Apple has announced enhancements to its Siri voice assistant, allowing you to respond to multiple consecutive commands without needing to repeat your name. This update represents a significant improvement for those using voice control in the smart home. However, despite this progress, Apple still lags behind its competitors in the smart home arena. Apple is expected to rely heavily on the Matter standard for its future home automation efforts.
Siri enhances the smart home experience
Apple has introduced a feature to its Siri voice assistant that allows you to handle multiple consecutive commands without needing to repeat your name. This means that users can say “Siri, turn off the lights in the dining room and lock the front door” in one sentence, which is a huge improvement on the smart home experience. Until now, users had to invoke Siri for each individual command, while competitors like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have had this capability for years.
In addition to this improvement, Apple has also removed the “Hey” from “Hey Siri”, thus aligning itself with the one-command approach of its competitors, such as Alexa. However, this could result in more accidental activations of Siri, since common words like “city”, “cereal” or “series” (very similar pronunciation in English) could inadvertently activate the voice assistant. It is hoped that Apple has improved the detection capabilities of the device to avoid these situations.
Apple Home and its lack of notable updates
Despite improvements to Siri, Apple’s WWDC event didn’t feature major smart home updates. As indicated in The Verge, Apple is expected to depend on the advancement of the Matter standard to boost its smart home platform. Matter is a new standard supported by Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, among others, that seeks to improve interoperability between smart home devices. The lack of prominent updates in Apple Home indicates that the company is waiting for Matter to mature before making significant changes.
Advances in smart home control on Apple TV
Although Apple Home didn’t see major advances, Apple TV did introduce some improvements to smart home control. The tvOS 17 update includes a redesigned Control Center that makes it easier to access smart home controls like cameras and scenes using the Siri remote. In addition, some minor updates to the Apple Home app were announced, such as up to 30-day activity history for devices like door locks, garage doors, alarm systems, and contact sensors. Although these features are already found in many other smart home apps, they are welcome for Apple Home users.
The role of Matter in the future of Apple Home
Apple is betting on the Matter standard to power its home automation platform. Backed by several tech giants, Matter has the potential to improve device compatibility with Apple Home and bring the platform in line with the competition. Matter is expected to provide Apple Home users with a greater choice of compatible devices and the inclusion of new categories of devices such as robot vacuums and automatic pet feeders.
However, Matter’s progress has been slower than expected, which has also affected Apple. Despite the hype generated at WWDC last year, Matter is still in an early stage of development. It is expected that Apple will continue to support the Matter standard and adapt its unique features, such as adaptive lighting and HomeKit secure video, to be compatible with Matter.