“Amazon announced 15 new Alexa-enabled products in less than 90 minutes at an event in Seattle on Thursday, further cementing the company’s commitment to the voice assistant space,” Todd Haselton and Michelle Castillo report for CNBC. “The new suite of items ranges from microwaves and clocks to security devices and car gadgets, as well as upgrades to its iconic speaker Echo. It also introduced new ways to add Alexa to third-party devices.”

“The new Echo Dot, which will cost $49.99, will be 70 percent louder and have clearer sound. It will have a [new] industrial design, and the fabric face will come in multiple colors,” Haselton and Castillo report. “Orders for the new Echo Dot start on Thursday, and it will ship next month to every country where Alexa is available.”

“Echo Auto. This in-car device will come with a dash mount, and is built on a new operating system from Amazon. It boots quickly so it is ready after the car is turned on. It connects to vehicles through Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE or an auxiliary jack. Data connections via a mobile phone can be used for Alexa integration,” Haselton and Castillo report. “Echo Auto will be able to understand location-based routines, like pulling up to a home can alert Alexa to turn on your lights. It can ask where the nearest Starbucks is, can read you an audible book, call a user’s home and call other Echos. And yes, it can provide navigation linked through Waze, Apple Maps and Google Maps. The device is $49, but will be $25 for special invitees, and will ship later this year.”

Here’s a first look at Amazon’s new microwave, Echo Auto and Alexa Hunches from CNBC.

“The Amazon Basic Microwave is integrated with Alexa. It works in conjunction with a nearby Echo,” Haselton and Castillo report. “[Yes, you can now microwave] a potato based on voice commands. The microwave will cost $59.99, and ship later this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, Tim Cook’s Apple is working on a charging pad (or maybe not anymore) and just starting selling Apple Watch Nike+ Series 4 based around an app, Nike Run Club, that’s so buggy years after release that it screws up more runs than per year than Siri can count!

Of course, Siri can’t count, or do much correctly at all, which is why Amazon has taken Apple’s huge lead in voice-driven personal assistants and obliterated it with ease. Siri is an example of another wasted opportunity by Apple and is in its current state of machine retardation because Apple, despite swimming in money or, more likely, because of it, is mismanaged in several areas and too many Apple VPs have grown fat, lazy and complacent.

As we wrote last November

Visionary CEO vs. caretaker CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

“Oh, but Tim Cook has made Apple the world’s richest company! The stock price is near record highs!” some might say. And that’s true enough.

Others might say, “Let’s be honest, Steve Ballmer could’ve generated the same kind of money running Apple Inc. given the massive momentum Steve Jobs handed over at his death. Sometimes, in fact, it looks like Steve Ballmer is running Apple. Although, no, it doesn’t really, because even Ballmer would have updated the Mac Pro by now, made sure he had enough Apple Watches ready so as not to pretty much totally kill launch momentum, had enough Apple Pencils and Smart Keyboards on hand for the iPad Pro launch, enough AirPods at launch, etc. Even Monkey Boy would have had an Amazon Echo knockoff on the market for Christmas 2016, at the latest, too. Not missing Christmas 2017. Deny it if you must, but you know it’s true.”

Listen, Tim Cook has some very admirable qualities. For just one example, his stance on privacy is important and unparalleled. We’re not sure we’d have such privacy with any other CEO this side of Edward Snowden. (Of course, Cook’s ability to make that a selling point is in question as the near total lack of privacy doesn’t seem to dissuade literally billions of people from surrendering it daily to FaceBook and Google.) His commitment to clean, renewable energy is another.

Still, after [scrubbing all mention of AirPower from their website], missing [last] Christmas with HomePod, thereby ensuring millions more Amazon Echo and Google Home units [found] their way under Christmas trees [last] year and all of the ancillary negative offshoots of that (Spotify rather than Apple Music subscriptions, for example), we’re left wondering:

How much would Apple Inc. be worth today had a Jeff Bezos-type CEO taken over the reins instead?

SEE ALSO:
Siri Shortcuts can’t even launch the Nike Run Club app, despite Apple selling Nike-branded Apple Watches for years – September 18, 2018
Whither Apple’s mythical AirPower charging pad? Apple crabs all mention of product from website – September 13, 2018
Seriously, where the heck is Apple’s AirPower charger? – June 6, 2018
Apple product delays have more than doubled under CEO Tim Cook – January 5, 2018
At Tim Cook’s Apple, Steve Jobs is long gone, and so is the ‘it just works’ ethos – December 19, 2017
Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013