Apple is set to expand its Siri voice assistant to work on a larger variety of mobile apps, as the technology company comes up against the runaway success of Amazon.com’s competing Alexa service.
Currently, Apple’s Siri works with only six types of app: ride-hailing and sharing; messaging and calling; photo search; payments; fitness; and auto infotainment systems. (Make that seven: CDN managing editor David Frith commands Siri to set an alarm clock – much easier than fiddling with finger taps).
Apple is expected to add to those categories at its worldwide Developers Conference next week.
Apple’s narrower focus, however, could become a problem, said Matt McIlwain, a venture capitalist with Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group.
McIlwain said he expects Apple to add new categories at next week’s bash, but not nearly enough to match Alexa’s number of skills.
“To attract developers in the modern world, you need a platform,” McIlwain said. “If Apple does not launch a ‘skills store’, that would be a mistake.”
Some industry-watchers have also predicted Apple will announce hardware similar to Amazon’s Echo device for the home, which has been a hot-seller in the USA.