In a move that should give Apple’s Siri a serious run for its money, online retailer Amazon.com has officially brought its virtual assistant Alexa over to iPhone. After the latest updates, users would be able to access Alexa on iPhone and iPad using the Amazon.com app available on the App Store.
Ever since Siri was introduced on iPhone 4S in 2010, it has remained the principle virtual assistant on the iOS device due to its smooth system-wide integration with all services. Other voice-powered assistants including Microsoft’s Cortana have tried to compete with Siri by releasing standalone apps on iPhone, but Siri remains a force to be reckoned with. A lot of credit for that goes to the always-on “Hey Siri” feature that doesn’t require the user to even press a button to access the virtual assistant, let alone unlocking the device.
To access Alexa on iPhone, users would have to download the Amazon.com app on iOS from App Store, open it, and tap the microphone button to get started. For all that to happen, they’d first need the latest version of the app, that might not yet be available before a wider roll-out is completed. But once it does, there will definitely be curiosity to check out what Alexa has to offer and how it squares up against Siri, and what better way to do that than using it on Siri’s main device.
With other companies making headway, Apple is not standing still either, with reports indicating that the Cupertino firm is set to launch an improved version of Siri this year. The launch could be made at WWDC in the summer, or alongside the flagship iPhone in September, but it is all but confirmed to be happening this year. When Siri was launched in 2010, Apple received widespread acclaim for its virtual assistant, but recently, it has also received blunt criticism from several fronts for stagnating on that front and not making any efforts to keep Siri up to speed.
All that could be about to change, and what better time to do so than now, when another competitor is gearing up to provide more competition and lure users away from Apple’s preferred product of its own ecosystem.