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Siri finally hits a non-Apple device, but there’s a major catch

When Apple announced iOS 15, it promised Siri would finally be available on third-party devices as part of improvements to HomeKit.

Today that becomes a reality with a free software update for the Ecobee SmartThermostat that brings ‘Hey Siri’ voice functionality to the fore, provided there’s a HomePod Mini in the same network through which to route the request.

That’ll enable users to alter the temperature using Apple’s trusty voice assistant. Unfortunately, it only works with the latest Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control, which has been around since 2019, but others are sure to follow.

Thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker, hands-free Siri is possible with the assistant also able to reply in kind. That means users will be able to control other HomeKit devices, get weather updates and enlist their thermostat to help ‘Find My iPhone’

It’s also possible to stream music from the thermostat, which probably isn’t going to be a great experience, and also pair it with others as part of the AirPlay 2 functionality.

Once the update has been installed, it’ll be easy to pair the Ecobee thermostat with the Home app on iOS devices. According to The Verge, the pairing process surfaces a “speak to Siri” option.

Another caveat is the Ecobee SmartThermostat’s existing Alexa functionality has to be disabled as only one voice assistant can be deployed at a time.

In a press release, Ecobee says: “Customers will be able to use Apple’s intelligent assistant to say “Hey Siri” to their Ecobee SmartThermostat and get hands-free help setting the temperature, sending an intercom message, and more. The software update is beginning to roll out now and will be available over the next few weeks for all Ecobee SmartThermostat customers.”

Now Ecobee has started the ball rolling we expect to see many more third-party HomeKit-compatible devices adopt Siri. Unfortunately for Brits, Ecobee doesn’t officially market its products in the United Kingdom, so it’ll be US users who benefit from this HomeKit update in the first instance.

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