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Nest: It’s the iPod of Thermostats

Many years ago, Tony Fadell took an idea he had for a new gadget to Apple. It was a pocket-sized hard-disk MP3 player. Apple was impressed–and, just over a decade ago, released Fadell’s creation as the iPod. It was, as you may recall, quite popular.

Fadell went on to run Apple’s iPod division, but In 2008, he stepped down and in 2010, he severed all ties with Apple. He and his wife (also a former Apple employee) spent some of their newly-found free time with their kids, and some of it building a green home near Lake Tahoe.

While Fadell was working on his house, he had a new brainstorm. Why not take the thermostat–one of the most boring devices on the planet, and therefore one which is largely ignored by most homeowners–and make it interesting? Why not make it what he calls “a cherished object?” Why not make it a gadget?

Inspired, he co-founded a company called Nest Labs. It’s announcing its creation, the Nest, which it plans to ship in November for $249. And it’s not just the least boring thermostat ever invented: It’s downright interesting. When Fadell briefed me recently and did a demo, I got excited by its potential–and if you see one in person, I think you’ll be just as intrigued.

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