Apple said to open up Siri with SDK, debut an Amazon Echo competitor

Apple logoOn the heels of Google announcing its Home voice assistant device, Apple isn't far behind with its own competing software and hardware. A report from The Information claims the company will open up Siri, its voice assistant launched in 2011, with an SDK, and it will soon reveal a device equipped with Siri to compete with Google's upcoming product and Amazon's Echo.

According to "a person with direct knowledge of the effort," Apple could release the Siri software developer kit at its annual WWDC event in June. It would allow app developers to integrate their programs into Siri so users could access the app's features with voice commands. Through direct deals with companies including Yelp, Siri can already access some apps, but the SDK would open up this integration to any developer that wants to use it. Developers would also be responsible for making sure Siri is connected to their apps "when appropriate."

As for the Amazon Echo competitor, it seems like it's only a matter of time before Apple does something to get into this space. The unlikely success of Echo and its Alexa voice assistant already brought Google into the space with its tabletop Home device. According to The Information's report, though, Apple's voice-assistant device has been in the works since before Amazon came out with Echo.

The speaker device would allow users to control HomeKit-enabled appliances and accessories, including light bulbs and thermostats. Other than that, however, no other features have been listed. Siri already handles voice-commanded tasks from iPhones and Apple Watches, including sending text messages, creating alarms, and completing voice queries, so it seems logical that Apple would include those types of features in a standalone product as well. It would have to, considering Amazon's Echo can answer questions and complete small Internet-based tasks with Alexa voice controls (Google's Home does the same with Google Now).

WWDC could end up focusing on Siri in many ways. One of the biggest projects expected to be announced at the conference is the integration of Siri into OS X devices.

Apple's WWDC starts on June 13, so check back for full coverage of the conference.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Siri

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