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iRobot’s new flagship Roombas ship with an updated OS to make cleaning simpler

The software prioritizes dirty rooms and even cleans the bathroom last.


Amazon’s iRobot just released a pair of budget-friendly robo-vacs to suit modest cleaning tasks, but it’s been a while since the flagship J7+ vacuum got a refresh. Well, the wait is over. The company announced presales for the forthcoming J9+ line of vacuums, and these high-end appliances boast plenty of nifty features for those who absolutely hate manually pushing a vacuum or mop around.

The J9+ is available in two versions, which is normally the case with modern Roomba devices. There’s the traditional vacuum-only J9+ and the Roomba Combo J9+ that mops in addition to sucking up dirt. The latter ships with a redesigned fill dock that automatically empties debris and replenishes the robot with mopping liquid, removing yet another manual cleaning step so you can get back to the important work of clearing out that Netflix queue.

These robots are more powerful than ever before, with an amped-up motor designed to “tackle dirt, pet fur and debris with unmatched precision.” The four-stage cleaning system provides multiple passthroughs and the newly-added dual rubber brushes take the suction power up a notch, in addition to allowing for pressurized scrubbing when necessary. The Combo J9+ features a motor that automatically lifts the mop pads when vacuuming carpets and rugs to avoid moisture leakage.

The hardware updates are well and good, and certainly useful, but it’s the software that provides the lion’s share of new features. These Roombas ship with OS 7, which looks to take automation and efficiency to the next level. The software boasts a tool called Dirt Detective that uses a proprietary algorithm to keep track of previous cleaning tasks to assess the dirtiest parts of the home, prioritizing those locations accordingly. In other words, it’ll start with the dirtiest rooms and move on from there.

The Combo J9+ goes a step further, and Dirt Detective will force the vacuum and mop to clean the bathroom last, no matter how dirty it is. This means that the vacuum won’t be tracking gross bathroom stuff throughout the rest of the home. If you want a more hands-on approach, you can use the app to manually select the navigation route through your house.

Other software improvements include the SmartScrub feature that ensures the Combo J9+ makes multiple passes through certain parts of the home, like the kitchen, when mopping. It’ll even boost the scrubbing power in these locations to eliminate dirt and stains. This also works in the other direction, so the vacuum will scrub less in cleaner areas to protect hardwood flooring and the like.

The Roomba J9+ and the Combo J9+ are available for preorder today from iRobot and tomorrow from third-party retailers, with shipments going out sometime during the fall. The vacuum-only J9+ costs $900 and the Combo J9+ costs $1,400. As for OS 7, it’s coming to other Roomba models beyond the J9+, but the company hasn’t said which ones.