Ecobee SmartThermostat is first third-party hardware to get Siri support

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The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is the first of many third-party devices to get Siri voice support.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is the first of many third-party devices to get Siri voice support.
Photo: Ecobee

As announced at Apple’s WWDC conference earlier this year, Siri voice support has come to the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control — the first hardware not made by Apple to get it, with many others to follow. Ecobee said a new software update bringing the change rolls out over the coming weeks.

Enter the world of smart homes for just $11 with this smart outlet

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Turn your house into a smart home with this plug-and-go USB outlet
Turn your house into a smart home with this plug-and-go electrical outlet with dual USB ports.
Photo: Switchmate

We’re always excited to hear about the latest smart home tech that can improve our lives and just make our homes cooler. But when we shop around for integrated smart home devices, we can’t help but feel an empty pang in our bank accounts once we realize how much a full smart home outfitting will cost.

The secret is finding simple tech that can make your existing devices a little smarter. 

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Controller for HomeKit 5.4 lets you back up your database, store codes and more.
Controller for HomeKit 5.4 lets you back up your database, store codes and more.
Photo: Controller for HomeKit

European Commission worries Apple could be future smart home ‘gatekeeper’

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Siri on HomePod mini
Siri is taking over our lives.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Smart home technology isn’t a massive focus of Apple’s. But the European Commission is nonetheless concerned that Apple could be one of the companies potentially able to engage in anticompetitive behavior in this area due to its outsized influence on the tech industry.

In preliminary investigation results published Wednesday, the EC raises concerns about the potential of “gatekeepers emerging” in this sector. The inquiry into Internet of Things (IoT) devices was launched in July 2020. It’s based on feedback from more than 200 different companies. Along with Apple, Amazon and Google are both mentioned as big players.

Shortcutify integrates Spotify, Google Maps, Todoist and more into Shortcuts

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Control your smart lighting, your music, and more with Shortcutify.
Control your smart lighting, your music, and more with Shortcutify.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcutify is a free iOS app that lets you use web-based services in your Shortcuts. For instance, it can connect with Spotify, Todoist, AirTable and more, and provides an easy bridge between these services’ complicated APIs and the Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad.

If you use any of the supported services, you’re going to totally love Shortcutify. If not? More app integrations are planned for the future.

From backup batteries to USB hubs, 4 ways to upgrade your charging game [Deals]

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power charging roundup 02/20/20
We've rounded up some of the best deals on the most useful chargers in the Cult of Mac Store.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Our digital lives revolve around having enough power, so we rounded up some of the best deals on charging gear for your shopping convenience. These juicy deals range from high-capacity backup batteries and a six-port USB charging hub, to a voice-controlled outlet and a car charger with four USB ports.

Even better, all of these charging accessories are discounted by more than half.

Apple joins rivals to create open standard for smart home devices

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Apple is teaming up with Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a new open and royalty-free standard for smart home devices.

Project “Connected Home over IP” aims to increase compatibility among smart home gadgets and make development easier for device manufacturers. It should also simplify smart technology for consumers.