As you're browsing all of the awesome deals this Black Friday, chances are you've already been bombarded by insane discounts on Amazon's line of Echo products and smart speakers. You may have even dismissed them out of hand already, thinking that they either won't work well, or won't work at all, in your beautiful white walled room of Apple products. Well I'm here to tell you that's just silly!
Speaking as an iPhone die-hard user since the days of the 3GS, I can tell you first-hand that life in the Amazon Echo-system is awesome for an Apple user. Let me explain...
For starters, the Alexa app on iOS is an easy way to set up speaker groups, create Alexa smart routines, and manage your smart home devices from an iPhone or iPad. Most Echo speakers and Fire TV devices are also the perfect conduit to all of the Apple content you own or subscribe to!
Affordable Apple Music Speaker
The Alexa speaker for everyone
The Echo (3rd Gen) speaker has great sound and great looks at a great price. Put two together for amazing stereo sound for streaming your Apple Music playlists!
Stream Apple TV+ for Less
Who needs an Apple TV?
The Fire TV Stick 4K givesn you UHD, 4K pictures and access to all of your favorite streaming content services, including Apple TV+, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Plus, you can use it to monitor your smart home video feeds!
My family has had an Apple Music subscription since launch, and one of the great things about the Amazon Echo and Fire TV line of devices is that we can hear our favorite music from our preferred streaming service on our Amazon devices. Apple has an Alexa Skill that you can download from the Amazon Alexa app, which once connected lets you set Apple Music as your default music service on your Echo speakers and your Fire TV. Then whenever you ask Alexa to play music, it will stream from Apple. Lifehack!
I have also been able to connect many of my Amazon and Apple apps and services togther via IFTTT. For example, whenever I ask Alexa to "add bananas to my grocery list" an IFTTT applet runs that adds the produce to my iOS Reminders app (which, in all honesty, I'm more likely to check). I have a similar connection setup for general reminders, but anything that I ask Alexa to do also gets sent to my iPhone as a push notification from the Alexa app, so if it's something simple like "Alexa, remind me to preheat the oven at 4:30pm," then I will get a notification on my Echo, a push notification to my iPad and iPhone, and a ding on my wrist as well. Just as easy (if not more so) than yelling out "Hey Siri" and it has the same desired effect.
Many of the Echo smart speakers don't have the room-filling sound of a HomePod, but they are SO MUCH CHEAPER that you can get several of them and connect them wirelessly for a stereo pair or multi-room speaker group. Plus, the new Echo Studio sounds arguably as good (or better) than a HomePod for $100 less than what Apple sells it for.
If you have a Fire TV device like a Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, or a Fire TV Edition set, then you probably know that you can download the Apple TV+ app and stream all of the great new Apple shows, as well as your previous iTunes purchases and rentals (in addition to popular services like HBO, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video). Amazon also makes a Fire TV remote app for iOS that makes controlling your Fire TV device as easy as controlling the Apple TV... granted, you don't have Control Center access, but other than that the apps operate in pretty much the same way.
You can get all of these benefits from the smart screen devices like the Echo Show 5, plus the added benefit of being able to see responses to your queries, or what music is playing on Apple Music. Apple does not (yet) have a smart screened speaker like the Echo Show or Nest Hub, so for now that's another feather in Amazon's cap.
All-in-all, life is pretty great when your'e an iPhone user living in an Amazon world. If Siri and Alexa and coexist in my household, they're get along just fine in yours as well!
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Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.