Good news – your smart speakers are just about to get smarter with the new updates Amazon launched on its Alexa based devices. It is without a doubt that the invention of the smart home speaker has completely revolutionized the standard of living. If you thought your Amazon Echo devices were helpful enough, the new features might have just made it even handier.
Amazon just added two new features namely the ‘Reminders’ and the ‘Timers’ to its Echo devices. Now users can make their smart speakers take reminder requests. The requests made to the Amazon Echo will allow users to be reminded of what they want to be reminded of, be it household tasks or important events. The reminder request to Alexa simply includes the date and the name of the event that the user needs to be reminded of. Users can also track their reminder requests directly from the Alexa app.
The timer feature will now allow Amazon Echo owners to set separate timers for, say, a complex task. The user will also be able to set names to the individual timer request that would make the experience a lot more useful. One example of using the timer feature includes setting separate, named timers for cooking. The named timers can tell you exactly what you were supposed to do in your process of cooking at a particular time.
The Reminders and Timers features are both available in the U.S now and are expected to launch globally in a few weeks.
CNET’s writer, Ry Crist, shared a tweet regarding the two minor updates that further elaborates what the two features can do:
Two new Echo upgrades today: users can tell Alexa to remind them of something at a specific time/date, and they can name their timers, too. pic.twitter.com/WAsjRSPfgu
— Ry Crist (@rycrist) June 1, 2017
That’s not all though! Amazon has also included yet another feature and this time, it’s for the Apple users. On Thursday, Amazon announced its Alexa based devices will be able to sync with Apple’s iCloud calendar. Apple users can now transfer their iCloud information directly into their smart speakers. This will allow them to ask Alexa directly about any upcoming events that were originally on their iCloud calendar.
Additionally, new appointment and events can be added using voice commands to the calendar. Alexa already supported G-Suite, Outlook, Google Calendar and Microsoft Office but the unlikely partnership between Amazon and Apple is big news. The iCloud Sync feature is now available in the U.S, U.K, and Germany, and will be made available to the rest of the world in a few days.
To sync your iCloud Calendar to your Echo device, simply follow these three steps:
- Download the Alexa app from the Apple Store on your iPhone/iOS device.
- Once installed, open the app and select the settings option from the menu bar.
- Enter your iCloud ID and password and sign into your Apple account.
It’s good to know that Amazon is still bringing new updates to its Echo speaker since the announcement of the new Amazon Echo Show (expected to start shipping on June 28th). Although the new updates are minor, on the whole they definitely make the experience of the Amazon Echo much better. What do you think of these new updates by Amazon? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!