Apple's unleashing its voice assistant and letting other companies put it to work.
Since its inception in 2011 as part of iOS 5, Apple's voice assistant Siri has established a home in the iPhone, iPad, iMac, HomePod, Apple TV and Apple Watch -- all first-party devices made by Apple. On Monday, as Apple introduced iOS 15 at its yearly WWDC event, the company announced that Siri is on the move, and headed soon to third-party HomeKit devices that aren't made by Apple.
"We believe Siri's most powerful when it's available throughout your house, which is why we're excited to bring Siri to third-party devices," said Yah Cason, release automation manager for Apple HomeKit. "For the first time, HomeKit accessory-makers can enable Siri in their products, so you'll be able to talk with Siri on even more devices."
That said, you'll still need a HomePod or HomePod Mini on your network to serve as a sort of routing agent for those voice commands. Even so, the newly opened access to Siri will make it easier to expand the assistant's voice-activated footprint throughout your home, and it'll also pull Apple's voice assistant closer to Amazon's Alexa and to Google Assistant, both of which are already featured in a fairly wide number of third-party devices.
Apple didn't have much to say about potential destinations for Siri at WWDC, but it's a safe bet that you'll start seeing third-party Siri speakers and other new voice-activated Siri devices by year's end. For instance, Ecobee, which already makes third-party Alexa devices, is teasing an upcoming Siri smart thermostat. We'll keep an eye out as more of these Siri gadgets start to arrive.