“When Amazon first introduced the Echo—its cylindrical, AI-enhanced digital assistant/speaker—reaction was mixed. Who would actually want that?,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine. “A lot of people, it turns out. Amazon’s answer to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now is a hit; researchers believe Amazon will sell upwards of 4 million this year.”
“The popularity of Echo inspired Google to create its Google Home hub, CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged at Google I/O,” Bajarin writes. “I’m not convinced Apple needs anything else. In my home, the Apple TV sits in our living room but the Echo is in the kitchen, the hub of most of our activity… If Apple does jump in, which I doubt it will, it would only do so with a product that is superior to what is on the market now. But why bother? If you think about it, with Siri in an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, you already have access to a voice assistant any time you need one. The “hub” is on your wrist, in your pocket, or next to your TV.”
“I suspect that over time Apple will continue to make Siri’s AI-based voice assistant even more powerful and more indispensible to Apple customers,” Bajarin writes. “By opening it up to developers this week, meanwhile, Siri will be able to better compete with Alexa.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We understand Bajarin’s reasoning, but 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 – even Bajrin himself, who’s chosen to place Alexa in his kitchen, the hub of most of his family’s activity.
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.