The Week in Smart Home: Apple set to make major Siri expansion, and more

All the shenanigans from the week that was

Apple's big plans for Siri

There's been a nice mix of news for smart home lovers this week. It kicked off with Samsung unveiling a new range of SmartThings devices, available to buy right now. Yale's new Assure Lever smart lock also went on sale this week. It's designed for single-hole doors, and it's the first non-deadbolt option in Yale's Assure lineup.

Signify also made a big splash this week with its new Bluetooth-ready Philips Hue bulbs, which can be used without a Hue Bridge. Check out our full Hue Bluetooth review.

For the stuff that didn't make headlines, read on...


The Week in Smart Home: Apple set to make major Siri expansion, and more

Siri set for major expansion

Big things are coming for Siri. Apple is growing its army by 2,000 more employees, all of whom will be based in its Seattle office. The most interesting thing? A lot of them will be working on Siri.

The company is advertising an assortment of jobs including software engineers and language-processing experts. The campus is just feet away from Amazon's HQ, which holds significance as these two companies battle it out for the future of AI.

It's clear that Apple is getting more serious about Siri, which has fallen behind Alexa and the Google Assistant on the smart assistant battleground. Both Amazon and Google have invested huge sums in AI over the past few years, but Apple's growth in this area has been slow for various reasons. Is it about to change speed?


The Week in Smart Home: Apple set to make major Siri expansion, and more

Loewe woes

German TV maker Loewe is calling it quits, announcing this week that it will cease operations on 1 July. First reported by Spiegel Online (via WhatHi-Fi?), the company only had funds to run for another six months, but decided to throw in the towel after being denied a nine million Euro investment by RiverRock.

Loewe had positioned itself as a luxury TV brand to distance itself from much of the market, but the strategy didn't play out as hoped, with Asian manufacturers undercutting Loewe with similar products. It's a shame - we rather liked some of Loewe's luxury creations, even if they were eye-wateringly expensive.


The Week in Smart Home: Apple set to make major Siri expansion, and more

Cortana becomes more independent

Microsoft is continuing to break Cortana away from Windows 10, as it brings the assistant to the Microsoft Store as a standalone app. The Verge spotted a beta of the app, which appeared on the store this week and is available to download.

This should make it easier for developers to update apps in the future, and it's yet another sign that Microsoft is seeing Cortana more as a standalone entity.


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