Move over, Siri: your iPhone might soon welcome another AI assistant into the iOS fold.
Google could throw the smartphone world for a loop at this week’s I/O developers conference and unveil new Google Assistant functionality for the iPhone, according to Bloomberg. The report, which cites “a person familiar with the matter,” claims the Assistant-to-iOS news could be announced as early as the first day of the event.
Assistant will come to the iPhone in the form of a free iOS app, the source said, and will depend on voice commands to work with other Google apps installed on users’ phones. You’ll presumably be able to ask Assistant to queue up videos on YouTube or even read off emails from Inbox, to name a few potential uses.
Amazon’s Alexa is already available on the iPhone, although much of its functionality is restricted to Amazon’s shopping app. You can also use the standalone Alexa app to control Echo devices and messaging and calling, but not much else.
We were expecting the spread of Assistant to be a big part of I/O. Google has kept the AI restricted to a select few devices since its launch at the end of last year, most notably the Pixel phone and Google Home smart speaker, but an iPhone app wasn’t expected to be in the cards. The move could give Google another chance to familiarize its customers with the AI as the company grapples with Amazon and Apple to take the top spot in the smart assistant category, which extends beyond phones into smart speakers and home systems, too.
The report also claims Assistant will be integrated into GE home appliances to make household chores even smarter, à la LG’s Alexa-connected refrigerators.
Google didn’t immediately respond to our requests for comment about the report, but we won’t have to wait long to find out if it holds any real weight: Google I/O kicks off Wednesday in Mountain View.