 2700 Kelvin
  • Life: 22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
C-Sleep: Sync with your sleep cycle (3 settings for: nighttime, morning, and in between) with automatic transition that goes between calm light in the evening and vibrant light in the morning
  • 11 Watts
  • 730 Lumens
  • Varying Kelvin
  • Life: 22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
Why is that? The C-Sleep is dimmer than the C-Life, presumably due to the fact that the C-Sleep needs more types of LEDs inside to produce the varying color temperatures (and is probably a bit more expensive to make, regardless of what they actually charge). Philips, for example, has a few Hue products (White, White Ambiance, and White and Color) with tradeoffs between cost, brightness, and color capability between all three. GE is presumably doing the same here. Some day the technology will hopefully advance enough where one product can reasonably meet all of these criteria, but as of now a C-Sleep looks like it would be too dim to illumuminate a room well on its own; the C-Life appears to be more or less a 60 W equivalent and up to this task.
 

jlc1978

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Aug 14, 2009
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One area I've found interesting is incorporating bluetooth speakers into the bulbs. While audiophiles will recoil in horror, the ability to extend audio and other apps easily by changing a lightbulb could prove useful. For example, floods in a rec room could become speakers connected to a stereo or add surround sound for a TV.
 

splogue

macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2008
306
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Cary, NC
What a bunch of marketing fluff.

I had to read it a few times to come to the conclusion that the Life bulb is daylight only and Sleep is soft white only. To maintain a normal circadian rhythm, having bulbs that does all temperatures of white is essential.

I bought into the Hue system recently and I feel much better after having the right light temperature to wake me up and to put me to sleep. Philips also sells semi smart bulbs that change color temperature by quickly flipping the light switch. At $6 a piece it was a cheap effective alternative as filler bulbs.

Philips has a proven track record of HomeKit support, so I went with them after doing some research.



I think the limitation is due to heat.
The Life bulb is a medium-warm unit that can be programmed to turn off and on through a schedule set by the app.

The Sleep bulb has three different color temperatures. Very warm, medium warm, and daylight. It can also be set to turn off and on, but is also set to change from daylight, medium-warm, to very warm at different times through the day. It is intended for use in a bedroom, to promote the circadian rhythm you mentioned.

I was going to poke fun at the fact that you read it several times and still didn't get all this, but it isn't obvious if you don't actually own the bulbs, which I do. It is difficult, even under the best of circumstances, to sell a product that requires explanation. They have an uphill fight with this product, to be sure.

I will add that the vast majority of bulbs in my smart home are Philips Hue, with a few accent lamps sporting the GE Life bulbs. I like that they work on their own, without a hub, but they are clearly the exceptions to the rule.

I'm also somewhat surprised that GE is making big announcements around their lighting given that they've put that entire division up for sale. I would personally hold off investing in any of these until that matter is settled.

Sean
[doublepost=1493934773][/doublepost]
I bought into the Wink, some time ago. Have about 10 bulbs, 2 nest, I schalage lock and a lutron dimmer. I have to say at the beginning it was a little wonky- but over the last two years it has been actually great.

I have all timers that work every day, all day. I can remote into my lock and add or remove codes, unlock and lock the doors- etc.

I like Wink personally. Still on the Gen 1 hub too, not sure why I would fix what is not broke going to Hub 2.
I have Wink, Smarthome, and HomeKit (not that it has a hub, unless you count the Apple TV).

The latest Wink is a nice piece of hardware - and software. Smarthome has too much bias toward their own products, but isn't bad, by any means. And HomeKit, while the one that came along after the others and has the least support, is the one I'm personally betting on. Why? Not just because they are Apple, though that doesn't hurt. It is the only platform that has well thought out security, with strong encryption between devices.

Today, it doesn't matter that much if your front door lock doesn't use encryption because they aren't widespread enough for criminals to invest in the black box that unlocks them. That won't last forever, and when that starts happening, you will see a large number of these current units in the trash as owners rush to replace them. It happened already with garage door openers, and it will happen again with "smart" deadbolt locks.

Any company that even pretends to care about security simply can't support these unencrypted, insecure protocols. And if they do, you won't want to own it long-term.

Sean
 

ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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Interesting, I had no idea Philips had such a product. I'll have to check it out. Currently I use a Philips light strip behind the headboard for waking up and going to bed.
This is the one I have. Very nicely made. The wakeup "sunrise simulation" light starts off warmer and gets whiter as it goes. You can choose to wake up with or without any sound. The included nature sounds are decent, but nothing to write home about. You can probably get better ones on your phone if you want to go that route.
 
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splogue

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This is the one I have. Quite worth it to me, and a very attractive. The "sunrise simulation" light starts off warmer and gets whiter as it goes.
Yes! That's what started it all. A very nice product.

For new buyers, I would highly recommend buying a Hue Go along with the Hue hub. You can then use the app to do exactly the same thing. The advantage is that you can then expand your system into multiple lights of various types, all connecting through the same hub and controlled with the same app.

I have three Hue Gos, two Hue Blooms, one Hue Iris, two Hue Lightstrip Pluses, and two lamps with Hue White Ambiance bulbs in my bedroom alone. I have them set to start lighting up twenty minutes before I want to get up, and over the next thirty minutes, they slowly ramp up, starting out warm and growing ever whiter as time goes on. I also have a backup radio alarm set for five minutes after, because INTJ always have a Plan B. (And a Plan C that we don't tell anyone about.)

I am so far away from being a morning person that I actually have trouble understanding people who are. And this lets me wake up so gently and easily that I don't even complain.

A miracle, to be sure.

Sean
 

prasand

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Mar 24, 2015
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The main thing holding me back from these things, as with every "connected" bulb I can find -- is that they're all around 800 lumens. That's weak, like a dim old 60 watt bulb.
That was a major factor to me also, as I had a one bulb socket. So I went with Lifx @ 1,100 lumens / 75 Watt equivalent. The brightness combined with in my opinion the best lightbulb app design, I'm satisfied, aside the HomeKit integration which has been "coming soon" for awhile.
 
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Vaportrailz

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Jan 15, 2008
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GE today announced that its connected LED light bulbs C-Life and C-Sleep will gain Apple HomeKit compatibility this summer.


A new C-Reach hub with HomeKit support will allow homeowners to turn on and off their "C by GE" lights, dim them, and control bulbs individually or in groups by rooms with Siri voice commands. The lights also should be able to be controlled with the Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later.

GE said the C-Reach hub will sell for less than $50 and will be available at a discount when bundled with some lights, according to The Verge.

GE describes the C-Life as an "everyday" light bulb that provides "optimal daytime light," while the C-Sleep light bulb is supposedly "warm and calm at night" and "crisp and vibrant in the morning." A starter pack with two C-Life and two C-Sleep light bulbs is available for $74.99 plus shipping in the United States.

Article Link: 'C by GE' Smart LED Light Bulbs Will Support HomeKit This Summer



GE today announced that its connected LED light bulbs C-Life and C-Sleep will gain Apple HomeKit compatibility this summer.


A new C-Reach hub with HomeKit support will allow homeowners to turn on and off their "C by GE" lights, dim them, and control bulbs individually or in groups by rooms with Siri voice commands. The lights also should be able to be controlled with the Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later.

GE said the C-Reach hub will sell for less than $50 and will be available at a discount when bundled with some lights, according to The Verge.

GE describes the C-Life as an "everyday" light bulb that provides "optimal daytime light," while the C-Sleep light bulb is supposedly "warm and calm at night" and "crisp and vibrant in the morning." A starter pack with two C-Life and two C-Sleep light bulbs is available for $74.99 plus shipping in the United States.

Article Link: 'C by GE' Smart LED Light Bulbs Will Support HomeKit This Summer
I'm lost why GE would made two bulbs that look identical to each other which will just create confusion. Why not make one bulb that can produce both light types. Hue is way ahead of GE in this.