Could Apple's Siri soon be its own version of Amazon's Alexa?
According to a report from The Information, which cited a person said to be close to the matter, Apple is planning on revealing details about its plan to develop its own version of the Echo. Beyond that, the source indicated that Apple also has plans to open up Siri to developers via an SDK for app developers.
While this hasn't been confirmed by Apple on the record, the report indicates that more details on this are expected to be revealed at Apple's WWDC conference, June 13–17. Similar to how Amazon and Google are working to enable their voice services to be connected to more apps, it appears Apple now wants its name in the virtual assistant game — paired with a hardware device to enable it.
It's also believed that Google is working to take on Amazon's Echo with its own device that would incorporate Microsoft's Cortana. This would leave Amazon, Google and Apple all competing to prove who had the best virtual assistant/hardware combo package. In Google's case, the latest reports show it's looking to incorporate a two-way voice option through a Google box called "Google Home."
And where that would really mater would be with app developers wanting to incorporate that personalized experience right into the app.
But they'd still have to play catch-up to Amazon, which recently released two new models of its Echo device — the Amazon Tap and the Echo Dot. Like the original Echo before them, both devices revolve around seamless user interaction with the growing ecosystem of Amazon apps and streaming platforms, though with distinct differences.
The Tap, for instance, runs off of an internal battery, unlike the Echo, and can be taken on the road, while the Echo Dot is more of a bridge device that allows users to turn any Bluetooth speaker into a voice-controlled gateway into Amazon’s world of Web services.
Regardless of what these three big tech players are looking to do with their virtual assistants, it's clear that an important driver of payments and commerce going forward will be a healthy dose of voice-activated personal assistants.