Apple CEO Tim Cook explains how Siri improves his home life — and it’s a subtle shot at Amazon

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Apple CEO Tim Cook
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Getty

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained on Tuesday’s earnings call just how the Siri virtual assistant, combined with his haul of HomeKit smart home gear, improves his morning routine.

“When I say ‘good morning’ to Siri, my house lights come on and my coffee starts brewing,” Cook said. And when it’s time to leave the house, he said, “a simple tap on my iPhone turns the lights off, adjusts the thermostat down, and locks the doors.”

It sounds like a fairly innocent look into how Apple’s CEO uses the company’s own technology in his home. But it’s also a veiled slam on both Google and Amazon, both of whom have been making waves around their Google Assistant and Alexa systems.

As Cook noted on the call, “We are leading the industry by being the first to integrate home automation into a major platform with iOS 10.” Every iOS 10 iPhone and iPad comes loaded up with Apple Home, a Siri-compatible app for controlling your Apple-approved smart home gear from one place.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant is only now starting to get built into a select few phones, while Google Assistant only comes pre-loaded on Google’s own Pixel phones. Still, Amazon especially is winning a lot of acclaim for locking up the burgeoning smart home market as an easy-to-use starting point for automated living. And Apple is looking like a laggard.

So while the world goes nuts for voice assistant gadgetry like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, Cook is subtly urging investors, and the world at large, to consider that Apple already has a lot of the same functionality built into the same Siri that people are using today on their iPhones.

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Amazon Echo
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AP/Jeff Chiu

Combine that with the work that Apple is doing with technology like the Apple AirPods wireless earbuds, and the Apple Watch, both of which make it easier to access Siri, and Cook is signalling the direction in which Apple sees its own voice assistant and smart home strategies going.

Here are Cooks remarks on his home automation routine, as taken from the Seeking Alpha transcript:

I’m personally using HomeKit accessories and the Home app to integrate iOS into my home routine. Now when I say good morning to Siri, my house lights come on and my coffee starts brewing. When I go to the living room to relax in the evening, I use Siri to adjust the lighting and turn on the fireplace. And when I leave the house, a simple tap on my iPhone turns the lights off, adjusts the thermostat down, and locks the doors. When I return to my house in the evening, as I near my home, the house prepares itself for my arrival automatically by using a simple geofence. This level of home automation was unimaginable just a few years ago, and it’s here today with iOS and HomeKit.