Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri are proving to be good examples of how the fierce competition between rival tech companies almost always spells good news to the consumer because it eventually results in better or cheaper service down the line as one competitor tries to undercut the other. In the long run, there is always one main beneficial outcome from such instances: better applications for the customer.
Alexa is Amazon’s version of an intelligent personal assistant that obeys voice commands, serves as an entertainment provider (streaming music and audiobooks, etc.), and is a source of real time news and weather updates. This software mainly serves as the voice assistant on Echo, Amazon’s smart and interactive speaker and automation hub.
Across the table we have Apple with Siri, the famous service software that listens to our commands and performs task ranging from pointing us in the right direction to searching for information online; it runs on iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
But, unfortunately for Siri, it has on more than one occasion been the butt of some e-jokes: as Google’s head of Android development, Andy Rubin, once famously said that he didn’t believe that phones should be assistants like Siri and also, according to Apple Insider, when Microsoft’s Andy Lees agreed that he too didn’t think that this particular Apple service was useful before adding he would make sure his company’s software wouldn’t have users speaking commands into their phones in public.
Admittedly, that was in the early days and Siri has since improved in leaps and bounds, but when compared with Amazon Alexa it still has some catching up to do. For one, as The Seattle Times puts it, Alexa seems to be very popular with users and is charming “her” way into hearts of thousands with her ability to juggle Uber, pizza, and homework issues. In fact, Amazon claims, over 5,000 people express their profound love for her every single day.
And then again, Siri has been making lots of money for Apple. It was the main driving force in the amazing sales of the iPhone 4s when the phone first hit the market. As it “grew,” Siri was adapted into CarPlay for in-car entertainment, and then it shrunk back and became part of wearable gear. In short, Siri was everywhere and it seemed to rule the playing field.
Then just last week Amazon Alexa came to CES in Las Vegas and showed its prowess so much so that, TIME says, the voice assistant “dominated” the annual convention. What was surprising was the fact that although Amazon didn’t officially take part its assistant was present in car infotainment systems, new smartphones, robots, lamps, and other home gadgets.
All this has Apple sitting up and paying attention as the company recently listed jobs stating that they were entering an “exciting phase in Siri development” and that the software was being further developed. This has many thinking that perhaps 2017 will be the year Siri will be the main focus in advancements made at Apple, Inc.
By Liku Zelleke
Photo Courtesy Apple