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Apple is bringing Siri to third-party devices, but it’s not what you think. Rather than let Android smartphone owners use its digital assistant, Apple is bringing Siri to smart home devices.
Siri is coming to smart home devices
Apple hasn’t spent much stage time discussing this feature.
Actually, the WWDC21 keynote mentioned this in passing and Apple’s press releases, product pages and developer documentation aren’t helping either. From what we could gather, however, it looks like developers of devices that are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit protocol can bring Siri to their smart home appliances.
So, what’s the catch?
Well, the user will need to have a HomePod speaker for this to work.
That’s because a compatible device simply relays voice requests to Siri—Apple’s documentation states that this feature requires a HomePod or HomePod mini speaker with HomePod software 15.0 or later and a compatible HomeKit accessory.
As a result, you’ll be able to ask Siri to, say, set a reminder from a compatible HomeKit device even if your HomePod cannot hear you (but, again, you must own one for this to work).
Apple illustrated this feature by showing Siri being used to control a smart thermostat. Some HomeKit developers have already confirmed supporting this functionality. Ecobee’s SmartThermostat, for instance, will get Hey Siri support with a firmware update later this year.
When’s this feature arriving?
This feature is arriving publicly when iOS 15 gets out of beta and releases in the fall.
At launch, Siri on third-party devices will support the Personal Requests and Intercom features, as well as timers and alarms. Plus, developers who would like to implement Siri functionality for their devices must be a part of Apple’s MFi program for HomeKit accessories.
Siri also supports voice commands for controlling HomeKit devices at specific times, like “Hey Siri, turn off my bedroom lights at 7pm” or “Hey Siri, turn off all the lights when I leave.”
Siri on other Apple platforms has received some love, too.
Other Siri changes across Apple OS platforms
Other Siri changes across Apple platforms include the following items:
Siri message announcements
The ability for Siri to announce incoming texts and iMessages first appeared in iOS 13.2 that released publicly in October 2023. With iOS 15, this feature now works with third-party apps, like Uber Eat for example. Also, Siri can announce incoming messages in CarPlay. On top of that, Siri can now announce notifications and reminders on your AirPods.
The biggest annoyance with Siri is its reliance on the Apple cloud for speech-to-text processing and getting answers. On iOS 15, Siri speech recognition is performed directly on the device (similar to the Dictation feature in supported languages), meaning Siri can now understand your request without an Internet connection.
And while some answers will require Siri to interact with web sources, many Siri requests can now be processed without an internet connection. These include, of course, simple things such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings, controlling music and so forth.
Oh, and Apple’s natural-sounding Siri voices are now available in more languages.
Labeling Apple Watch timers
watchOS 8 brings multiple timers to the Apple Watch. With Siri, each timer can be given a specific label, voice-free, like “Cooking Timer”.
Running shortcuts on the Mac
macOS 12 brings the Shortcuts app from iOS to macOS, and you can use Siri for Mac to run your favorite shortcuts hands-free.
New piracy controls
iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 include new privacy controls in the Siri settings.
You can ask Siri to share what’s on your screen during a FaceTime call. Siri now understands onscreen context, letting you say things like “Message them I’m on my way” when looking at a contact in the Contacts app. Siri now maintains context between requests. And Siri on your wrist can get you spoken translations (“How do you say hello in Japanese?”) in watchOS 8.
Last but not least, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 include new privacy controls in the Siri settings.
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Hace años nos hubiera costado imaginar que dispositivos que utilizamos a diario como el timbre de la puerta o un cepillo de dientes podría conectarse a Internet en el futuro. Cada vez son más los gadgets y que pueden ayudarte a convertir tu casa en una auténtica Smart Home.
Hemos seleccionado nuestros dispositivos inteligentes favoritos para que estos Reyes puedas sorprender a tu amor (o familiar, amigo o compañero de trabajo) con uno estos regalos para la casa. También puedes comprarlos para ti, claro.
Altavoz inteligente Amazon Echo Dot 5
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Amazon vende sus productos Echo en España y México, lo que significa que quienes se encuentren en uno de estos dos países pueden disfrutar del amplio catálogo de altavoces inteligentes de la compañía, que funcionan con Alexa.
Uno de nuestros preferidos es el Echo Dot 5. La quinta generación presenta algunas novedades respecto a los modelos anteriores, que tiene ahora más prestaciones y la capacidad de ampliar el wifi de casa.
También dispone de una mejorada calidad de sonido. Eso te permitirá escuchar tanto la música como la voz del asistente virtual de forma nítida. Nos gusta también que el usuario pueda ajustar los bajos y los agudos manualmente.
Pantalla inteligente Google Nest Hub
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Las pantallas inteligentes, o smart displays, son una de las últimas categorías en llegar al sector de los dispositivos inteligentes. Se trata, básicamente, de unos altavoces inteligentes con pantalla incluida.
No tienen la funcionalidad total de una tablet, sino que se trata de unos dispositivos más sencillos que ofrecen todas las ventajas de tener un asistente virtual con alguna ayuda visual.
Una de nuestras favoritas es la Google Nest Hub (2ª generación), aunque te recomendamos que eches un vistazo a nuestra selección de mejores smart displays para ver más ejemplos. Si prefieres Alexa, entonces apuesta por el Echo Show.
Cámara de seguridad Netatmo Presence
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Una de las áreas más obvias que querrás cubrir con un dispositivo inteligente será la seguridad de tu casa. Tendrás a cambio una gran variedad de beneficios: imágenes a tiempo real, almacenamiento en la nube e incluso seguros inteligentes.
Sin duda, una de las mejores cámaras de seguridad exterior inteligentes en la actualidad es esta Netatmo Presence. Tiene un diseño muy sofisticado, incluye un foco integrado muy útil y no necesitas pagar una suscripción.
No necesitarás demasiado para instalarla, pero en cambio su rendimiento será el óptimo para tu casa. Detectará la presencia de personas, animales y automóviles y serás notificado con una alerta en tu smartphone.
Termostato Hive Active Heating
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Poder controlar la temperatura de tu casa con un dispositivo inteligente te permitirá ahorrar energía, lo que significa que podrás contribuir a la causa ecológica y ahorrar dinero. Con un termostato como este Hive te ayudará a reducir el gasto de tus facturas.
Hive es sin duda una de nuestras compañías de referencia en el sector de los termostatos inteligentes. Su instalación es muy sencilla y su precio es bastante razonable. Además, es compatible con muchos otros dispositivos inteligentes.
La interfaz de la app es muy intuitiva y no te llevará mucho tiempo aprender a usarla. Lo mismo vale para los botones del termostato en sí. También es muy fácil conectarlo a otros dispositivos inteligentes de la marca, como las luces Smart Lightning.
Kit de inicio Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance (3 bombillas)
Best Prices Today:
Una de las primeras cosas en las que piensa uno cuando se plantea convertir su casa en una Smart Home es la iluminación inteligente. La mayoría de las bombillas inteligentes te permiten controlar su brillo, su tono e incluso su color.
Las bombillas de este tipo son capaces de entender comandos de voz, pero también puedes programarlas para que se enciendan y se apagan a ciertas horas del día, o cuando entres y salgas de casa, desde una aplicación.
Este kit de Philips Hue es un buen inicio para introducirse al fascinante mundo de las luces inteligentes. Incluye tres bombillas que cambian de color, así como con un puente y el mando para poder controlarlas.
Enchufe inteligente mini con wifi Tapo P100
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Los enchufes inteligentes son una forma muy sencilla de poder controlar de forma remota, con limitaciones, aquellos dispositivos que tienes en casa y que no son inteligentes. Uno de nuestros preferidos es este TP-Link con wifi.
Como ocurre con otros modelos, este enchufe inteligente te permitirá abrir y cerrar el circuito electrónico asociado con esa toma de corriente, utilizar un temporizador para programar o incluso encenderlo y apagarlo según dónde te encuentres en cada momento.
Nos gusta este de TP-Link especialmente porque no necesitas tener otro mando para poder utilizarlo. Además, puedes conseguir el pack de cuatro con un descuento.
Cepillo eléctrico Oral-B Genius X
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De acuerdo. El precio de este Oral-B Genius X puede parecer una barbaridad para un cepillo de dientes por muy eléctrico y inteligente que sea. Es cierto, pero tampoco te costará demasiado encontrar algún descuento.
En cualquier caso, si no te preocupa el coste, debes saber que se trata de un cepillo que combina todas las prestaciones de última generación con una aplicación que indicará tu localización, tu hábitos de limpieza bucal y otra información de salud dental.
Es cierto que quizás no sea uno de los dispositivos inteligentes más imprescindibles de la lista -de hecho, seguramente sea el más prescindible-, pero le será de utilidad a aquellos que sientan que necesitan un poco de ayuda en cuanto a su cepillado diario.
Báscula Withings Body Cardio
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¿Una báscula puede ser inteligente? No nos extrañaría que al principio tuvieras dudas al respecto, pero de la misma forma que un smartwatch puede darte información sobre tu salud, también puede hacer lo mismo una báscula.
Es el caso de esta Withings Body Cardio. Con ella, te será muy fácil saber cuánto pesas, pero también recoger información muy útil como tu índice de masa corporal, grasa, hídrica, muscular y ósea. También dispone de un monitor cardiaco.
Nos gusta especialmente que puedan ser hasta ocho los usuarios que utilicen las prestaciones inteligentes de esta báscula y también que pueda sincronizarse con otros dispositivos de Withings.
Robot aspirador Eufy RoboVac 30C
Best Prices Today:
Los robots aspiradores ya no son dispositivos nuevos, nuevos. Hace ya algunos años que llegaron al mercado y podemos encontrar uno en la mayoría de hogares. Sin embargo, no hace tanto que se han subido al barco de los dispositivos electrónicos.
El Eufy RoboVac 30C es un buen ejemplo de robot aspirador que puede ser controlado a través de una aplicación móvil para darle instrucciones como la hora en la que tiene que empezar a limpiar la casa.
También podrás usar la app para comprobar qué zonas ha limpiado y qué no. Deberás primero crear un plano de tu casa y luego ya podrás indicarle al robot aspirador inteligente qué estancias quieres que barra y qué no.
Today’s best deals include the latest Mac mini from Apple, plus Apple Watch Series 4, and various smart home deals at Home Depot. Head below for all that and more in the latest 9to5Toys Lunch Break.Apple’s M1-powered Mac mini drops to $649
Amazon offers Apple’s latest Mac mini M1/8GB/256GB for $649. That’s a $50 savings from the regular going rate and matching the second-best offer we’ve tracked all-time. The M1 chip brings the Neural engine to the Mac mini for the first time, enabling fast and highly-optimized machine learning workflows. You’ll also find two USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt and USB 4, making connectivity a breeze for all of your devices.Apple Watch Series 4 GPS + Cell is $235
Today only, Woot offers Apple Watch Series 4 44mm GPS + Cellular in certified refurbished condition for $235. As a comparison, it originally sold for $529 or more. Today’s deal is $40 under our previous mention.
Series 4 offers a larger watch face than its predecessor and a water-resistant casing to 164-feet. The OLED display is bright and colorful, and you can count on the usual suite of notifications from your iPhone. Includes a 90-day warranty.Home Depot discounts smart thermostats from Nest, Honeywell, more
Today only, Home Depot is offering up to 30% off smart thermostats and more. Free shipping is available for all. Our top pick is the Nest Thermostat E with bundled sensor for $144. As a comparison, this listing has a $198 value as the thermostat goes for $169 and the sensor $39 regularly. This is the best price we’ve tracked in months.
Nest Thermostat E offers iOS and Android control, Home/Away functionality and built-in energy savings. It’s a rather affordable alternative to pricier options on the market that delivers all of the best Nest features like automatic scheduling, without breaking the bank.Eve Energy Strip expands your HomeKit setup for $85
Amazon offers the Eve HomeKit-enabled Energy Strip for $85. Usually fetching $100, today’s offer matches our previous mention for the third-best price to date. With three individually-controllable outlets, the Eve Energy Strip works over Wi-Fi without a hub and integrates with HomeKit for Siri voice control and more. It also monitors power consumption, allowing you to keep tabs on how much energy specific appliances are using. I’ve personally been using one of these for over a year now, and have found it to be quite a reliable addition to the rest of my HomeKit setup.Sony XM4 ANC Headphones return to Amazon low
Amazon offers the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless ANC Headphones for $278. Down from the usual $348 going rate, you’re saving 21% with today’s offer matching our previous mention for the Amazon low and coming within $5 of the best price we’ve tracked to date overall. Sony’s latest pair of headphones deliver improved active noise cancellation alongside up to 30-hours of playback on a single charge. On top of a new Bluetooth audio chip that can pair with two devices simultaneously, there’s also USB-C charging and built-in access to Alexa.Best trade-in deals
9to5Mac also keeps tabs on all the best trade-in deals on iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, and more every month. Be sure to check out this month’s best trade-in deals when you decide it’s time to upgrade your device. Or simply head over to our trade-in partner directly if you want to recycle, trade, or sell your used devices for cash and support 9to5Mac along the way!
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If someone managed to hack into one, or all of your smart devices right now, what personal information would they have access to? And how might they weaponize your favorite smart devices against you? How about:
Recording video footage of you in your own home, by tapping into your security cameras and webcams.
Working out when your property is most likely to be empty, by examining the routines programmed into your smart thermostat.
Harnessing your smart devices’ processing power, and then using it to launch a large-scale cyber attack against other unsuspecting smart home owners.
Putting your entire house on lockdown, and demanding a ransom before letting you back in.
The possibilities are endless, but that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to all of your favorite smart gadgets!1. Go to the source
Let’s start by heading to the source of almost all digital attacks: the Internet.
Your Wi-Fi router is the most vulnerable spot in your smart home, so you’ll need to make sure it’s locked down tight:
Change your router’s name. Most routers have a default name assigned by the manufacturer, but this often reveals information about the router, such as its make and model. We want to limit the amount of information a potential hacker has to work with, so you should change this factory-assigned default to something unique and unusual, that also doesn’t give away your location or identity.
Use a strong encryption method. When you setup your Wi-Fi network access, opt for a strong encryption method, such as WPA2.
Create additional networks. You may want to create a dedicated second network for your smart devices so if someone does manage to hack into your primary Wi-Fi network, they won’t immediately have access to all of your smart devices. It’s also a good idea to setup a guest network, which will allow you to share your Wi-Fi with friends and family, without giving them access to all of your smart devices.
Consider investing in a third party router. You don’t have to use the router that’s shipped to you by your Internet service provider. Many third parties sell routers, and some of them offer better security than the routers that are included in your typical Internet package.2. Don’t settle for default
Any cyber criminal who’s done their research will know the default passwords that are pre-programmed into many popular IoT products.
When you purchase a smart device, you should always change the default password. Remember that all of the usual password best practices apply: choose a password that’s long, complex and unique to that particular device. If you’re struggling under the weight of having to remember so many passwords, then you can always use a password manager app such as LastPass or Dashlane.
While you’re changing the password, you should also review the device’s default privacy and security settings.
The settings that work for the manufacturer, may not necessarily work for you, and they could even compromise your privacy, as manufacturers often want to gather as much information about their customers as possible.3. Disable all unnecessary features
When you purchase a new smart device, it’s not unusual for every feature to be enabled out-of-the-box – manufacturers want to make a good first impression, after all!
It may sound paranoid, but every active feature is a potential route into your smart home. Don’t make a hacker’s job any easier: when you purchase a smart device, take stock of all the features that are enabled, and disable any that you don’t currently need. Not only will this make your smart home more secure, but disabling unnecessary features can make your devices perform better, and consume less energy.4. Update everything
Software updates often contain security features and fixes, so it’s important to keep your smart devices and their companion apps up-to-date.
If you interact with your smart home using a smartphone or tablet, then it also doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re running the latest version of your mobile operating system.
Finally, don’t forget about your router, as manufacturers may release firmware updates from time-to-time. If you’re unsure how to update your router, then check out the manufacturer’s website for more information.5. Add an extra layer of security, with MFA
Once MFA (multi-factor authentication) is enabled, authenticating your identity becomes a two step process: you’ll need to enter your password and then pass an additional security check, such as entering a one-time code that’s shared with you via SMS or email.
If one of your smart devices or companion apps offer MFA, then it’s always a good idea to enable it. With MFA is place, even if a hacker does manage to get their hands on your password, they still won’t have access to your smart home.6. Say “no” to the temptation of public Wi-Fi
Do you manage your smart home from your mobile device? When you’re out-and-about, it can be tempting to drop into your smart apps and check how things are going back home, but you should never access your smart devices while connected to public Wi-Fi.
When you’re connected to a public network, any information you transmit could potentially be accessed by other people on that network – and that includes the login details for your smart devices.
Jessica Thornsby is a technical writer based in Derbyshire, UK. When she isn’t obsessing over all things tech, she enjoys researching her family tree, and spending far too much time with her house rabbits.
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The Google Home Mini is priced at $49. It is available for pre-order starting today. Google Home Max is the much more interesting and expensive device. It is said to be 20 times as powerful as Google Home. It costs $399 and will be will go on sale in December, starting with the US initially.Google Home Mini
Basically, Google Home Mini is a smaller, cheaper Google Home designed to make the Google Assistant reachable into more rooms of your home. In such a way it will be better for getting news, schedule updates, listening to podcasts, and sending instructions to other Google-connected products. It will also connect wirelessly to any speaker with built-in Chromecast.
The Mini comes in three colors: Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral. It’s an attractive device with a fabric-covered body. It’s about four inches in diameter and about one and a half inch tall. According to the company, its sound is quite good going by its size. And it’s easily capable of making itself heard in a medium-sized room.
The controls on the Home Mini are also simple. You need to just tap on its top to pause, and tap on the left or right side to adjust the volume. There’s a mute switch on the back and four indicator lights under the fabric on top, visible only when they lit up. It charges with a Micro USB, and not with USB Type C.Google Home Max
Google Home Max is the much more large and capable device. It’s a stereo speaker with two 4.5-inch woofers and a couple of tweeters flanking them for much-improved bass performance. It’s basically designed to take on other speakers from the likes of Sonos, Bose, and Apple’s HomePod.
The company is also touting the Smart Sound feature, which adapts the audio to where the user is in the room, for the best acoustic performance. All of the features are behind a speaker grille covered with acoustically transparent fabric. Interestingly, it is glued on, and can be replaced if you want to. It comes in two colors: Black and White.Pricing and Availability
The Google Home Mini has been priced at $49 (roughly Rs. 3,200). It is available for pre-orders from Wednesday itself in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US. The Home Mini smart speaker will go on sale from October 19. There is no information on its availability in other markets.
Google Home Max is priced at $399 (roughly Rs. 26,000). It will go on sale not around December, starting with the US before being made available in other regions. It will also come with a 12-month subscription to the ad-free YouTube Red, which includes YouTube Music.
Google also introduced a new feature called Voice Match. With this, the speakers recognize individual voices. It will be rolling out to all the 7 countries in which the Home speakers are available. The company is also working on improved voice recognition. Moreover, the hands free calling feature, which was introduced earlier in the US is coming to the UK later this year.
It’s time to choose how you’ll control your smart home. Will it be Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa? What if you don’t have to choose? In fact, some people are opting to use two smart home voice assistants to get the best of both worlds. While it might seem like an overly complex setup, there are some benefits to using both of the major voice assistant players.Increased Compatibility
While many smart home devices are trying to increase compatibility by allowing voice control via Alexa and Assistant, some are still just one or the other. This means you’re limited to only buying devices that work with one particular assistant.
The downside is you will have to remember which devices work with which assistant so you can say the right wake word. However, if you really like certain devices that only work with Google Assistant but already have several that only with Amazon Alexa, you won’t have to choose anymore.Easy to Switch
Perhaps you started with Amazon Alexa because you own an Echo device since it first came out. But now that Google Assistant is growing in popularity, you want to try out a Google Home device or even just Assistant on your phone. By incorporating both smart home voice assistants into your home and routine, you’ll already know how to use both.
If you suddenly decide you want to switch, it’s an easy process. This is especially true if all your devices are compatible with both voice assistants.Dedicated Devices
Trying to choose between Echo and Home devices isn’t always easy. However, you can have both. Perhaps you prefer your Echo Dot because it’s small and easy to use throughout various rooms in your home. However, you might prefer the sound of the Google Home Mini or Google Home Max, making it ideal for dedicated audio.
In using both assistants, you might find you prefer the way one works over another for specific tasks. If this is the case, use both smart home voice assistants but give them specific tasks in controlling your home.Different Users
While you can set up different voice profiles, you might live in a home where users are divided on which assistant to use. So, do both. Let each person choose which assistant they’d prefer to use. Everyone can still control the smart home but can use their assistant of choice.
You can also divide your home. For instance, if you’re renting a room or a floor, you could provide your guests with one assistant while you use the other. This avoids accidentally controlling your renter’s devices and vice versa.Get Access to Different Features
For standard tasks, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa aren’t that different. However, the more you use each of them, you’ll discover each has unique features. For instance, Google Assistant tends to offer a wider variety of Easter eggs, though Alexa has plenty, too.
Each is always adding new features and skills as well. If something’s not available with one, it’s probably available with the other.Ease of Use
Depending on the room you’re using the assistant in, it may be easier for one to understand you over the other. For instance, Google Assistant tends to understand queries correctly more often than Alexa, with 92.9 percent vs. 79.8 percent respectively.
If you perform a lot of search queries, you may want to use Assistant for those but use Alexa to send messages throughout your home.
Overall, both smart home voice assistants are great at controlling your smart home. You have nothing to lose by using both. Having access to both offers more convenience and features than just one.
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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