Alexa for Apps Feature on iPhone Allows Opening and Controlling Apps via Voice Commands

BY Asif Shaik

Published 22 Jul 2020

Alexa For Apps On iPhone

Apple’s AI-powered digital voice assistant, Siri, has competition from two main rivals: Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Although Amazon doesn’t have its own smartphone platform, it has been trying as hard as possible to make inroads to Android and iOS by offering developers various ways to integrate Alexa into their services. To that end, the company has announced a new feature called ‘Alexa for Apps’.

Alexa for Apps lets you open apps on an iPhone using voice commands via the Alexa app and Alexa accessories like Echo Buds. The new feature also allows you to control apps and activate specific functionalities. For example, you can ask Alexa to open TikTok and start recording a video. The new feature is now being rolled out to developers, and it is up to them on how they plan to use it.

On iPhones (and Android), Alexa can serve as an alternative to Siri (and Google Assistant on Android). Alexa for Apps uses deep links to open apps and in-app features. While voice commands to open a specific app might work right away with most apps, advanced functionalities such as controlling apps via voice commands would need app developers to integrate Alexa for Apps in their mobile apps.

TikTok is closely collaborating with Amazon and has released a video to show how Alexa can be used to activate in-app features like video recording or searching for content without ever touching an iPhone’s screen. The functionality to control apps by just voice commands can come in pretty handy when you can’t reach your phone, have your hands full, or are just feeling lazy to pick up your iPhone.

Alexa for Apps can be implemented in any app by their respective app developers if the app uses deep links. Amazon says that big-name brands and services like Sonic, TikTok, Uber, Volley, Yellow Pages, and Zynga will soon release newer versions of their apps with the Alexa for Apps feature.

Our Take

The Alexa for Apps feature is pretty useful, and it shows how hard Amazon is working to bring its voice assistant to more apps and features even though it does not have full independence on Apple’s and Google’s mobile operating systems.

Siri has always shown lackluster performance compared to Alexa and Google Assistant, and if it weren’t for complete control on iOS and other platforms, it wouldn’t have had survived this long. Apple has made some important improvements to Siri with iOS 14, but it needs to do more.

[Source: Developer Newsroom For Amazon Alexa]