Amazon brings Alexa to its main iOS app to help iPhone users shop and track orders

Siri who? iPhone users can now ask Alexa to track a package or play a Prime video.

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Credit: Amazon

Alexa is coming to Siri’s home turf.

On Thursday, Amazon began rolling out Alexa and her voice-assistant capabilities inside its flagship iOS app (iTunes link). This means that iPhone users can now ask Alexa questions, get shopping assistance, track orders, and play Prime videos and music.

After an initial rollout, Alexa will be available to all iOS users by next week, Amazon said. However, the company’s in-app Alexa won’t feature the Door Lock skill that Amazon introduced last month that gave users the ability to control smart locks. And iPhone users will still need the dedicated Alexa app (iTunes link) to change their settings. Amazon’s main app already feature voice search, but that involved only voice recognition technology, not intelligent assistance.

Previously, iPhone users could already tap into the power of Alexa with third-party apps like Lexi and Roger. But these Alexa-powered apps had some limitations, and they didn’t fully turn an iPhone into an Echo. Perhaps Amazon’s native Alexa integration into iOS will be more robust.

Why this matters: In addition to helping iPhone users with basic queries like getting today’s weather information, Alexa has a leg-up on Siri. Amazon’s intelligent voice-assistant already has accumulated over 10,000 built-in integrations, or “skills.” These integration range from controlling a bunch of smart-home devices to ordering food delivery from Grubhub.

Amazon is clearly betting on these third-party integrations to make Alexa as useful as possible. Recently, the company even started offering a $100 monthly credit in Amazon Web Services to encourage developers to create even more skills for Alexa.

Now, giving iPhone users the chance to interact with Alexa will only make her smarter and more helpful by being able to learn and execute skills that are not necessarily tied to an Echo device. 

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