Where Are the Siri Apps?

Siri may have been the first voice assistant to reach a wide audience thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, but she is now far behind her rivals like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant when it comes to third-party app integration. A recent article by USA Today’s Jefferson Graham references several data points on this topic. One being that “of the 50 most downloaded apps in Apple’s App Store, only a handful are fully functional with Siri.” While Uber, Lyft and Pinterest have integrated with Siri, other popular social apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are glaring omissions.

Siri Shut Out Developers

The problem is that Apple’s SiriKit is far too restrictive for many developers to get on board. Apple only allows Siri to be used in nine categories, leaving popular app categories like shopping, navigation and other music apps without the ability to have a voice. Unlike its rivals, Siri is mainly used for task execution, which shuts out many opportunities for developers to put her to good use. Mr. Graham also interviewed Voicebot’s Bret Kinsella to get his insight on Siri’s developer problem. Mr. Kinsella points out another problem is that unlike Amazon’s Alexa, Apple has positioned Siri as an additional feature for developers and not as the main objective:

You need to have an iOS app for mobile or watch to use SiriKit with. That means you are looking at a developer community that is focused on something other than a voice application and then adding voice as a new feature. There is no option for a voice-first or voice only app where voice interaction is the sole engagement. That is the community and creativity that Amazon has tapped into with its Alexa developer ecosystem. Voice is the end goal and not an add-on. These developers don’t have any reason to focus on Siri today.

Siri, Are You Listening?

Despite Siri’s large user base, this created a voice-first void for developers which Alexa and Google Assistant rapidly filled, leaving Siri further behind. Last May, Siri had an average of 41.4 million monthly active users according to Verto Analytics. While significant, that number is down 15% from the same period a year ago. At the same time, Alexa’s user base has grown 225%, from 0.8 million to 2.6 million.

Apple’s Siri still has a wide lead in terms of users and developers compared to Amazon’s Alexa. With the launch of Apple’s first voice-first smart speaker in December, more developers could begin working with Siri to tap Apple’s loyal user base. “This confluence of voice and AI is most important trend in the consumer space. It’s wide open and consumers really like it,” commented Mr. Kinsella.

To view a video on the topic from USA Today’s #TalkingTech, including an interview with Voicebot’s Bret Kinsella, click below:

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