“For much of the iPhone’s first decade, the main canvas for developers has been its touchscreen: the face that launched a thousand apps,” Tim Bradshaw reports for The Financial Times. “As Apple’s smartphone reaches its tenth anniversary, the company is starting to open up the iPhone’s ears and eyes to new apps too.”

“At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next week, the company is expected to up its game against Amazon’s voice-controlled Alexa and Google’s advances in computer vision, with new outlets for its own talking helper Siri and an overhaul of its iOS operating system,” Bradshaw reports. “While recent previous annual gatherings of app makers have focused on software and services, Monday’s opening keynote address, led by Tim Cook, chief executive, could also see Apple unveil new hardware, including a Siri-powered hi-fi to compete head-on with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home.”

Some analysts say that “one of Apple’s biggest causes for concern should be that its customers are not saying very much to Siri,” Bradshaw reports. “In some situations, whispering into an iPhone’s ear can be a faster way to complete a task than tapping on a touchscreen.
But Siri faces the same challenge as other virtual assistants. While app icons are laid out on a display, it can be hard for consumers to know what a voice-based assistant can do. If users receive too many confounding replies, they tend to stop asking questions altogether.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in June 2016:

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.

SEE ALSO:
Amazon unveils ‘Echo Show’ with a display for video calls and more; ships June 28 – May 9, 2017
Phil Schiller on Amazon Echo-like devices and more – May 6, 2017
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo rumored to borrow trashcan Mac Pro design cues, could arrive at WWDC – April 28, 2017
Following debut of Echo Look with built-in camera, Amazon likely reveal new Echo device with a built-in display – April 27, 2017
Apple said to be working on a Siri-based Amazon Echo rival – April 27, 2017
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
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo – September 26, 2016
Apple’s Amazon Echo rival said to include includes built-in cameras to read users’ emotions, recognize faces – September 23, 2016
Apple’s Siri-powered Amazon Echo-like device reportedly now in prototype testing – September 23, 2016
Why an ‘Apple Echo’ would be a hit – June 15, 2016
New Apple TV to take on Amazon’s Echo, source says – May 26, 2016
Apple preps Amazon Echo rival, opening up Siri – May 24, 2016
Apple should make a stationary voice command device like Amazon’s Echo – May 19, 2016
Google unveils its Amazon Echo knockoff called ‘Google Home’ – May 18, 2016
Where’s Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo? – March 31, 2016
Amazon Echo leads mindshare in smart home platform war – February 29, 2016
Why did Apple buy a startup whose tech can read emotions via facial recognition? – January 7, 2016
Apple buys Emotient, maker of artificial-intelligence tech that reads emotion by analyzing facial expressions – January 7, 2016