It looks as if things are becoming quite crowded and heated in the “virtual assistant” space.
A recent TechCrunch report says that Apple is planning to remove Evi from the App Store because it violates Apple’s terms and conditions.
The violation? Evi is too similar to Siri…
First of all, let me just say that I never even thought about Evi as a Siri competitor until I read the TechCrunch article. In fact, Evi never even worked for me after I initially heard about it and decided to try it.
As far as I was concerned, Evi was forever relegated to the “app I once purchased but will never use again” category.
Now that Apple has made a big deal out of Evi, I decided to give it a second chance, and you know what? I like it.
It’s funny that Apple can buy a startup like Siri (remember Siri was an acquisition), bake it into their OS, and then go after anyone else who’s created a similar app.
I know, I know, it’s Apple’s store; they get to decide the rules. The thing is, there are other so-called “virtual assistants” on the App Store, yet they choose to go after Evi? Proof that Apple realizes that Evi shows up Siri in a few key areas, as you’ve no doubt denoted from the video above.
If anything, Apple making a big deal out of this is just going to make more people aware that Siri is inferior in many ways to Evi. And what about the fact that iPhone 4 users and everyone else on iOS who isn’t using an iPhone 4S can’t access Siri? The terms and conditions don’t really apply in that instance, do they?
It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out. The bottom line is that Siri is only available on the iPhone 4S (without jailbreaking), but if Apple removes Evi from the App Store, that impacts everyone, not just iPhone 4S users.
Since Apple has no plans to bring Siri to older devices, I think they’re treading a very fine line here. I hope that Evi can stay in the App Store, but from the sound of it, things don’t look too promising.
Do you use Evi? What do you think about these recent revelations? You can download Evi from the App Store while it’s still available.
Update: I realized that I implied that Siri couldn’t tell about actors in films. It can, just not with hot linking that Evi features. Siri features Wolfram Alpha static answers. I apologize if this was in any way misleading. Siri can also do currency conversion.
Update 2: According to The Verge’s sources, Evi will remain in the App Store as Apple works with True Knowledge to take care of some of the redundancies between Evi and Siri. Good news for the 200,000+ Evi purchasers out there.