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.
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.
The pilot episode for AMC's Better Call Saul is now available for free on iTunes and Amazon Prime. The Breaking Bad prequel nabbed the highest-rated series debut in cable history, and it was also met with positive reviews from both critics and fans.
Better Call Saul was watched by 6.9 million viewers while earning an important 4.4 million in the adults 18-49 demo. The show premiered on Sunday after The Walking Dead, which also has an impressive midseason return with 15.6 million viewers.
Amazon has added several HBO titles to its Instant Video app for iOS devices. Amazon Prime members can now stream HBO hits such as the The Sopranos and The Wire, plus early seasons of True Blood and Boardwalk Empire to their iPod touch, iPhone or iPad. The update also adds all new video playback controls, and the option to watch the first episode of selected TV shows for free.
The free option is ad supported with video ads before and during each episode. The all new video controls bring a one touch pause/play option, a 10-second fast-forward/rewind option and a skip to the next episode button. Version 2.7 of Amazon Instant Video also makes playback start times faster, and includes bug fixes and stability improvements.