Apple’s new watchOS 5 software might be promising a major Siri upgrade, but one developer is keen for Apple Watch owners to have more choice when it comes to personal assistants.
The Voice In A Can app, which is available from the App Store now, brings partial support for the Amazon Alexa assistant to the Apple Watch.
We’re not sure how long it’ll be available for, but right now the standalone app works over data or Wi-Fi and so doesn’t need to be connected to a companion iPhone.
Once linked to an Amazon account, users will be able to ask Alexa for answers, control smart home gadgets in the same they’d do so on an Echo speaker.
Alexa can be summoned by tapping a third-party complication on the Siri watch face. Unfortunately, the connection is broken when the screen times out.
Related: Siri Shortcuts explained
Developer Damian Mehers says the app can’t be used to play music, audiobooks or podcasts and struggles with some of the daily Flash Briefings, but most of the other functionality is there (via Engadget).
Whether this will open the door for an official Alexa app for Apple Watch remains to be seen. Likewise, we wouldn’t be surprised if either company put the kibosh on this app sooner rather than later.
watchOS 5 coming soon
Apple is making a serious effort to boost Siri’s functionality on both iOS and watchOS when updates roll out to consumers this autumn.
The new Siri Shortcuts feature will enable users to tie multiple actions under a single voice command. So, for example, users will be able to say “heading home” in order to set their HomeKit-enabled thermostat, turn on the fan, notify your roommate of the ETA, load the route in Apple Maps, and play their favourite radio show.
Siri will make smarter contemporary suggestions based upon your habits. So, for example, if you order a coffee from the same place every morning, you’ll get a notification enabling you to complete the task right within Siri. Likewise, if Siri knows you’re running late for your next meeting based upon your current location, it’ll suggest you text the organiser to let them know you’re en route.
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