Amazon unveils 15 new Alexa-enabled products, including a microwave oven

“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

24 Comments

  1. Kind of harsh MDN.

    Just because Amazon introduced a slew of products, doesn’t make any of them successful. This is a common strategic mistake of consumer electronics companies to introduce a long list of products and see which one sticks to the wall. Looks great in a press release or an article, but when push comes to shove, the consumer has no idea what to buy and why. More cheap crap for landfills.

    I will contradict myself, though, Siri really does need to be better.

    1. Yes, the truth can be harsh.

      I don’t understand the Nike Run Club app issue, either. You’d think Apple would want that app to be PERFECT and they’d do everything it would take (about 2 full days of work, tops) to make the app function properly.

      This is a case of where Apple most certainly should ask, “What would Steve do?”

      Steve Jobs most definitely would not allow Apple to ship Apple Watch Nike+ units with its namesake running app being unreliable and buggy. It was not in his constitution to allow such mediocrity or, if it arose, her’d have had it fixed immediately, not continued to ship it on 3 successive generations of Apple Watch Nike+ models. That’s lazy, inattentive, and just plain uncaring about the quality of the products you are selling.

      The only reason I can think of such a mess to exist is because, as MDN wrote above: “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.”

      Yes, the truth can be harsh. Harshness is sometimes required and deserved.

    2. The consumer seems to know what to buy: Alexa-enabled devices.

      Consumers don’t seek out Siri-enabled devices because Apple let Siri languish for years and doesn’t try anywhere enough new things with the technology. The only use Siri (try to use and usually it fails) because Siri is included in iPhones. People buy Amazon products for Alexa.

      You’re an Apple apologist. Apple needs needs leadership blood in several areas. They could and should be doing so much more and be much farther along that they are currently. Great success can hide a lot of issues.

      1. Super sad And dangerous imo..
        I have been bitching about Apple AI for years now !

        Starting from basic spell check, to contextual word recognition to contextual understanding, data analytics and query results , search.. name it…….
        Apple AI sucks.
        Fix it Apple… not doing so is not an option…
        its embarrassing! How could this have been so overlooked/neglected.. ( along the same line as apples pro/power users fiasco )
        Its dangerous…
        Its not just behind… its embarrassingly behind and mismanaged !
        Tim, Team hope you are listening… and hope its not too late. 🤞🤞🤞

    3. Amazon is changing culture…not just releasing a few things for the home. Retail_web/physical, delivery/transportation, personal assistants, web_consumer/military storage, security and maybe like Samsung, soon we’ll see dishwashers?

      Meanwhile, Apple continues to produce in the high-quality and premium price market but, unless there’s a lot behind the curtain that’s yet to be rolled out, just the force Amazon is making it a magnetic wunderkind that makes Apple appear stationary. In comparison, Amazon states their interest and soon thereafter, something real materializes. Apple has trouble serving their decades old market (pro) and has trouble with on-time release of most of their lineup…repeatedly.

      Caution; to the many on this board that can’t juggle criticism of their favorite brand while simultaneously holding it in high regard. It’s possible…just try. I love Apple.

  2. MDN is correct in saying that Siri could be everywhere that Alexa is. Or maybe not. Remember, doing so requires someone making money doing so. Amazon’s way of making money on Alexa is COLLECTING DATA ON YOU, most of the time without you knowing it, so they can sell you stuff. Perhaps, Apple hasn’t figured out how to be profitable on Siri devices.

    Now, two more things: I AM NOT PUTTING ANYTHING IN MY CAR WITH AN OPERATING SYSTEM BY GOOGLE OR AMAZON. I simply do not want to be tracked. It is something called privacy. Remember that?

    And number two, I’ve thought for 15 minutes for a possible reason why I would want to connect to my microwave to the internet. I just can’t think of one. I have an internet connected thermostat and is really only convenient that I don’t have to walk down the stairs to the living room to adjust the temperature. However, by the time you pick up the phone, start the app, get the connection, and adjust the temperature, it really doesn’t save any time. Plus the thermostat is smart enough by itself that I’m really only adjust the temperature about once a week or less. The connected thermostat simply isn’t worth the trouble.

    Last thing: I’d really hesitate to connect my garage or house door to the internet for fear of being hacked and having the doors opened to thieves.

    Slow and steady Mr Cook, on this “internet of things” thing, now mostly it isn’t worth it.

    Now, I don’t like Cook’s lack of Mac updating. If Apple wants to be the best computer company in the world they need to update ALL of their Macs every 6 months. Sometimes it could just be a spec/speed bump and a price adjustment but Apple needs to update the Mac regularly . Macs are so much easier to use and maintain than a PC.

    ====
    let me be clear about my thermostat- it transmits NOTHING to and gets no information from the web. It operates entirely by itself. It tracks inside and outside temperature (from a sensor) and it tracks heat pump performance and diagnostics. It can send diagnostic information to my local HVAC company on command. I can configured it so I can make temperature and other adjustments through the web from any location. I have this blocked. I connect to it from my phone through my local wifi network. Basically, the thermostat does a great job without help from the internet.

    1. Most people don’t care about privacy. They want convenience. Bezos understands this. Cook does not.

      People will hear that Alexa is in a microwave. They won’t necessarily want that microwave, but it reinforces the idea that Alexa is everywhere and you need Alexa, not an also-ran failure like Siri. It’s perception, not specific product. Bezos understands this. Cook does not.

      If Bezos were making a charging pad or had a line of profitable personal computers, you can bet your Apple apologist ass that Amazon would have a charging pad on sale and would keep their profitable personal computers up-to-date.

      If Amazon had an Amazon+Nike smartwatch, the default run-tracking app would work lest it undercut the product and damage the reputations of both companies in the process. Bezos understands this. Cook does not.

  3. Got to agree with the Nike Run app. Most of the time the watch does not start recording when I start a run with the phone app. Using the watch alone does not work because it won’t play my music.
    I have wiped the watch and reinstalled to no avail. Most of the time I have to deinstall the watch app and reinstall it to get it to sync properly.
    BTW MDN whats the deal with not being able to login onto WordPress? There a bug there too!!

  4. You couldn’t pay me to activate an Alexa in my home. Or any android phone,TV, or whatever. I want my gadgets to work for me, not trade information gleaned from my personal habits, travels, photos, and conversations in exchange for a few parlour tricks.

  5. Why would anyone buy an Alexa of any other voice activated microwave oven requiring a voice assistance device?

    I mean you’re standing in front of the microwave because you have to open it, place your food and close the door. Is talking is going to take less time then punching in the time? We’re doomed!

    1. I don’t want alexa in my house either but my microwave is a pain in the ass to set at 50% power to defrost it would be som much easier to say “defrost for 5 minutes at 50%” then punch it in. Why does it have to be connected to the internet for this functionality?

  6. MDN with an atrocious overstatement on siri if i have ever seen one. I think what apple is doing with siri is the both the smartest and safest path. Does Siri lack in some aspects… yes it does but it does not lack in what 95% of people use siri and all smart assistants for. It plays the music you want, it answers simple quires and in all honesty controls Homekit enabled smart devices much better than alexa. What Siri is not, is some willy nilly assistant which will connect with anything and everything secure or not. This is because apple has standards and will not allow companies to listen and capture data about its customers. Some people dont care and some do but everyone cares when they are the ones who are screwed with identity theft, or are targeted with things they dont want or need in their lives. IF you haven’t used raise to talk on siri in the new watch it surpasses alexa in that a trigger word is not required to use it. It makes a big difference in use-ability and now in using my series 4 with the raise to talk the response time is as fast as my phone. Lastly i will point out again MDN own article where siri, alexa, and google were pitted against one another in direct comparison and Siri beat Alexa and was a close second to google in the test. So please hop off your soap box for a minute and think before you eviscerate a company and ceo who have introduced new technologies and products at a faster pace than at any point of apples history!

    1. Whatever, Pipeline, you ball-less wonder.

      Apple employee: “Steve, we can’t get it to work.”
      Steve Jobs: “You’re fired.” “Judy, get me the next engineer in line and we’ll see if he has a brain or not.”

      Apple employee: “Tim, we can’t get it to work.”
      Pipeline Timmy: “Oh, that’s okay. Don’t stress. We’ll delay it indefinitely. Take it off the webpage, m’kay? Here, have a rainbow watch band.”

    2. My brother and I conducted an unscientific test of Siri vs Alexa asking the same questions. Alexa won hands down and have to admit I was stunned. MDN take is spot on and one of their very best. I give them all the credit in the world as an Apple website telling the unvarnished truth. Not easy in this world, just look at the lame stream media BS …

      1. Every time. Every time I dictate, I have to correct the idiot. Everytime…and I’m not talking about long dictations.

        It’s never good for my health, so I often revert to just typing myself. The idiot from her own company still can’t dictate my email correctly. Or, maybe she thinks she works for the truck company, or doesn’t check my address book?

        xxx.mack.com is her preferred protocol…still after years.

        1. Agreed. I simply gave up using Siri long ago. When the mistakes outnumber correct responses and very simple requests — it was an easy decision. Unbelievable people here are defending what is so obvious …

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