Five months after Android users gained the ability to control Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant through a dedicated app, the same functionality has been brought to iOS allowing you to turn your iPhone or iPad into a handy stand-in for the Echo.
This latest revision allows Alexa to run more like a smart assistant than ever before. Users are now able to tap the Alexa button and use their voice to control smart home appliances, play music, check the weather, and ask general queries. Certain skills, such as those that pertain to calendar entries and sports scores are accompanied by in-app screens that display information graphically.
Much like the Echo device (and Apple’s Siri), the Alexa app connects to offsite servers to carry out its processing.
However, due to Apple’s tight control over hardware access, Alexa is unable to monitor for wake words. This means that users are unable to use the app’s GUI to input a query or a command. Voice interactions still give the app a sense of familiarity for those that already own an Echo device and, more importantly than Amazon, Alexa on iOS gives iPhone and iPad users a portable and direct line of communication that’s paired with a virtual assistant.
You can download Alexa for iOS for free in the App store.