Roomba robot vacuums have worked with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice commands for a while, and now Apple’s Siri is getting in on the fun. Today, iRobot announced native Siri Shortcut integration for its line of vacuums and mops, joining Roborock as one of the few smart vacuum makers to work with Apple’s voice assistant.
The update is part of iRobot’s version 4.0 of its iRobot Genius Home Intelligence software, which was described by CEO Colin Angle when it launched in 2020 as “a lobotomy and replacement of everyone’s intelligence systems. our robots.
The Genius 4.0 rollout includes about half a dozen new features for Roomba connected robot vacuums and Braava Jet robot mops. Along with Siri support and adding smart mapping to its cheaper self-emptying vacuum, the i3, the software update will bring room-specific cleaning preferences, a Ne not disturb and a child and pet lock option.
Along with new software updates, the Roomba i3 EVO and i3 Plus get a $50 price cut, dropping to $349 for the i3 and $549 for the i3 Plus (the Plus says the model comes with a self-emptying charging base that sucks dirt out of the robot’s bin for you).
Siri voice commands will initially be limited to start, stop, pause, resume, and send home. This means that no room-specific cleaning commands are available with other voice assistants. But iRobot’s Ryan Schneider says The edge more orders are coming. It’s native integration into the iRobot app, so you can set up voice commands without using Apple’s Shortcuts app.
Another feature that will bring Roomba’s software up to speed with competitors like Roborock is room-specific cleaning preferences. With any smart mapping robot (which includes the s9, j7 and i3 vacuum cleaners and the Braava Jet m6 broom), users can now determine exactly how it will clean each room or area.
For example, you could set the vacuum to make two passes in the hallway but only one in the guest bedroom. And for models with different levels of suction (like the s9), you can select the intensity it uses room by room.
For the Braava Jet m6 robot mop, there will be a choice of three levels of liquid dispensing and three levels of ‘cleaning overlay’. This determines how close the cleaning robot gets to where it previously cleaned; a looser mop pattern provides lighter, faster cleaning and a tighter pattern with more overlap provides deeper cleaning but takes longer.
Room-specific cleaning preferences can be set per job and saved for the next job. Users will also be able to customize preferences individually for scheduled tasks and preferred routines.
The Roomba j7, iRobot’s first robot vacuum capable of identifying and intelligently avoiding certain objects to avoid being stopped in its tracks by common household clutter, can now identify more things. Genius 4.0 adds clothes and towels to the bot’s list of machine learning capabilities, joining shoes, socks, cords, headphones, and poo.
Roombas also has a child and pet lock feature (yes, apparently some dogs have figured out how to turn robot vacuums on and off) and a Do Not Disturb feature, so you or sleeping members of your family won’t be woken up by a bot that decided to finish its job at 2 a.m.
Software updates will be staggered over the next few months, with the Roomba i3 smart mapping feature rolling out now in the US and arriving globally by the end of Q3. The rest of the updates are expected to be released globally by the end of June 2022, with the exception of Do Not Disturb, which is now available everywhere.