Word on the proverbial streets says Apple is about to open up Siri and make it accessible to app developers. Given the state of competition– Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s whatever-name-it-is-today, and even Amazon’s Echo– Siri with API’s (application programmer interface) is no surprise. What took you so long, Apple?
Rumors are swirling around that Apple intends to follow Amazon’s lead and put Siri into a box that works much like Echo does now. It sits there listening and waiting for commands and queries (and the opportunity to sell something to you; Echo is from Amazon, right?).
I can understand how app developers would love to be able to use Siri commands and queries in their apps so Apple is moving in the right direction (albeit slowly). The end result might be blithering digital blather and frustrating conversations with Siri, but is more likely to broaden Siri’s use and expand the interface.
That’s the good news.
What’s the bad news?
Siri box and device fatigue.
Amazon apologists waste little time pointing out how much of a success Echo is without providing much evidence for said success. Amazon doesn’t release sales details for Kindle, Fire, Echo or anything (especially profits), so know one knows for sure how much of a success or failure a living room listening device really is.
Why would Apple build an Echo-like Siri box?
Echo isn’t free. Google Home won’t be free, either, and it follows Echo somewhat as a listening, talking device albeit with a different purpose. Echo will be happy to take orders from you and help you use your Amazon account, download Prime movies, and stream music (in addition to weather, sports scores, and news), while one could expect Google Home to do similar things but with more careful monitoring of what you do, when you do it, who you do it with. If that sounds creepy, then look at Google’s business model.
A Siri box means yet another Apple device in the home and I suspect that one reason for the slow but steady decline in the iPad’s sales is related to device fatigue. We have too many gadgets to manage and both Mac and iPhone are more valuable to most of us than a new iPad, and, except for the recently introduce Pro models, new iPads don’t do much more than the original iPad.
What would a Siri box do what can’t be done already by, 1) my iPhone, 2) my iPad, 3) my Mac (Siri is coming. Soon. No. Really.), 4) my Apple TV. In short, Siri is everywhere already, but only ‘always on’ with my iPhone 6s Plus. Giving some of Siri’s commands and controls to third party app developers would seem to make Siri more powerful on iPhone and iPad, rather than a Siri box. How would a Siri box work differently than Apple TV which already takes some Siri commands?
Amazon Echo is more expensive than the base model Apple TV (get 4) so it makes more sense that Apple make Siri work better than Echo but put it into every device. Apple TV to listen for commands in the living room. iPhone and iPad to listen for commands everywhere else.
Besides, I don’t want another Apple device, especially a Siri box that does much of what Amazon Echo does now or Siri does now on my iPhone. I just want Siri to do more where the technology lives.