Take a look at Apple’s competition; Microsoft, Google, Amazon, among others. Apple defeats them all in revenue and profits, and does very little to infringe on their application platform territory. Not on Apple app resides on Amazon’s products, but Amazon has plenty which run on iPhone and iPad.
Microsoft might be the worst offender. How many Windows apps can you name? iTunes? Anything else? AirPort utility might still be around but even AirPort devices are on the way out. But the other way around you’ll find Microsoft apps everywhere; Mac, iPhone, iPad, even Watch.
Google works much the same way with a couple of dozen iOS applications, but how many apps does Apple put on Android via Google’s Play Store? Apple Music. The much maligned Migration Assistant. Anything else?
For a company with a so-called closed platform and walled garden ecosystem Apple sure gets invaded often by the technology barbarians lined up at the gate. Apple isn’t good at playing defense.
The latest to show up on Apple turf is Amazon’s Alexa, the intelligent assistant voice behind the Echo home devices which were all the rage in 2016 and Amazon’s biggest technology success since Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (the one that crashed the internet a few weeks ago). Critics and analysts love the fact that Amazon sold a few million of them last year (Amazon never releases real numbers because estimates are always higher than reality) to make Echo a success, while Apple sold even more higher priced Watches and that was considered to be something of a dud.
I know, right? Go figure.
What Alexa’s appearance in Amazon’s app for iPhone means is obvious. Siri has competition. Lots of competition. Microsoft’s Cortana works on iPhones. Google’s Assistant is so good the company hasn’t moved it beyond a handful of Android smartphones. Yet. That means the one billion or so Apple customer have to use Sir, Cortana, Alexa, or simply come to the obvious conclusion that all these so-called intelligent personal assistants are rather stupid, don’t speak too many languages, don’t understand many dialects, have trouble with accents, and each one has its own list of a few dozen parlor tricks to set it apart from competitors.
In other words, other than answering a few questions, turning a few lights or electrical devices off and on with voice commands, they don’t do much more than a good beagle could do.
There’s hope. And technology improves over time. Siri is on more languages than all the other intelligent personal assistants combined, and is the only one with a male voice to match the standard default female voice so kudos to Apple for some much needed diversification.
Still, it bothers me somewhat that Apple is the platform where competitors invade, but you don’t see much of Apple on other platforms. Why not? Remember, Apple is a hardware company. That’s where the revenue and profits come from, so putting Apple’s software elsewhere doesn’t make many additional hardware sales.