14826-apple-logo-1366x768-computer-wallpaper (1)If you’ve been keeping up with tech news, you’ll have undoubtedly heard about the success of Amazon’s Echo, as well as the introduction of Google’s Home.  According to a report by The Information, Apple is preparing a stand-alone virtual assistant device, which will be powered by Siri.  In the report, it was stated that Apple will open up Siri to third-party apps.

The opening up of Siri to third-party apps is probably the most significant of the two last two points.  According to the article:

Opening up its Siri voice assistant to outside app developers is the more immediate step. Apple is preparing to release a software developer kit, or SDK, for app developers who want their apps to be accessible through Siri, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.

This was the original vision of Siri – a front end for third-party services, transactions and content.  But after Apple picked up Siri, this vision was pretty much abandoned.  But it looks like Apple is being forced to return to this vision.

In the article, it was cited that “a person with direct knowledge” of the proposition that “Apple has been working on the device since long before the $180 Echo launched in mid-2015.”  Either way, there are a number of reasons why Apple was compelled to create an Echo-like assistant.  A big reason is the emergence of the smart home.

Dag Kittlaus, the co-founder of Siri and the now CEO of Viv, felt that Siri was the successor to traditional search.  Dag wanted to eliminate the awkwardness of the mobile SERP.

Last week, Google’s discussion of the “Google assistant” was significant since it ushers in a new era of “conversational search.”:

The assistant is conversational — an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater.

The idea is that in the future, search will be more fragmented or “ambient.”  It isn’t so much about individual devices like smartphones and PCs, but more about continuous access to information and capabilities across devices.

It’s been reported that the Siri SDK will be announced next month at Apple’s developer conference, WWDC.

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