The Week in Smart Home: Apple and Google's eavesdropping update

A round up of the week's smart home news

Apple & Google plan security update and more
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Welcome to the weekend and another edition of The Week in Smart Home, your weekly round up of all the stories you may have missed.

We covered a lot of new product launches this week, including Wyze's highly anticipated smart plug (first time for everything), Nanoleaf's new uber-fancy HomeKit buttons and some exciting updates to Android Auto and Vizio TVs. But wait, there's more.

The Week in Smart Home: Apple plans Siri security update and more

Apple suspends Siri's recording capabilities

Last week we heard how Apple apparently had contractors often hear sensitive recordings captured by Siri.

A whistleblower speaking to The Guardian revealed that contractors regularly hear sensitive information while analyzing Siri requests. The source also expressed concerns over the frequency of accidental activations that pick up this information.

This week - Apple has shut that door, just in case. The Cupertino tech giant said it would review its "grading" process, to decipher if Siri is listening in by mistake.

“We are committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy,” Apple said in a statement to TechCrunch. “While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally. Additionally, as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading.”

Additionally, Germany’s data protection commissioner has declared that Google Assistant recordings are to be curbed in the interest of security.

"The use of automatic speech assistants from providers such as Google, Apple and Amazon is proving to be highly risky for the privacy of those affected,” the German commissioner’s statement reads.

The Week in Smart Home: Apple plans Siri security update and more

HomeKit's iPhone-powered future

Remote controls are sooooo last century. And that's why, probably, Apple is patenting the concept of "Controlling electronic devices based on wireless ranging". As Apple Insider reported this week, a patent granted to the company on Tuesday hints that the iPhone will be able to act as a remote control based on whatever device it is pointed at.

Sevenhugs released a remote this week with similar tech in it, but we are all for anything that means we don't have to "switch sources" ever again.

The Week in Smart Home: Apple plans Siri security update and more

Lifx's new bulbs on the block

The hub-less smart bulb company that rivals Philips Hue with its colour-changing capabilities is launching two new products this autumn, according to Digital Trends.

Lifx's new Candle Colour bulb using its Polychrome Technology can throw off more than one colour at once. The $45 candelabra-style bulb will mimic effects such as a flickering candle, and can even light a wall one colour and the room another.

Its other new product is the Lifx Z TV light strip that, as you can guess, lights up your TV. It also has the Polychrome Technology and will animate multiple colours to enhance your television viewing experience for around $70.

The Week in Smart Home: Apple plans Siri security update and more

Ikea's Sonos speaker line-up now on sale

The Symfoniks are here! The Symfoniks are are here! The highly anticipated fruit of the Ikea/Sonos partnership hit stores 1 August, and brings the smart home its lowest priced Sonos speaker yet.

The $179.99 table lamp and a $99.95 bookshelf speaker sport creative designs that try to hide their Sonos' roots in favor of a more home-friendly decor. The lamp functions as a regular light as well as a speaker, and the bookshelf speaker can be slipped onto a bookcase vertically, or placed horizontally to mimic.

Check out our review of the Symfoniks here.

The Week in Smart Home: Apple plans Siri security update and more

Moen's connected shower adds HomeKit skills

Now you can talk to Siri in the shower. HomeKit support has arrived for Moen's high end connected shower set up, the Moen U. This means you can have Siri turn on the shower for you, or add it to a HomeKit automation and have it start running at the right time every morning. You can even set the exact temperature.

Alexa has been in on the shower controller since it launched earlier this year, but now you can add HomeKit to the list of reasons you simply must spend between $1,275 and $2,355 on a smart shower.

TAGGED    smart home

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