New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

Apple Inc is expected to announce plans next week to make its Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of apps, as the technology company looks to counter the runaway success of Amazon.com Inc's competing Alexa service. Showcasing a wide range of features that the Alexa Skills Kit now offers, the course is structured in the form of an end-to-end project. And all the signs point to that something being a Siri-powered smart speaker to take on the Amazon Echo and Google's fledgling Home. Today, the company is pushing out an update to Alexa that allows users to set reminders as well as named timers. There's no way to get around these catches, so we're gonna have to sit and wait.

Read our Echo tips and tricks guide to find out about the best hidden features and Alexa easter eggs.

With Britain about to go to the polls (again), Amazon has updated its Alexa assistant to keep voters posted on all the latest developments. Namely, improved timers and scheduled reminders. Assign each one a specific title and you'll be informed when they hit zero - so Alexa will tell you when the "rice timer" is up, with the "lamb curry timer" still ticking away in the background.

Tap on the name of the device at the top of the app and select the desired Alexa device.

With reminders, users can ask Alexa to alert them of a saved event or task. However, one thing that seems pretty obvious, if you ask me at least, is setting reminders.

"Alexa, remind me to check the oven in 5 minutes".

Amazon's lineup of Alexa-enabled smart speakers is just a few years old now, but it's already one of the hottest new device lines in the world.

Read next: What is IFTTT and how does it make the Amazon Echo speaker awesome?

"Alexa, what reminders do I have tomorrow?"

The Amazon Alexa Coding Bundle is available in our deals store for $19 and it normally retails for $316. While these features are exclusively available in the U.S.at the moment, Amazon promises to release them in the United Kingdom and in Germany in the coming weeks. In other words, you should be able to use these new commands and features from the middle of June 2017. According to the site's unnamed sources, Amazon will ship more than 10 million Echo speakers in 2017.

  • Fernando Stephens