Alexa App accessibility update

Amazon has brought Alexa to the iPhone Home Screen with a new widget enabling iOS users to ‘Ask Alexa’ with a single tap.

An update to the Amazon Alexa app gives the assistant a more accessible home on Siri’s territory, without having to enter the Alexa app itself.

The new version, which arrived today, is the closest Alexa users will probably get to native implementation of the assistant on an iOS or iPad OS device. Previously, you’d need to delve into the app itself to talk to Alexa.

“On iOS 14 or higher, you can now add the new Ask Alexa widget to your home screen and tap to talk to Alexa,” the App Store release notes read.

Interestingly, there’s still no dedicated widget for Siri on the iPhone, aside from the Siri Suggestions functionality that suggests apps based on your location and common activity.

Siri is accessible by holding the power button and using the hands-free “Hey Siri” voice commands. Alexa, of course, still lacks and will continue to lack that functionality on Apple’s home soil.

The live widgets came to iPhone with the release of iOS 14 in 2020, enabling contemporaneous information on things like weather, calendar events, music playback and battery life to surface. They are accessible by holding down a finger on the home screen, selecting the plus icon in the top left corner and adding a widget from the list.

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Apple is planning to add a lot more widgets for stock apps within the iOS 15 release coming this autumn. Widgets for Find My, Game Center, App Store Today, Sleep, Mail and People (with Family Sharing integration).

They join the many third-party offerings for apps like Spotify, Gmail, Instagram, Reddit and Google Photos. It would be interesting to see Apple add a Siri widget in a future release.

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