“We are entering the age of the CUI, the conversational user interface. Already, there are 8.2 million voice-first devices in homes, mostly Amazon Echos,” John Koetsier reports for Forbes. “By the end of this year, that number will balloon to 33 million.”

“That’s the prediction from VoiceLabs, a startup that helps companies monitor and measure people’s interaction with their Alexa Skills or Google Actions,” Koetsier reports. “Skills and actions are integration points between Alexa or Google Assistant and your technology; they are the conversational user interface equivalent of apps on Android or iOS smartphones.”

“Amazon has more than a year’s jump on Google in this space, and so there are many more skills than actions. VoiceLabs CEO Adam Marchick says there are now more than 7,000 skills available. That’s a significant platform advantage for Amazon,” Koetsier reports. “Google has somewhere around 100 right now, and the mobile equivalent is an App Store with millions of apps versus a competing store with just a few thousand.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, Apple has something in the works.

We’d buy an Amazon Echo echo (Siri Speaker) from Apple. Would you?

As we wrote in March:

Something along the lines of Amazon Echo is what Apple should have done if run by competent, forward-thinking management. When Apple finally does do their version of Amazon Echo (and they will get around to doing such a product eventually) they will rightly be called a follower. The company had all of the ingredients to make their own Echo, before Amazon, except for the vision, it seems.

And, as we wrote back in June:

There could be a psychological component to this that leads people use Alexa over Siri precisely because they know the Echo is there (it’s a physical object), but forget about Siri being everywhere, even on their wrists (because Siri is embedded inside devices that are “for other things” in the user’s mind (telling time, watching TV, computing, phone calls, etc.) and therefore “hidden” to the user. Hence, Siri gets forgotten and goes unused while people use Alexa…

Again: We believe people use Alexa because Amazon Echo is a physical manifestation of “her,” while forgetting about Siri even though she’s on their wrists at all times and/or in their iPhones and iPads because Siri is hidden inside objects whose primary function is something other than “personal assistant” in people’s minds (watch, TV, phone or tablet, as opposed to “Siri.”) Alexa is present thanks to the Amazon Echo. Siri is absent because she has no such counterpart; no physical manifestation.

Siri is a ghost. Alexa is that cool, fun, glowing tube right there on the counter.

Apple would do well to not discount the psychology behind why people use certain features, even though cold, hard logic tells them it’s a redundant and unnecessary product.

An “Apple Echo” device would sell in the millions of units per quarter and boost Siri usage immensely.

And, boosting Siri usage, makes it better for everyone as it has more input (“Ah, input! More input!” – Number 5) from which to learn.

Apple’s Amazon Echo echo: What if AirPort Extreme becomes the Siri speaker? – December 1, 2016
Apple abandons development of wireless routers – November 21, 2016