Amazon has brought Alexa to the iPhone Home Screen with a new widget enabling iOS users to ‘Ask Alexa’ with a single tap. The new version is the closest Alexa users will probably get to native implementation of the assistant on an iOS or iPad OS device. Previously, you’d need to delve into the app itself to talk to Alexa. Interestingly, there’s still no dedicated widget for Siri on the iPhone, aside from the Siri Suggestions functionality that suggests apps based on location and common activity. Siri is accessible by holding the power button and using the hands-free “Hey Siri” voice commands. Alexa, of course, still lacks and will continue to lack that functionality on Apple’s home soil.
- Spotify has introduced the “What’s New” feed, which will deliver an ongoing series of updates to mobile app users focused on new releases. According to the company, the What’s New feed will serve as another way for Spotify users to keep up with all the new music and podcasts that are released from the shows and artists that they follow on the service. In other words, it’s a personalized feed based on what users listen to, not a universal feed or one they more explicitly customize by making specific selections. The feed will be under the new “bell” icon at the top of the home tab alongside the recently played and settings icons on the top right. The feed will be also updated in real-time, Spotify says, and will display a blue dot when there are new songs and episodes that arrived since users last opened the app. While the feature may be useful because it gives a single place to look in the Spotify app for everything that’s new, the use of a “notifications” feature that leverages dots is also a psychological trick that can make apps more addictive. This seemingly minor addition to the Spotify app is actually a quite calculated one. Spotify, with the launch of a more attention-grabbing notifications feature, it wants to increase user engagement, even if it understands that it may be sacrificing some sense of user comfort and enjoyment in the process.