Amazon brings Alexa to the iPhone

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An incoming update for the Amazon app for iOS will add the company’s Alexa voice assistant that was previously limited to the users of its Echo speaker and other Alexa-enabled hardware.

Alexa can stream books from the Kindle library or music from Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Music, or purchased music. Amazon Prime members can stream playlists, stations, and over two million songs for free and many more.

Inside of the Amazon App for iOS, there will be a microphone icon near the top of the screen that you can press to call up the digital assistant. You’ll be able to ask the assistant almost anything you’d normally be able to ask through a device like the Echo. That includes everything from having it make purchases for you, look up facts, or control smart home products.

VentureBeat notes that users of the digital asistant via the Amazon iOS app at first won’t have access to the Door Lock API that allows you to unlock compatible smart door lock products, but otherwise users will be getting a near full-fledged Alexa experience without needing to purchase an Echo speaker or other device.

The down side is that, even though Alexa is a full-featured and often more capable digital assistant, it can’t be used as a replacement for Siri, since Apple’s assistant is built into the operating system.

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