In my endless pursuit of all things HomeKit, I recently discovered on entirely new category of products that work with Siri, but don't quite fit within the smart home mold. Apple's HomeKit platform has a limited selection of "services" like power controls or lighting, but leave certain things out, such as appliances and even furniture. This creates a gap that often leaves Apple fans out in the cold when compared to the offerings of other voice assistants.
However, the introduction of Siri Shortcuts just a couple of years ago is creating a new way to tap into the power and convenience of Siri for some truly unique applications. Smart tea kettles that allow you to set the perfect temperature and tiny battery operated devices that can press a button on demand are just a few examples of this new wave of accessories.
I recently spent some time with one such product, which is technically not a device in the traditional sense, but offers a level of integration with Siri that would simply not be possible if it weren't for the Shortcuts feature. The Malouf M555 Adjustable Bed Base, yes you read that right, an adjustable bed base, brings the time spent lounging or sleeping in the bedroom into the connected world.
Before we dive into the hands-on, I want to mention a few things about Malouf, as I admittedly didn't know a thing about the company before this experience. Malouf, which is based in Logan, Utah, is not a technology company, but rather, a company devoted to sleep. With a wide range of products such as mattresses, toppers, furniture, bedding, and adjustable bed frames that are available at retailers across the country, it knows a thing or two about getting a good night's rest.
The company is also a Certified B Corporation (again, something new to me), which means that it is not concerned only about revenue, but also about other social responsibilities, such as its employees, community, and the environment. Despite being a part of the furniture and bedding world since 2003, the company is making a push this year to highlight its connected features that it believes are a game changer for the industry.
Malouf tells me that it has an in-house development team working on the Malouf Base app, and you can really tell that it places an emphasis on user experience by keeping things clean and free of distractions. The app incorporates iOS specific features like Shortcuts and themes that can follow your phone's schedule, which is surprising considering that it comes from a bed company.
Jumping into things was quite simple, taking just a few taps to begin the pairing process within the app, and everything was ready to go in just a minute or two. Once connected, large and clearly labeled buttons for each function were front and center, covering things such as raising and lowering the base, as well as optional features such as massage zones.
Pressing one of the buttons results in the action happening almost instantly which plays out smoothly on the base itself. The only delay that I have experienced so far is when using the manual adjustment controls, which take about a second or two to react, which feels a little strange at first, almost like it was an intentional design choice.
Using Siri with the bed base is also quick and easy to set up, with a dedicated page within the app that offers six common commands. Tapping on a command, such as one for moving the bed to a flat position, will bring up the familiar Add to Siri sheet, complete with a suggested phrase to use with the voice assistant. Of course, you can also name the command to something that works better for you — just type in the desired phrase.
Once your shortcut is created, you can adjust your bed on-demand just as you would with any other Siri request. Just say "Hey Siri" followed by your phrase and you can sit back and watch the magic unfold. In addition to working with Siri on your iOS devices, these shortcuts also work just as well with a HomePod if you happen to have one in your bedroom.
One thing to keep in mind is that Siri requests do take a few seconds to work out the request behind the scenes, and Siri's responses can add a few additional seconds of delay before the adjustments actually occur. Siri's volume coupled with the actual noise that the motors produce on the bed base also keeps it from being a solution where you can whisper to Siri to move up or down without waking the person next to you up, unless they are a heavy sleeper.
In addition to Siri and app controls, Shortcuts created for the Malouf Bed Base also work with personal automations in the Shortcuts app. This means that your bed can adjust automatically to your favorite positions when an NFC tag is scanned, when Do Not Disturb is turned on, or at a specific time of day. You can take things even further by creating Shortcuts that include both your HomeKit accessories and your bed base, creating the ultimate "good night" scenario.
A full review of the M555 will be coming soon that will cover things such as setup/installation, performance over time, and any potential health implications (snoring!) seen. Feel free to drop any questions that you may have about the base or it's connected features below, as I am sure that there are lots of use cases that I haven't even dreamed of as of yet.
If you want to take a test ride on one of these connected bases, Malouf tells me that it is showing off its line at the Las Vegas Market (which is kinda like CES for furniture and home) January 26th-30th, and its products are currently available at furniture retailers across the United States and in 25 countries around the globe.
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