Apple might be the first to have its voice-activated personal assistant but it is commonly regarded to be falling behind the likes of Amazon Alexa and especially Google Assistant. Some say that part of it is due to Apple’s hard stance on privacy, limiting the data Siri can gather to improve the service. The other possible reason is Apple’s closed ecosystem that is pretty stingy when it comes to integrating with third-party apps and services. It seems that Apple might be turning over a new leaf but just for a bit when it comes to third-party messaging apps but with some big caveats.
Currently, when you ask Siri to send a message to a contact, its action is unambiguous. It will send it through the Apple Messages app and only through Messages. Like many with many of its products, Apple has a carefully curated set of actions and apps it talks, too. While there are tons of fans of iMessage, there are even more people using services like WhatsApp and Messenger.
According to Bloomberg, Apple will finally yield in at least one aspect. When responding to a command to send a message to a contact, Siri might send it via WhatsApp, for example. That, however, depends on the app that the person uses to frequently communicate with that person. Previously you’d have to specify the exact messaging service you want to use but soon it could be automatic.
It’s not a full about-face for Apple though. For one, the capability has to be enabled on the third-party app’s side, so it is going to be more work for developers. Of course, those developers will probably jump at the opportunity to integrate with a system app, given how rare that happens.
It is admittedly a small change that is hopefully just a prelude to more changes and more openness. Currently, Apple still doesn’t support changing default apps like Messages to a third-party version. Its reasoning has always been to ensure quality, security, and privacy and it is unlikely to back down on that soon.