As the announcements from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference sink in, developers will seek to unpack the implications of the new technology in a range of settings. Asynchrony Labs, a mobility partner of Apple, says that Apple's HomePod announcement shows the growing importance of voice as a new technology battleground – not only for Apple in competition with Amazon and Google, but for app development more widely.
Bob Elfanbaum, co-head of WWT Asynchrony Labs, comments: "HomePod is not the only indication of voice control's growing primacy to come out of this year's Developer Conference. Improvements to Siri are coming in September as part of iOS 11. No company that is currently developing apps – for either consumer or business use – can afford to ignore this. We will soon see iOS apps that don't include native voice control and messaging as a minimum go the way of the dodo."
Ben Boswell, UK & Ireland Director of World Wide Technology (WWT), which acquired WWT Asynchrony Labs in June 2015, and which is opening an Asynchrony development lab in London, warns that companies are in danger of missing the turning point on voice-activated technology.
Ben says: "Products like Amazon's Alexa have been on the market for a while, and the significance of Apple's announcements this year are not that they introduce anything especially new. Instead, they signal that the ship will soon have sailed on voice-activation.
"App development is a cut-throat area of digital business, and one in which ease of use is a massive contributor to success. Improvements in voice assistants are continuing apace and this is a gift to those companies that can get on board. For companies developing voice for front-end consumer apps or other business tools, collaborating with an R&D partner is going to be increasingly important."