Apple’s virtual personal assistant Siri was unquestionably a groundbreaking feature when it first debuted on the iPhone. It got off to a rocky start — of that, there is no question — and people still run into aggravating problems every day with Siri. But Siri has improved dramatically over the years, expanding its functionality and growing more accurate along the way.
Then, Amazon surprised us all when the Echo speaker came out of nowhere and introduced the world to Alexa. And now, Alexa has finally leapt off of Amazon hardware and onto Apple’s iPhone and iPad for the first time.
Some believe that Alexa was intended to become a core part of Amazon’s smartphone and tablet offerings, but the company’s plans were derailed in light of the fact that the Fire phone was a spectacular flop. Perhaps as a result, Amazon instead released a line of dedicated speakers including the Amazon Echo and more affordable Amazon Tap.
The Echo and Tap serve mainly as delivery mechanisms for Alexa, which is Amazon’s own take on Siri. Alexa is controlled by voice just like Siri, but its focus is on shopping and connected device controls, in addition to providing answers to questions a la Siri.
Alexa is no longer confined to the Echo and Tap now that Amazon has given developers access to various APIs, and the killer software feature is now finally available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad lineup. Amazon’s assistant arrives courtesy of a third-party app called Lexi, which is immediately available for download in the App Store.
Simply install the $5 Lexi app and log into your Amazon account, and you’ll instantly gain access to Alexa. Ask questions like “what’s the weather like?” or “what time is the Yankee game?” and Alexa will serve up answers in no time. Of course, you’ll also be able to enjoy Amazon integration, so you can order products or add items to a shopping list with simple voice commands like “add toilet paper to my shopping list” or “buy more toothpaste.”
The video embedded below gives a demonstration of the app in action, and you can check out Lexi in the App Store by following this link.