In an attempt to stay one step ahead of the virtual assistant competition, like Apple and Google, Amazon recently released a new feature that allows users to ask multiple questions in succession without repeating the "Alexa" wake word.
Reports of a strange error from owners of Amazon's Echo device range have surfaced, claiming the Alexa digital assistant is making an odd 'laugh' sound at random times, with the noises sometimes made without any verbal prompts, commands, or external forces interacting with the voice-activated speakers.
Imagine turning your home into the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise, where a disembodied voice deftly answers every question you can ask, and you don't carry an iPhone or iPad anymore. Unfortunately, you also can't unlock your doors, you can't go outside, the brands you like are replaced with generic alternatives, and popular games, creative apps and other content aren't available anymore. This is the fantasy future of Amazon Alexa—but fortunately not the vision of Apple's new HomePod.
Apple's HomePod brings Siri into the home for the first time, but how does the virtual assistant stack up against established technologies like Amazon's Alexa and Google Home's Google Assistant? We put the latest versions of each smart speaker to the test in this video comparison.
Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant used by the Echo device range, is suffering from service outages that are affecting a number of users in the United States, issues that are likely to be caused by a regional outage of Amazon Web Services in Northern Virginia. (Update from Amazon)
HomePod is a sophisticated computer dedicated to the task of producing immersive, room-filling sound. That's not all it can do, however. Equipped with the same A8 processor as Apple TV 4, it can also serve as a HomeKit hub for choreographing home accessories, even enabling remote access to your devices. Here's an in-depth look.
App-enabled doorbell manufacturer Ring has been bought by Amazon, adding to its lineup of security-related home automation products — but work and certification of HomeKit for the Ring Pro and Floodlight are still ongoing.
While the Apple HomePod is the "best sounding" smartspeaker and has a "measurably better" user experience in many areas, its underlying AI assistant — Siri — failed dramatically in a query test versus Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana, according to Loup Ventures.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple all have voice assistants vying for attention, and all are moving the concept of computer-human voice interaction forward. AppleInsider offers an abbreviated history of how we got here and the capabilities of these assistants and their devices in anticipation of HomePod. What do these things do? What do people use them for? And what is Apple doing differently?
After a teaser suggested new voice options could be coming to Alexa, the release of Amazon's full Super Bowl spot reveals it was all just a joke, setting up a primetime ad where celebrities substitute in for Alexa — and poorly.
Consider Apple's release of a new music-oriented device priced higher than its perceived competitors—which have already established an enthusiastic audience base over the past few years. How can it possibly survive in such a difficult position? The answer was: by being better in key ways that matter to users. iPod went on to become a legendary franchise in personal audio. Now Apple is doing the same thing again in home audio with HomePod.
The HomePod — now due in 2018 — will mark Apple's first real attempt at making Siri an "ambient" voice assistant. Arguably, though, the company needs to push a lot harder if it wants people to choose Siri over alternatives from Amazon and Google.
Introduced this summer at WWDC17, Apple's HomePod was immediately positioned next to Amazon Echo and Google Home by bloggers as a "smart speaker" serving primarily as a way to chat with a voice assistant. But that's not how Apple introduced it.