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Apple Siri vs. Amazon Alexa: What Should You Use?

Updated on July 17, 2016
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

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Siri vs. Alexa

I know tech gurus always talk about Sir vs. Google Now or Cortana but the real match-up should be between the iPhone and the Amazon Echo.

They both have the ability to control smart devices and are both technically hands-free, but what makes people want to use them and are they equally compatible with one another.

Discover the truth about two voice assistants that are more similar than you thought, and what does the future hold for Siri and Alexa?

Who Is Siri?

Hey Siri

Siri was the first voice assistant introduced with the earlier iPhone, and she has found her way into pop culture.

There's no question that she is the most popular assistant we have today given the explosion of the smartphone and Apple market. I've seen her discussed on TV, in movies, and in real-life.

100+ Funny Things to Say to Siri

She has become the device we all know and love, so why do we neglect her so much.

When Siri came out, a lot of people thought of her as a novelty addition to the iPhone because she wasn't able to do much. At least she had a personality, which humanized her into something special.

However besides the anthropomorphic qualities we've given her, there was very little else the Apple giants had done to push her forward. For years Siri became a stagnant voice assistant that people had no reason to use.

It's been like that since her introduction, but hopefully we'll see a brand new Siri very soon.

Who Is Alexa?

Hello Alexa

Amazon's Alexa is the new kid on the block because she's less than two years old officially.

A lot of people don't know about her particularly outside the United States because she hasn't been able to go global yet.

Alexa is most famous for being the voice of her Echo family including the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. She also had her inclusion on the Amazon Tap speaker, other devices, and even on your computer.

She's very similar to Cortana if you took Microsoft's assistant and put her in a Bluetooth speaker.

What differentiates her from Siri is the lack of popularity and personality. She's still an up and comer and is nowhere as interesting.

Alexa is a doer, Siri is a doer when she feels like it.

The Best & Worst of Siri and Alexa

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The Good & Bad of Siri and Alexa

The two assistants almost do the same things but there are differences.

  • Siri uses Apple's HomeKit to control smart home products and Alexa can connect with numerous smart home devices when working inside the Echo.
  • Siri and Alexa are both capable of telling corny jokes and giving you standard information like the time, calendar, weather, sports scores and traffic.
  • Siri and Alexa can both be activated via voice only. For Siri, you have to have the newest versions of iOS and iPhone for unplugged, hands-free voice control.

And it stops there...There's more they can do together but let's talk about a few distinctions.

  • Siri can't hear more than a few feet away while Alexa can hear you several feet away.
  • Siri couldn't be used handsfree unless it was plugged in for iPhone 6 and lower while Alexa's Echo needs to be plugged in at all times to be turned on.
  • Siri won't always understand you and can mispronounce what you say while Alexa is much more accurate with understanding what you say
  • Siri has a limited range of smart home devices while Alexa has a massive range of them

There's a few more likes and differences but those are the basics. The other huge thing they both have in common is that they're on the bottom of the intelligence pool.

Siri and Alexa vs. Google Now

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The Battle of the Voice Assistants

Apple's Siri has learned the hard way that first is not always best while Alexa is still too young to know any better.

  • Siri and Alexa can't hold a candle to Google Now, which is able to give out information based on your personal profile and search history.

It's voice assistant is also much smarter and can provide more information than the other two assistants.

I could also put Cortana alongside the two although she's a mix of them and Google Now.

Google is getting ready ready to become more intelligent in the months ahead and will compete with Alexa directly with its own smart speaker device.

This could sink both voice assistants if they're not careful, but one of them is in much bigger trouble than the other.

Which voice assistant could be eliminated from relevancy within the next couple years?

Is Apple Siri in Danger?

The Problem With Apple

Apple's Siri is in trouble because Apple has refused to innovate for the past few years.

Alexa has the Amazon ecosystem in its pocket that includes a huge selection of smart devices and Google is only getting more and more intelligent.

Apple is quickly losing traction with the iPhone as Android phones are taking over the global market share. The company hasn't created anything new and unique, and if they do, they'll be third stringers because several companies have beat them.

  • Unless they make a ground-breaking product, then there's no way they'll catch up. Due to this fact, we've seen Siri suffer too.

There's been very little increase in her intelligence or capabilities over the years, and even a huge smart boost would keep her outside the ranks.

It's a shame because Siri is the voice assistant everyone knows and she was one of the most unique additions to the smartphone.

But as we've learned, first doesn't mean anything if you can't capitalize on it.

Is Amazon Alexa in Danger?

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The Amazon Alexa Problem

Does the future of Google threaten Amazon's Alexa?

Google threatens it somewhat but not to the extent that Apple is threatened. The most likely scenario is that Alexa plays second fiddle to Google regarding AI assistants.

  • However due to Amazon's vast grip on the smart home market, it's likely that they'll be in control of that for several years, which is significant given the expected boom of the internet of things.

Amazon has done extremely well in taking advantage of smart products because they knew Alexa wouldn't be able to match Google Now in terms of intelligence. Amazon is not an inherent tech company, and they've had very low points such as the Fire Phone.

In the tech world, you need to be in charge of something to stay relevant and Amazon has figured out how to do that.

Due to this, they are in far better shape than Apple.

Future of Siri and Alexa

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Future of Voice Control

What we know for certain is that both assistants will continue to become smarter and more powerful/useful.

However will we care?

I can tell you that we will care about Alexa because she's situated to work inside the home or perhaps the car eventually, and it's more comfortable using voice control within the privacy of your own home.

We don't use Siri in public and some may argue we barely use her at all. There's no need for it unless she becomes super-intelligent and accurate. It would make sense to translate that into what Amazon and Google have done, but again they'll be third in line.

  • If you're a tech giant, you never want to be the third best.

I think Apple and Siri have missed their "big" opportunity to become a staple of our personal lives. The only thing they have to work with is familiarity, but that doesn't mean anything if people don't use the thing they know best.

Do you think Amazon or Google care that their voice assistants don't have Siri's charm or personality?

Of course not! They only care if people actually use them, and people are using their assistants a lot more than Siri.

In the end productivity is what we seek and being a novelty device is no longer acceptable.

Your Turn

Who will win the voice assistant wars?

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