iPhone and iPad users can now access the Alexa voice assistant on their iOS devices free of charge. The official Amazon shopping app previously supported voice queries, but now the company is rolling out Alexa within the app. Besides offering help with shopping, the in-app version of Alexa delivers almost all of the capabilities of Amazon's speaker devices such as the Echo, Dot and Tap.
Big changes could be on the horizon for the Siri personal assistant. According to reports, Apple is planning to launch an SDK for Siri at WWDC next month. This would open the voice assistant to third-party developers. Apple is also said to be working on new hardware to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Starting today Amazon customers can now access the company's Prime Video service for $8.99/per month instead of shelling out $99 a year. Amazon repositioned its video streaming service as a monthly standalone to take on Netflix, who is now charging $9.99/per month. Amazon will also offer a monthly option for its Prime shipping service for $10.99.
The biggest difference between the two streaming giants is Amazon's lack of an Apple TV app. Apple TV users can only watch Amazon content on their TV sets by downloading the free Amazon Video app and streaming it via AirPlay from their iOS device. There have been rumors that Amazon is working on an Apple TV app, but it has never been launched. Other popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO NOW all offer their own Apple TV apps.
Amazon has updated its Amazon Video app with several new iOS 9 and iPhone 6s features. The app now supports Quick Actions, which allows users to quickly access their Amazon Video library, downloads, Watchlist and search from their iPhone 6s or 6s Plus Home screen. Users can firmly press down on the Amazon Video app icon on their display to access the quick menu option.
Amazon updated its Instant Video app for iOS devices with the ability to stream content over a cellular connection. Version 3.0 of the app also includes new mobile data usage settings, the ability to control download quality and the ability to watch videos in HD.
The Amazon Instant Video app requires a $99 Prime account to stream thousands of titles from Amazon's library of films, television shows and original programming. Users can use the app to watch any available Prime content and any videos that they purchased or rented from the Amazon Instant Video website.