Amazon has brought its digital assistant Alexa to the iPhone. Shoppers can now search for items using the digital assistant inside the Amazon app on their iPhones. Unfortunately for those who really love Alexa and have the Amazon Echo speaker in their home, this doesn’t mean you can use the digital assistant as the default on your iPhone in place of Siri. Alas, Apple is keeping iOS locked down as usual.
How to use Amazon Alexa on the iPhone
The e-commerce giant made the announcement about Alexa on the iPhone today on its website. Using the digital assistant requires that the Amazon app be open, and then the user taps the microphone icon toward the top of the screen inside the app.
Everything must be done inside the app. For example, users can shop with the digital assistant by telling it to search for a particular item inside the app. They can also tell it to reorder something they have ordered in the past, track their last order, add an item to their shopping cart, and pull up the best-selling item in a particular category.
Alexa can also be used to bring up Kindle books or music. Prime subscribers can tell Alexa to stream music or create a playlist.
Not a full replacement for Siri, but close
Because the app has to be open in order to use Alexa, it can’t be used as a full replacement for Siri. However, it can be used for some things you would normally use Siri for, as long as you have the Amazon app open. For example, you can ask about the weather, traffic or news. You can also use it to control any of the Alexa-enabled smart home products you might have, such as the Echo speaker.
Of course the company still has a long way to go before Alexa gains the recognition that Siri has, but this is certainly a good step in that direction. This also means that the digital assistant is on yet another platform, and this time, it’s official rather than coming from a third party.