Despite the improvements to Apple's HomeKit system and the growing list of compatible accessories with the Matter standard, many people still depend on Amazon's Alexa. The smart digital assistant has been the go-to system for managing smart home accessories for iPhone owners due to the affordable Echo smart speakers. Now, iPhone users can enjoy some new features in the Alexa app.
This latest round of updates brings several notable improvements to the Alexa experience. While using the Home app and the Apple ecosystem might be a better option for various reasons, the sheer number of Alexa-enabled smart home accessories in use means that isn't feasible for many people.
If you live in an Alexa-powered home and use your iPhone app for smart home control, you'll appreciate the latest update.
Amazon detailed all the new features in a blog post, outlining seven notable additions. The best feature added to the latest Alexa app is a new Map View that allows users to create a digital version of their home's floor plan and pin smart devices to their locations on that plan. Unfortunately, this feature is only available as a preview and limited to select users in the United States.
Other features include the ability to more easily talk or type to chat with Alexa, improved search controls, bringing Favorites to the Home page, and a new Shortcuts bar on the Home page that allows the organization of devices by category.
A step in the right direction
While I'm not an Alexa user, I would like to see Apple put more effort into improving the Home app, making it easier to access important functions. Simple improvements can make all the difference, especially considering Siri's lag behind Alexa in usefulness, responsiveness, and accuracy. The Alexa app is now setting an example for the Home app as well.