Watch out Siri, an intruder is inside your phone. Last week, Amazon announced that Alexa is now available on iOS devices through its Amazon app. Users can ask Alexa questions, shop on Amazon.com, play music and Kindle books using voice commands. What makes this interesting is that while a few third-party apps already offer Alexa integration, this is the first time it’s being offered directly from Amazon. And as Brian Barrett of WIRED points out, this should worry Apple:
That puts iPhone and iPad owners just two taps away—one to open the Amazon app, the next to activate the microphone—from a voice assistant that doesn’t just rival Siri, but surpasses it in significant ways. Alexa’s popularity should already be giving Apple fits. Now it’s coming from inside the phone.
Alexa’s New Audience
And Alexa is more popular than Siri with iPhone consumers. A 2016 Experian consumer survey found that 95% of iPhone users were satisfied with Alexa’s voice recognition, while only 61% had the same to say about Siri. While Siri might not be the best voice assistant out there, many Apple users don’t know anything better. However, having Alexa on the Amazon app could change that. The Amazon app is one of the most popular downloads for iOS and will introduce millions of consumers to Alexa for the first time. Now consumers who have never personally interacted with Alexa can see what they’ve been missing. This could generate new revenue for Amazon both within its app and for sales of Echo devices.
Expanding Alexa’s Reach on Mobile
A key challenge for Amazon is finding ways for consumers to access Alexa outside of the home. Smartphones are one way do this. As of now, Huawei is the only smartphone manufacturer to provide full Alexa integration and Motorola (Lenovo) expects to add the voice assistant to its Android-based phones later this year. That reflects progress, but the two largest smartphone manufacturers, Samsung and Apple, have competing voice assistant offerings. This new integration offers Apple users a way to use Alexa anywhere they are. From a convenience standpoint, Siri still wins. She is either always listening or just one tap away, while Alexa is at least two taps to activation. However, Apple is now sharing its biggest asset – millions of iPhone users – with Amazon. All Amazon wanted was an introduction. And, it got it.