At Siri’s fifth birthday, Apple finally has decided to open the personal assistant technology to third-party app developers with a new SDK. Apple has already been working with a group of developers to demonstrate the things this makes possible. You can start a VOIP call with Vonage or Skype, for instance, or call an Uber or Lyft with your voice.
In a sense, Apple is allowing Siri to go viral today. All kinds of developers will start bringing voice control through their own apps on iOS devices. Siri will learn new tricks. When you talk to your Watch or phone, the breadth of things you can do will stretch far beyond Apple’s own apps.
Apple is engaged in an emerging AI war with Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. The winner of that war might be the company with the AI that knows the most things, does the most things, and understands the user’s words—and their intent—the best. The real question now is what Siri will be able to learn from the third-party apps she controls.