Echo vs Siri

M.G. Siegler, on using an Echo for three months, vs. his long-time Siri experience:

Why do you need to pull out your phone, unlock it, and open an app to see what the weather is? Just ask. Why do you need to pull out your phone, unlock it, and open an app to set a timer? Just say that’s what you want to do.


First and foremost, as I noted in the original post, the Echo is always listening. There is nothing to pull out, no button to push. Yes, with the iPhone 6s line, Siri is also always listening. But the key difference is the hit rate. Saying “Alexa” always seems to work. Saying “Hey Siri” seems to work about half the time or less, in my experience.

Apple is said to be solving the former, with a soon-to-be-announced Echo competitor.

As to the latter, I agree, this does need some work. Part of the problem, at least for me, is Apple Watch lag. There is too much latency to make “Hey Siri” on the Apple Watch feel snappy.

But I do see light at the end of this tunnel. Siri coming to Mac will bring a faster, always-on (at least when I am on my Mac) version of “Hey Siri” that should be near instantaneous. And new Apple Watch hardware should address the latency issue, at least at some level.

If Siri ups its game (as expected), Amazon’s Echo could go the way of the Amazon phone. On the other hand, if Apple announces a 3rd party Siri SDK at WWDC (as expected), that might be a bridge that extends Echo’s life. Perhaps Siri and Alexa can become friends.