Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off Monday, June 13, in San Francisco with one of the company's signature product keynotes. (Join Recode for live WWDC coverage, beginning at 10 am PT, 1 pm ET.)
Many expect Apple to announce big new features for Siri, its AI-powered assistant. These include new tools that would finally allow other companies to make their apps and information accessible via Siri, according to a May report from Amir Efrati at The Information.
Opening up Siri — if true — would be a big step for Apple, which has tightly controlled Siri's capabilities since its debut almost five years ago. Select third-party information and features, such as Yelp restaurant reviews and OpenTable bookings, have long been available via specific partnerships. But the vast majority of iOS developers still have no direct access to Siri, which is now built into every iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch and the latest Apple TV streaming box.
But if Apple expects to be taken seriously, it's about time. Many see voice-controlled assistants playing key user-interface roles in the home, in cars and while walking around. And while Apple entered the field early with Siri, it now has formidable competition, namely from two other tech giants, Amazon and Google.
Amazon's Alexa assistant, built into its sleeper-hit Echo speaker and an increasing number of devices, is friendly to developers and already has a rich library of "skills," ranging from playing Spotify music and controlling a variety of smart-home devices to hailing Uber rides and reordering Amazon purchases. At our recent Code Conference, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos noted that more than 1,000 people are working on Alexa and Echo, suggesting it's a serious endeavor and not just a hobby.