HomeKit Apple and Amazon Echo Integration

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by praterkeith, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. praterkeith macrumors 6502

    praterkeith

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    #1
    I'm just curious what everyone thinks the chances are of Apple adding more integration with Amazon Echo devices in the future. I'm going to pick up my first Alexa device today after sitting on the fence for months as to whether to buy a HomePod or an Echo. I will mainly use it to set the temperature in the house, adjust our Hue lights, set the house alarm, and listen to music. What I'm really hoping is that Apple will allow Alexa to control my Apple TV in the future.
     
  2. The_Joker13 macrumors member

    The_Joker13

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    #2
    I’ve already decided alexa is my go to. Apple is so far behind, it’s embarrassing. I’m hoping for the same as you, apple with Alexa would be my ideal setup.
     
  3. mritech macrumors regular

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    #3
    I have Lutron caseta switches and 2 iHome smart plugs so everything is HomeKit, but my wife got a google home mini for a secret Santa gift so I tried in my daughters room and we still used the phones with “hey Siri”

    The google was so unresponsive and incorrect that when we asked her to turn off lights it was playing Mexican mariachi music...I’m dead serious
     
  4. martint235 macrumors 6502

    martint235

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    #4
    Apple Music doesn’t seem to be an option on Alexa in the UK yet
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #5
    I don't hold much hope for Apple adding a lot of features that work with Alexa. But I can turn on my ATV with Alexa now using the Logitech Harmony Smart Control. Just setup the Harmony "skill" on the Alexa and it works perfectly.

    I just say "Alexa turn on the Apple TV" and my LG TV turns on along with my Denon receiver set to the correct output and the Apple TV.

    https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Har...=Logitech+Harmony+Smart&qid=1548087735&sr=8-3
     
  6. RRIVERA APPL macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I use my Siri HomePod to turn on my Apple TV &TV.
     
  7. praterkeith thread starter macrumors 6502

    praterkeith

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    #7
    I would too, but I'm not getting a HomePod. I'd need two of them, which would be around $700. My two Echo Dot's were $50. Everything is working great so far except I can't control my Apple TV with Alexa. Considering selling my two Apple TV's and buying a couple of Firesticks.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 21, 2019 ---
    Can it be set up to do more than just turn the Apple TV on and off? Can I say, "Alexa, turn it to the History Channel", and it work?
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #8
    I don't use it for that and I can't think of how that might be done.
     
  9. ipedro macrumors 601

    ipedro

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    #9
    I'm curious about this. I have a HomePod and have been able to set up pretty complex integrations with the apps I use routinely, using Shortcuts. My HomePod controls my entire house ranging from lights, to temperature, to locks, to appliances connected to smart outlets. In addition, I ask my HomePod questions every day and Siri almost always has an appropriate response.

    What exactly can an Amazon Alexa do that a HomePod can't — natively or through Shortcuts — setting aside ordering Amazon groceries or working with competing music services? What am I missing?
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    Doesn't the Homepod require third party devices to have HomeKit to be able to work?

    Alexa does not, and for that reason I think works with a wider variety of third party hardware. For example, I don't believe the Homepod would be able to do anything with my Logitech Harmony remote or my Wemo light switch since they don't support HomeKit.
     
  11. The_Joker13 macrumors member

    The_Joker13

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    #11
    Not missing anything, but I prefer Spotify and I also like the convenience of ordering stuff I need via Alexa vs having to get on a computer/phone/tablet. Plus as pointed out above, much more freedom and flexibility with Alexa vs Siri. I think it’s admirable the stance Apple takes on privacy, but it’s a double edged sword and Siri is really pigeonholed atm.
     
  12. ipedro macrumors 601

    ipedro

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    #12
    Not anymore. If the device has an app, then all they have to do is enable Siri Shortcuts and it can be controlled by HomePod.

    That said, being in an Apple ecosystem, when I purchase a smart home device, I make sure it’s HomeKit enabled and so far, I don’t feel like I’m really missing out. All my Hue and Nanoleaf lights, Eve power sockets and sensors, August locks, and Honeywell thermostat work with HomeKit. Devices like my Click n’ Grow herb garden are plugged into an Eve smart plug so it’s integrated into HomeKit and I can control it with HomePod. I use AppleTV for all my TV needs. My TV powers on when my AppleTV wakes up.

    My question is really, what can Alexa do in terms of tasks that Siri can’t. How is it smarter? Will it answer questions I can’t ask Siri?
     
  13. The_Joker13 macrumors member

    The_Joker13

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    #13
    Perhaps I’m reading this wrong, but it sounds like you’re being obtuse. It’s no secret Siri is not as “intelligent” as her VA counterparts. Every time they’ve been put to the test head to head, Siri is always dead last behind Google and Amazon. It’s great Siri works for your needs, but for most, it’s not ideal.
     
  14. ipedro macrumors 601

    ipedro

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    #14
    I’m not being obtuse. I don’t question whether under tests Siri doesn’t come ahead but in practical use, what exactly is the advantage? I legitimately want to know what Alexa can do for me that HomePod doesn’t.

    I also got a Google Home free in a raffle like @mritech's wife and I decided to keep it. I'll be honest, I sometimes ask Google when it comes to complicated questions before I ask HomePod, just because it's something I would usually go to Google.com and manually search. But lately, I've been surprised when I then ask HomePod and Siri has the answer.

    One example: I didn't think Siri would know what time and channel the Golden Globes was on so I asked Google Home. I asked Siri next and was kind of astonished that Siri not only knew, but gave me a more complete answer, giving me details about the red carpet, the show itself, who was hosting, on which channel and at what time the awards show was on.

    I've been asking more and more complex questions to my HomePod and getting correct responses so my confidence in Siri is building. Siri, like the other assistants isn’t a static finished product. It continuously improves and I’ve noticed marked improvements over the last while.

    That said, the Google Home plays nicely with all my HomeKit devices and both my HomePod and Google Home know what each other did so I plan to keep using both together.

    I've gotten curious about Amazon Alexa since I do all my shopping through Amazon so I'm wondering if I can integrate a few Alexas scattered around my home. Just waiting to see what Apple does with HomePod this year. The only downside is I'll have 3 names to call out depending on where I am.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    I think you are right that eventually that will work as apps are updated, but for now not all apps have Siri Shortcut support. The two I mentioned, Wemo and Logitech Harmony, don't have Siri Shortcuts support (at least not that I can find). But for now, I think the Echo works on a much wider range of devices.
     
  16. ipedro macrumors 601

    ipedro

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    #16
    Yes, that's true. Alexa has had a multi year head start but the list of apps supporting Shortcuts is increasing day by day. A notable recent addition was TuneIn. That one shortcut alone has added a significant feature to HomePod. You can now ask Siri to play any radio station. It's pretty incredible because every few days, I wake up and suddenly my HomePod has important new features that it didn't have the night before. We don't have to wait for annual upgrades or point updates. All it takes is developers flipping a switch in Xcode.

    Now, back to my original question: what does Alexa do that HomePod can't? Is the advantage Alexa Skills? Because, if so, that won't be for much longer. The iOS App Store is by far the biggest and most well supported in the world. As all those major apps add Shortcuts, HomePod gains.
     
  17. The_Joker13 macrumors member

    The_Joker13

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    #17
    Can you walk me through the shortcut process? What exactly do you have to do to make that work? I’m genuinely curious.
     
  18. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #18
    How about what can the Homepod do that Alexa cannot?

    I'll just tell you how I see it for my needs right now. I have had Amazon Prime for years, so for $89 I got an Amazon Echo to play the included free Prime Music and that does the trick for my music needs. To get the same thing with Apple I would need a $349 Homepad and a $9.99 Apple Music subscription and as of today, the Homepod won't match the home automation I can run with my Echo. So for me, I see little reason to change.
     
  19. ipedro macrumors 601

    ipedro

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    #19
    That's a good question. The answer is HomePod will integrate with the apps you already interact with daily on your iPhone. Shortcuts is bringing the abilities of apps in the world's largest App Store to HomePod. Siri observes your routine as you use your iPhone, creating shortcuts that you can access from anywhere in the Apple ecosystem, no extra systems needed. Alexa is an external, separate system that you have to maintain in addition to the one Siri does for you on your iPhone.

    Second, HomePod will centralize the control of your home into one system — HomeKit — that you can command from your iPhone, your Watch, your Mac, your AppleTV or simply through voice as you walk around your home with HomePod.

    Lastly, and most importantly, no Amazon speaker comes close to sounding as good as HomePod. It's a pretty incredible little speaker. If you enjoy music, you owe it to yourself to listen to it on excellent speakers. It really is an entirely different immersive experience.

    ——

    So, I've gone and found answers to my original question since nobody here has answered it. The answer is different today than it would have been 6 months ago. Amazon Alexa has 30,000+ Skills. HomePod couldn't match that. It was an advantage for Team Alexa, something that Alexa could do that HomePod couldn't.

    But that's changed. Every day, new apps are updated with Siri Shortcuts support. There are 2 million apps on the App Store. iOS 12 with Shortcuts has only been about for 4 months and there are already hundreds of supported apps. As the first 1.5% of those apps update with Shortcuts support, Siri will have caught up to Alexa's 30,000 Skills. What makes this inevitable is that developers don't even have to intentionally make a Shortcut like devs need to program Alexa Skills. They just need to flick a switch in Xcode to enable Siri to automatically suggest Shortcuts for their app to their users.

    What automations won't HomePod match that your Echo can do? I'm not being facetious; I'm genuinely curious.
     
  20. The_Joker13 macrumors member

    The_Joker13

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    #20
    This is all well and good, but if Siri remains to only be on HomePod it won’t matter. They need to at least get in with sonos.
     
  21. Obi Wan Kenobi macrumors 6502

    Obi Wan Kenobi

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    #21
    Amazon Prime makes a huge difference to the HomePod / Echo debate. It provides so much for £70 per year, including more than enough music to meet my needs. Apple just don't offer sufficient value with their price model.
     
  22. HarleyQ66 macrumors newbie

    HarleyQ66

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    #22
    I have 3 Echo devices in my home: 2 spots & a dot. I am not a techy person & had no interest in being "connected" but the first 2 were gifts & they got me hooked. I LOVE THEM! In the spirit of full disclosure, unlike you,I am not an Apple fan, although other members of the family have iPhones & iPads. They had no problem bringing in Echo over other devices.
    All 3 devices are integrated but my son's spot also has private settings for his account as well. I am able to access my ring doorbell, use Skype or video chat with others who have Spot devices from the 2 spots. It shows me videos of movie clips & examples of "the Golden Girls" as well as expanded answers if that is the setting you choose.
    I don't need a hub for smart items like lights or plugs & Alexa learns as you use her so her She is very funny too & the Spot is very receptive with decent speakers. I am looking into the new Show5 which looks cool & very reasonably priced.
    Unlike Apple that requires updates & upgrades constantly, Echo is one & done.
    I hope this helps to satisfy some of your curiosity about the Alexa.
     
  23. rmhop81, May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 30, 2019

    rmhop81 macrumors 68020

    rmhop81

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    #23
    Apple is all about privacy and amazon is the complete opposite. So don't expect much integration with apple besides apple music.
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2019 ---
    I wouldn't say that's accurate. Alexa requires a damn skill for almost everything you do besides basic questions. Want to play white noise? download a skill! want it to make fart noises? download a skill! some skills even require you to create an account with them. I have all 3 and by far google is the easier and the best, then i'd rank alexa just based on questions and the amount of skills available, then Siri last. That's IF we are comparing the "smart" part of it, in regards to answering questions for me etc. but overall, Siri has been the most reliable and never has a problem hearing us at all. She controls thermostat, music around the house, all of our 60 lights, our garage door, apple tv's and will soon control our airplay 2 tv's. The novelty has worn off with alexa and google and Siri is the winner for us. But to each their own as they say though....
     

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22 January 20, 2019