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Apple to finally open up Siri to third-party apps

Apple is finally planning on opening up Siri to developers, according to reports, which also suggest Apple is working on a rival to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Information broke the story, citing an unnamed source familiar with the plans. The report says Apple will provide a Software Development Kit to third-party developers which will allow them to plug into Siri.

This will give Siri a massive leap in functionality as developers will be able to give Siri permission to access their app content and functionality through voice commands. Apple has previously shied away from this move due to privacy concerns. The source believes Apple also has plans for ensuring developers use the functionality responsibly.

Elsewhere, Apple is planning on creating a rival to Amazon Echo. Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker, which connects to the Alexa Voice Service (Alexa is the name is responds to in the same way Apple’s assistant does with Hey, Siri).

Apple has not made a big splash with home automation yet, despite the HomeKit framework. However, it’s rumored that iOS 10 might come with a dedicated Home app, so a move to release an Apple-made speaker with Siri support would make sense.

It’s a race that’s also heating up – Google has recently announced its own intelligent assistant in the form of Google Assistant, which will also come with a speaker called Google Home.

The reports suggest the Siri speaker could be a little way off, but the Siri SDK might land as soon as this June, with the announcement made at WWDC 2016.